At a Glance: In the year 1989 AD, there were no laws. No one could stop your neighbor from killing you with a chainsaw or burning your house down as you slept. No one would stop them from pulling out your charred remains from the smoldering ruins and hanging them in front of your grandparent's home, giving them an instant heart attack. There were no police to stop them from putting your grandparents in a car and driving it right into the side of your lover's home, crushing their dog like two iron fingers on a grape. And as their son came out of the house with a piece of siding through his face, crying out tears of blood, you had no phone numbers to call as they dunked his blood soaked head in sulphuric acid. This game was made in homage to a time where the law did not exist. It is your duty to see this game and remember how we used to live like barbarians, feeding off the flesh of one another like thick, putrid leeches.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
Game Plot: The horror industry is a million dollar business that can take mountains of plastic covered in nickelodeon slime and make it into mountains of girls covered in nickelodeon slime. There is always the obstacle of realism, however, that is rarely crossed in a movie. People know they are watching a film and react accordingly. They know when CGI is being used, they know where the puppets are, they actually know they should not be afraid deep down. Video games, however, are another matter. In video games, people can lose themselves and wind up with no friends after spending all their time leveling up their elven archer in a game full of fifteen year olds. Namco, a company known for its brutal depiction of reality in previous games like "Karnov" and "Burger Time", held up a mirror made of flesh and fingernails to the face of humanity. Those who did not instantly vomit at the sight of their hideous true self would be allowed a deeper look into a world of pure terror.
What does "Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti" show us that a movie cannot? Have you ever witnessed a child rip themselves apart as it turns into a werewolf, claws forcefully ejecting through the tips of it's fingers, blood spewing out of their mouth as sharp teeth pierce through their gumline? Have you ever seen a decapitated creature fling itself towards you, knives being held by spectral forces aiming right at your heart? You do not know how lucky you are to be alive until you've escaped the gaping maw of creatures you cannot reason with. Their eyes blood red with a rage only death can quell. And you are the one to deliver them this sweet death.
A demon from long ago, buried in a grave next to yours, is unleashed as the power of your girlfriend's love causes you to rise from your grave. Just as love often can be more brutal than war, she is plucked from you. You cry in agony, your stomach empties as you imagine her being ripped apart by demons and fed to dogs caked with the blood of previous fresh victims. You crawl out of your grave, fresh with an unholy life, ready to bring her back out of harm's way no matter what the cost.
Weapons: All you have to defeat these monsters is a simple hatchet. Bright white and much more useful than that crappy children's book, you use this simple weapon to cleave pixels like a, uh, maniac. You fling bile and plasma all over the place like a home made blood sprinkler. Actually, that's not nearly as descriptive enough. It is my sworn duty as a Gameronomist to fully inform you of the kinds of horror you will be witnessing in this game so here you go: Imagine the visceral texture of ripping the very organs out of a creature, pulling blood and sinew out of their stomach and watching it smoke violently as it connects with the cold air.
You can gain various weapons depending on how many crystal balls you can find hidden within the levels. It begs the question: why do so many games try to show us that traveling through time and watching sensual dances will get you shotguns? It's because it is true. These few and far between images of beauty are all that you get before you must plunge yourself deep into the festering heart of darkness once more, to pull it apart with your teeth and spit out chunks of black flesh onto the ground.
Enemies: Splatterhouse is so full of a beserk rage that the very paintings on the wall rip themselves off in hatred to try and taste your skin. Everything wants to feel you bleed in this title. Those with a softer heart may ask why Namco would allow the world to see such brutal carnage. Are the monsters in this game really so bad? They just happen to do things in a different way. Is that so bad? Do we really need to kill them, burn them, and make sure none of their ashes get away becuase if they do they'll come back as a guy with a really big wig and scary fingernails?
It is your responsibility to crush and disembowel every horrible aberration that have emerged from the dark center of the world. You must press your fingers into the eyes of your foes and feel their eye sockets burst under the pressure of your righteousness. Only when you wear the teeth of your foes as a necklace and consume their heart can you really judge what is right and wrong.
Levels: Each level begins with a cryptic warning, some as simple as "this will be your grave ha ha ha" to the more poetic "ghost comes here with a ray." Not only are your physical limits pushed within the game as use your grizzly mitts to open up skulls like a can opener, your mind is taxed as well by these mental gymnastics. Namco, even back in 1989, knew that an effecient monster slayer would need to have both a keen sense of anatomy but a questioning mind. You use these skills when you're searching from a beating heart in the chest chavity of a giant hamster monster while it kicks and screams in brutal agony.
Bosses: In the year 1989, to give a refresher to all our younger viewers, dinosaurs ruled the earth. Shoulder pads and power ties developed a symbiotic relationship (like venom from spider-man) with the people who ran businesses. Copyrights did not exist, for our time was mostly spent fighting the 3 year war to ride the world of the aliens who created the slap bracelet. During this time we had to appear like our lives were running normally, for making mention of the alien fight would likely cause the bracelets to reappear and suck the life out of our very bodies. That is how Namco got away with using every possible horror movie at the time in their game. Movie villains such as the nefarious Jeff Goldblum appear, shooting flies at you and talking about Bobby's World. You rip him in two and watch as his intestines flows from his mouth like a river. A lady's chest explodes with chunks of rib like in that one fetish movie but instead of screaming she just gets up and yawns when it is all over.
Each of these bosses require you to deal with just as much blood and puss as before, spitting phlegm and bits of organ across the entire room as you forcefully end their existance with your mighty hands. Your eyes show them exactly what kind of treatment they will expect and they know as your hatchet comes down on their heads that you will show them no mercy at all.
Defining Moment: The feeling that can only be truly achieved when touching your kidnapped lover again after you have been drenched with the fluids of a thousand creatures. Dripping with muscle tissue, soaked down to your skin in mucous from crushing the skull of a zombie with your bare hands, you embrace the love of your life. This is true love.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.