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> The Splatterhouse that Dripped Blood!
coinilius
 Posted: May 29 2017, 07:28 AM
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So I've finally gotten back into playing retro-games again, after not really touching video games in general for awhile (I've got Breath of the Wild sitting unplayed on my coffee table, gathering dust), and what better series to do it with than Splatterhouse!

My own history with the Splatterhouse series is, well, almost non-existent. My introduction to it as a kid was the two page ad that appeared in comics for the TurboGrafx version:

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And what an intro! Although short, it's a pretty moody little piece for what is just an ad in a comic, with some very nice art and some very goofy dialogue! But despite always having an interest in the series, I never actually got around to playing any of them, even the Mega Drive sequels. I figure now is as good a time as any to change that!

The order I'm approaching the games in is:

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
Splatterhouse (Arcade)
Splatterhouse (LCD Hand Held)
Splatterhouse 2
Splatterhouse 3

I'm playing Wanpaku Graffiti first because I like to approach these play through's based on the timeline of the stories, and although Wanpaku Graffiti is pretty non-canonical as these things go, it's still vaguely presented as some kind of prequel, so I figured why not (I've also already played the LCD game as I bought it a few months ago when I bought up a few other LCD hand held games).

Unfortunately, I still don't have a PS3 or anything to be able to plat the 2010 version, but I'd like to get around to it eventually (there's so many other retro games that have been updated on PS3/4 and Xbox).

Would love to hear what other people think of the Splatterhouse series - I'll post some thoughts as I go through the games as well. Also, if there are any other similar games or related games that people think would be worth checking out as well, I'd love to hear some suggestions!
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Dire 51
 Posted: May 29 2017, 09:59 PM
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I might be wrong, but I think everyone here knows what I think of the series.

Looking forward to discussing your thoughts on the series. Also, after playing Wanpaku, you should check out Monster Party, an NES game with a similar feel and setting.

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coinilius
 Posted: May 30 2017, 04:35 AM
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Thanks Dire 51 - I've read through the West Mansion site and the threads on the Third Moon forum, mainly trying to piece together how the Splatterhouse story works - especially given the changes in characters and intent from the Japanese originals.

Monster Party is a great suggestion too - I've long had it on my 'I should really play this some day' list of games, as I've read quite a bit about it as well and the various changes to it from prototype to Japanese to English. It looks to have a very similar horror-parody theme to the one used in Wanpaku Graffiti.
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Strider Chen
 Posted: May 30 2017, 05:54 AM
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A lot of people here are Splat fans. There's an old topic that went on for many many pages. It was pretty funny that I was a fan of both Scion's LSCM and Dire's West Mansion fansites, before I made the Citadel and found out that they both were friends and sorta shared the Third Moon together. laugh.gif

QUOTE
Unfortunately, I still don't have a PS3 or anything to be able to plat the 2010 version, but I'd like to get around to it eventually (there's so many other retro games that have been updated on PS3/4 and Xbox).

You should pick one up on Black Friday if you're able to. PS3's [combined] library is probably one of the strongest out of any console, and it has a lot of rad media player options on top of that (like syncing your PC's music to your Wi-Fi and streaming it to your PS3, a lot of really handy stuff like that). Splatterhouse 2010 had too much love put into it to pass it up.

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coinilius
 Posted: May 30 2017, 06:18 AM
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QUOTE (Strider Chen @ May 30 2017, 07:52 PM)
A lot of people here are Splat fans. There's an old topic that went on for many many pages. It was pretty funny that I was a fan of both Scion's LSCM and Dire's West Mansion fansites, before I made the Citadel and found out that they both were friends and sorta shared the Third Moon together.  laugh.gif


That's quite funny! There's a lot of retro game franchises that I have been playing/plan on playing and the PS3 at least is a must for completing some of them - I didn't start a thread here, but I was also playing through Bionic Commando recently as well, from the Arcade to Elite Forces, but couldn't go into the modern games because of that reason (well, I could have played ReArmed and the 2009 game on steam, but ReArmed 2 isn't available).

Splatterhouse 2010 looks like an interesting up date to the series - like you said, there does seem to be a lot of love put into it.
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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 1 2017, 05:34 AM
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And so I start my Splatterhouse play through with the most off-beat entry in the entire series, Wanpaku Graffit - and what a fun little entry it is too! Although the game itself is pretty simple, there's so much humour packed into it that it really leaves an impression. It's not that long, or that difficult, but it also doesn't out-stay it's welcome, and the secret levels help add a bit more variety to the game as well. I think I would have liked to have seen some more weapon variety though - having only your axe and the occasional shotgun pick-up just doesn't feel like enough, IMO.

All in all, I think Namco made the right decision when they decided to go down the super-deformed/parody route when they brought Splatterhouse to the Famicom - if they'd tried to make a more faithful port of the arcade game, it would have ended up being too compromised by Nintendo's censors. This way, they sort of replicate the 'over the top' factor of the original, except replacing the viscera and gore with movie references and disco dancing vampires!

