Genre: Horror Beat ‘Em Up
Horror movies have a particular formula. A majority of films in the genre- especially in the late 80s and early 90s- will set up an improbable plot to place characters into a terrifying situation. When the character or characters who survive until the final scene reach the end, there is climactic confrontation. The survivors breathe a sigh of relief, and the viewer is left with some kind of indication that a sequel is inevitable. The killer-thought-dead’s eyes open, the phone rings in the house that’s supposed to be safe, the camera pans menacingly back into the forest; if the writers and director can allude that the terror is still lurking, they will.
Games in the horror genre aren’t much different, and the original Splatterhouse did the same thing. It wasn’t as effective in the console port due to some strange editing of the final scene. In the original ending in the arcades, however, once Rick has survived his nightmare and comes out of the other side, there is a solid promise that the evil he was involved with also survived.
It would be four years later that the Sega Genesis would see the sequel, Splatterhouse 2, come to life in the West. It came at a great time- the early 90s was a strong time for “in your face” gaming, even if it was a bit of a lull for classic horror. Aside from dropping most of the censorship between the Japanese and English versions of the game like the original, though, there isn’t a ton of information readily available on Splatterhouse 2’s development. Even if it’s not hard to see why it would have eventually spawned a sequel, I’ve heard plenty about the first and third games in retro circles, and the reboot gets a mention here and there. I’ll admit that my curiosity piqued so far as the lack of information on the second game. Continue reading
Genre: Horror Beat-em-up
Despite some dabbling into the series, the Splatterhouse games have flown low on my radar for a while. There’s nothing in particular that has kept me from them. I played them a bit as a kid, but the only one I’ve played through was the reboot that came out a few years ago. It’s always been interesting to me but for a few reasons, it kept getting brushed aside for other franchises.
The strange part is that Splatterhouse has a myriad of elements I enjoy. The protagonist is a buff hockey-mask wearing figure, the story has elements of Lovecraft and slasher films, and it falls right into my retro wheelhouse. The excessive violence, even having been toned down before being released on American consoles, would have been right at home alongside games like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat during the creation of the ESRB ratings and trials. The only thing keeping me from playing through the entire series was a lack of a Turbografx-16 growing up.
In an attempt to take a look back at the system and its library, I knew Splatterhouse would have to be one of my first stops due to how long the title’s been sitting in my backlog. Since the series has fallen into obscurity despite a relatively successful revival back in 2010, I thought it could be fun to check on the beginning of the series and how it evolved, not to mention how it holds up now. Continue reading
Genre: Side Scrolling Beat ’em Up
Dear readers, I will tell you something that I tell few people I meet offline: one of my other hobbies is LARP. I write this because, this weekend, I’m going to the current game I’ve been playing. At this game, I play a demonologist and monster hunter from a steampunk “definitely not victorian england” land. In search of inspiration, I’ve been playing a few games recently, many more popular than others (I’m looking at you, Dishonored). I decided to go a little off the beaten path, to check out a game that’s had mixed reviews from the internet, an odd title that brings demon hunting… to the stage. I present to you, Foul Play. Continue reading
Genre: Adventure Beat Em’ Up
It’s somewhat rare nowadays to find a game that tackles tough issues. Every so often, we see Mario fighting pollution or a stray Scribblenaut picking up trash, but back in the day, there were so many games that fought against drugs, littering, robots- you get the idea. Even fewer, however, dealt with the rampant issue of ‘poaching’. Okay, so it’s not exactly ‘rampant’, and Sonic the Hedgehog loved to saved animals from dire fates, right? Well, had he done it with an array of weapons and explosions complete with bloodless limb-flying, I think it may have been a bit more poignant. With that descriptor, I present to you Growl for the Sega Genesis.
Sega Technical Institute
Genre: Comicbook Beat’em Up
When I was younger, I’d occasionally grab a copy of Sega Power in order to really enhance the fact that I not only played video games, but wanted to buy a new one with the money from my paper route or ask for one for my birthday (or the holidays). When I spotted Comix Zone in the magazine, I thought it looked fantastic. Sadly, I never managed to find a copy in my local stores (which were phasing out Genesis & SNES games), so I didn’t get to play it until I found emulated versions later in life on my PSP. Continue reading