The worst parts are the 2D side-scrolling sections of every level. I'm not sure if they were added as a throwback to the series' roots, but the brawling controls are not specific enough for any precision movement. Why then, am I forced to jump over chasms and avoid spikes with a burly guy who doesn't jump like Mario or Sonic? Hell, Rick feels less agile than Shrek. It was way more difficult to get Rick to jump over a fiery chasm than it was to beat up all of the bosses in the game put together.
That detail would be bad enough, but then Splatterhouse features the most annoying loading screen ever created by humans. A random enemy from the game disgustingly growls, moans and writhes on the screen for 30 seconds every time you die. An interminably long loading screen kills any action game, and Splatterhouse is doubly terrible because of those miserable growling creatures. It's never fun to die in a game, but designers should try to make that experience as quick and painless as possible to get you back into the action. Splatterhouse fails on both counts.
The mask has some secrets, which he leaks out in between calling you a "fucking noob" and fourth wall-breaking comments like, "That's why we got an M Rating!" Despite myself, I was caught up in the story but it was mostly interest of the "I want to know what happens" variety and not "Man, these are such compelling characters." Audiologs peppered throughout the levels give a bit of insight into what Dr. West was up to, and I wanted to know how the world was going to end (and how I was going to save it) but the character of Rick and the mask told the same reluctant hero/corrupting artifact story that appears in countless games, movies and books. I wasn't impressed with the details.
Your girlfriend Jen is a shutterbug, and she leaves fragments of photographs behind for you to piece together in each level. Some of the assembled pictures are innocent enough, but more than a few show your girl exposing her chest. I was more than a little uncomfortable as to who the intended audience for Splatterhouse is. The only gamers who could get substantial entertainment from the boobs, blood and brawling are that special breed of teen-aged boys who can't get enough slasher films and Playboy. For anyone else, Splatterhouse won't offer much.
Bottom Line: The recycled brawling mechanics and frustrating platforming don't do anything to support the cliché story and no amount of blood, profanity or nudity can save Splatterhouse from mediocrity.
Recommendation: Buy Splatterhouse if buckets of blood and weak God of War brawling is your bag. Otherwise, you can pass on the gore.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Greg Tito would like to thank the corn syrup manufacturers of America for providing all of the fake blood used in this game.