As for the story/ending... while as a parody game it probably doesn't carry much weight as far as the series story line goes, the reveal at the end that it was all a movie is pretty fun. The secret, full ending is also nice, linking it all up with the original arcade game...

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Strider Sombra
 Posted: Jun 2 2017, 02:25 AM
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Nice to see you are enjoying a new retro series! While I myself didn't had much of an exposure to Splatterhouse, I must admit Dire's passion for the series really stuck on me, so I ended up looking up his site and videos for all entries, plus tried the NES and first Arcade game through emulation (although I'm not a fan of using the keyboard...). So I'm sort of a fan by proxy if that makes some sense (??) tongue.gif

Anyway, looking forward for your views on the rest of the series. smile.gif

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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 3 2017, 05:27 AM
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Thanks Strider Sombra! I am similar to you in that I have been a fan of the series from afar, having periodically checked in on it over the years, always being interested but never actually playing any of them until now. I've read through Dire 51's West Mansion homepage and the articles on there, as well as the forum at Third Moon and just found all the mysteries and little details to be fascinating. The differences between the Japanese and English releases, for instance, help shed a lot of light on the series, although even then also helps obfuscate others.

It would be easy to say that the only thing the series has going for it is the shocking gore and twisted scenarios (especially for the time that it came out), but that would be doing it a disservice - the original arcade game is pretty simple, but it plays well and delivers some good action amongst all the blood and guts. And it's very satisfying wailing on a zombie with a piece of 2x4!

Highlights of the arcade game include:

* Biggyman! I had watched plenty of videos and knew about the shotgun juggling trick, but I haven't mastered it yet so I had to just unload one shotgun into him and then try to punch him into submission... I think I managed to beat him more on luck than anything else! He's a great, frightening figure to come up against, and I find it amazing that they never revived him for any of the sequels (discounting the 2010 version).

* The final level, when you have to escape the burning West Mansion, as flaming monsters leap around you in their death throes... something about that sequence really felt eerie to me.

* Not a highlight but it took me a long time to master the Slide Kick for some reason... I just kept messing up the timing.

* The dark ending! Although you get to undo it in the sequel, the first Splatterhouse ends on a pretty grim note, what with you being unable to save Jennifer. I'm probably putting too much thought into an 80's/90's video game series (but none of us would be here if we didn't do that from time to time tongue.gif) but I wonder how Rick explained all this to Jennifer's parents, and the police - a burnt down mansion and a missing girl, it wouldn't have looked good for him, and if he started talking about monsters and Terror Masks, they would have locked him away somewhere for sure...
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Dire 51
 Posted: Jun 5 2017, 06:32 PM
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QUOTE (coinilius @ Jun 3 2017, 04:25 AM)
I wonder how Rick explained all this to Jennifer's parents, and the police - a burnt down mansion and a missing girl, it wouldn't have looked good for him, and if he started talking about monsters and Terror Masks, they would have locked him away somewhere for sure...

Maybe they would have locked him up in the Belmont Home for the Emotionallly Troubled. wink.gif

I have been keeping up with this thread when I can, but I've been so busy recently I haven't really had any time to respond. Keep posting, though, and I'll keep reading, when I can.

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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 6 2017, 03:21 AM
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Thanks for posting that link - I've been reading through the fan fiction on your site and had been thinking about that one as well. There's pretty much no way things could have gone well for Rick after the end of the first Splatterhouse, he would have had to have been a suspect in the disappearance of Jennifer, after all.

And also thanks for reading along - don't worry, I'll continue to post my thoughts and impressions on the series as I play. I've been playing through Splatterhouse 2 and will have some thoughts on that soon, but first I've got my experience with what would have to be the most obscure entry in the series, the LCD hand held game!

I've had this one for a couple months now and been playing it off and on - I bought it a) in preparation for playing through the Splatterhouse series and also cool.gif because I was on an LCD hand held kick after buying a lot of King Kong related LCD games.

Like all such games, it's a pretty simple affair that can be fun for about 5 minutes before you get tired of it and move on, but it does have a pretty good amount of things happening in it and it takes a little while to master the controls... they can be especially frustrating in this game because, even though they are simple and easy enough to grasp, there's something about the timing of some of the enemies that throws me off, even after practice - like they 'hang' a little too long, making it hard to properly time your jumps and axe swings. So far I have been able to clear the first three rounds, but haven't been able to complete all five rounds.

It's not exactly the way I would have imagined a Splatterhouse LCD game to be presented - it's more like Splatterhouse by way of Donkey Kong, what with the way in which you have to progress through three floors by dodging enemies while trying to snag the ladders which fly by over head. I guess I would have imagined something more like the Double Dragon LCD games for Splatterhouse, but in all honesty this is probably the better option - it's not as if the Double Dragon LCD games were all that great anyway.

