Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Splatterhouse", TurboGrafx-16, 1990.

All right, Hallowe'en is coming up in a serious way, so I'd better present my seat-of-my-pants blog with some rigour here. Spooky scary holiday on the way? Ads for spooky, scary games delivered! The arcade version of this game was apparently the first game to bear a parental warning on it. Is Tipper Gore scary enough for you?

SPLATTERHOUSE

Punch and kick the bloody guts before they suck the life out of you. That surgical get-up you're wearing is quite attractive.
He's got a chainsaw. You've got a 12-gauge shotgun. Who will cut who in half?
How tough is this maggot-eaten boss? You've got to give him a hand, he uses his head.

JUST KEEP TELLING YOURSELF:
IT'S ONLY A VIDEO GAME...
ONLY A VIDEO GAME...

It started as a college field trip to an old and somehow evil mansion. You just wanted to study the gruesome experiments of the world's most renowned, yet twisted parapsychologist.

Then, things started going wrong. Terribly wrong.

The last things you remember were a blood curdling scream and a dull thwack to the back of your skull.

You awaken to find someone or something has taken your girlfriend, and to save her you'll have to slaughter seven levels of the monstrous undead.

You're about to find out exactly why this horrible, ghoul-infested place is called Splatterhouse.

And why no one has ever dared to enter, and lived long enough to talk about it.

Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the TurboGrafx-16 system is $159.99

Before Mortal Kombat, before Night Trap, we had Splatterhouse. It's hard to know what to say. Over-the-top blood & guts & gore is ultimately comical, as any fan of Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" can report. You can't take the name seriously, and the ad copy appears to have been written by a very grim 9-year-old.

The scariest part might just be the small print at the bottom announcing the price of the console this game was hoped to be a "killer" app for, supplanting the previous year's G-rated Bonk's Adventure.

If a 2D fighting game is ever made featuring Namco's greatest champions (Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Mappy and the Katamari prince vs. the gangs from Tekken and SoulCalibur) brawling it out, a la Marvel vs. Capcom or Super Smash Bros., we can only hope that Rick and his Terror Mask log an appearance and grind their way through the competition. (C'mon, like you've never wondered what Pac-Man's skeleton would look like?)