On a side note, my fan fiction head canon for this game is that it represents some of the nightmares that Rick was having during the three months between the first Splatterhouse and the second - making his way through a surreal version of the West Mansion, where ladders fly through the air and the second floor is someone outside while also being inside. Then, when he rescues Jennifer and seems to be about to have the happy ending the original game denied him, she's snatched away and the whole nightmare starts all over again, only faster and more intense laugh.gif



This post has been edited by coinilius: Jun 6 2017, 04:35 AM
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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 9 2017, 01:47 AM
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So I've been playing Splatterhouse 2 and I was wondering, what is the general consensus about the game? It seems to me that Splatterhouse 3 is often being singled out as being really good, and of course Splatterhouse itself is where it all began, but then part 2 kind of comes across as being a bit of a forgotten middle child. I might be way off base with that assumption, though.

In any case, I think Splatterhouse 2 is awesome! It does a good job of delivering the same sort of gore-filled action as the first game, but it also extends the story line out more in a way that is much more cinematic - there's more set-piece based action sequences, like the elevator stages and the lake monster chase sequences. There's more exploration of the plot, with Rick making comments between stages about what is happening.

The overall Splatterhouse story is certainly expanded out by this game, although some of the revelations and plot-decisions just make things more difficult to reconcile than less... how exactly does the second house factor in to the history of Dr West? Did he abandon the original house at some point to continue his work in the hidden house? And why does it start with Rick lying face down in the ruins of the original West Mansion? That's a detail which I don't understand, beyond it calling back to how the original game started with the Mask attaching itself to a prone Rick...
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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 10 2017, 10:52 PM
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Playing Splatterhouse 3 - what an excellent game! The exploration angle is a very welcome one, especially since the designers have taken the time to really reward branching out and exploring all the little nooks and crannies of the game, as well as rewarding you for mastering the fastest ways through the game as well!

I'm a bit torn on the change to a more standard beat 'em up, with the extra field of depth and everything... the change was handled expertly in this one, and maybe after 2 games the original style had been exhausted, but I feel like there could have been some more mileage from the simple left to right punch em up of the first two games.

I've downloaded the fan game Living Hell and am going to give it a try as well.
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Strider Sombra
 Posted: Jun 12 2017, 02:53 AM
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Nice to hear you're enjoying yourself. I've never really got enough into either of the original sequels sadly, but I've checked out the full games and I too like how they expanded the story presentation in the 2nd as well as the extended text in the manual. While there are certainly some odd things out (like the identity of the tomb/final boss in SP1 and the appearance of zombie West in SP2), it was still a really nice effort for its time. SP3 looks just as good, but the change of gameplay seems a bit arbitrary. I guess they wanted to mix things up a bit?

I've always specially loved how the Evil One gets to appear in 2 in a run away sequence and is later revealed as the big bad in the third. It's details like that I find the most enjoyable.

Oh, and about the hidden Mansion, I'm not sure if there's an official explanation but I find the localization's attempt to explain it by making up a 2nd doctor amusing. tongue.gif

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coinilius
 Posted: Jun 12 2017, 04:50 AM
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Speaking of the manual book for Splatterhouse 2, I actually really like it - the excerpts from Dr Mueller's diaries make for a nice, Lovecraft-esque backstory, even if it doesn't exactly jibe with what was presented in the first game. Dr Mueller also seems like a more sympathetic character than Dr West...

Splatterhouse 2 and 3 actually seem to work really well together, with the various revelations in 2 having payoff in 3. Even the end of 3 with the mask possessing the remains of the Evil One is a nice callback to the end of the first game, where the mask seems to possess/empower/revive/whatever Hell Chaos.

Also, on the subject of the change in style between 1/2 and 3 - I haven't really given much thought to beat 'em ups in recent years, but playing the Splatterhouse series has reminded me that I actually used to play beat 'em ups all the time in the arcades... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the X-Men, Golden Axe (another series that I would like to revisit), but they just kind of dropped off my radar at some point.

This post has been edited by coinilius: Jun 12 2017, 04:58 AM
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Strider Sombra
 Posted: Jun 14 2017, 02:47 AM
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That's exactly what I was talking about. The whole journal thing and making up a whole new character to explain away that second mansion was amusing in a good way, it gives a simple but effective second layer to the story, a somber feel which gets reinforced when you meet (what one can easily assume) is Dr. Mueller's corpse reanimated later in-game. A localization which strenghtens the game's experience is always a welcome change, even if it is by all means and purposes "not true to JP canon" or "filler".

I really believe the 2=>3 one-two punch was fully intentional. I've come to realize with the years I really like this sort of trilogy build-up. You get a first, self-absorbed first entry to see if it is good enough to warrant follow-ups, then you get a sequel that expands the first game's world and leaves little hints here and there of a bigger picture, which is then fully revealed in a grand 3rd game finale. I find myself overall very satisfied with this structure. I honestly wish Strider ever got that sort of treatment, but alas.

I'm hard pressed to find other trilogies with similar structures, though. The Crash Bandicoot trilogy comes to mind, one of my childhood greats. http://I.imgur.com/qqrosJb.gif

I never really caught on beat-em ups myself. I was a huge fan of TMNT3 for the NES and the Turtles in Time sequel, got into Final Fight and some small ones like Captain Commando but that's it...never really felt much interest.

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