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Splatterhouse 2

Now here is a case of a game not living up to my fond memories.  The original Splatterhouse received a lot of attention for its gore and violence even despite its release on the (relatively) obscure Turbo Grafx-16.  The gameplay could be described as adequate at best; about the only thing going for it were the setting and subject matter.  Splatterhouse 2 took all of that and turned it up to 11 but in the long run just doesn’t stand the test of time.

Splatterhouse 2 was released exclusively on the Genesis in 1992 by Namco.  3 months after the events of the original game the Terror Mask has reformed and notified Rick that Jennifer is alive and can be saved.  Returning to the ruins of the West Mansion the journey begins.  The Splatterhouse games were distinct for featuring a goalie mask wearing vigilante who resembled Jason from the Friday the 13th series.  Like those movies the blood and gore fly freely so if that’s your bag this is heaven.  Otherwise the lackluster gameplay will keep everyone else away.

The move set available is identical to the original Splatterhouse.  Rick has access to a bevy of punches, kicks, jump kicks and a slide kick that is hard to pull off.  The weapon selection has been expanded to include pipes, chainsaws, oars, and even severed heads.  Sadly all weapons are dropped prior to entering a boss fight; strictly mano y mano here.  Thankfully a password feature has been added as the game is decently long and a bit hard for some of the wrong reasons.  You’ll be visiting that game over screen pretty frequently.

The biggest beef I have is that overall its boring.  Rather than add any major additions or anything new at all Namco instead created a by the numbers sequel.  Despite new weapons you are still limited to the same small arsenal of punches and kicks which get old fast.  There are a wide range of creatures to fight, all with their own attack patterns that at the very least give you something new to look forward to.  Unfortunately your attacks are inadequate to deal with the odd angles and even speed they’ll swarm at you forcing you to take many cheap hits.  You can only take 4 hits before death and the game doesn’t even have the courtesy of refilling your life bar completely upon completing a stage.

By simply aping the structure of the first game all of its flaws have been exposed.  The presentation and setting of the original Splatterhouse played a large part in helping you ignore its simplicity; Splatterhouse 2 came a year later and could no longer rely on that novelty.  Which is a shame because the game certainly looks the business, and with its interesting creature design and setting could have been a fine action/horror romp but as is it’s simply uninteresting.

Nice graphics but that’s about it.  It doesn’t have the gameplay to match.

This was tedious in 1992 and remains so in 2011.  I imagine Namco were caught off guard by the success of the first game and rushed a sequel to capitalize on their success.  Too bad the game suffers as a result.  You could argue that the development team lacked the time but Splatterhouse 3 destroys the second game and was also released after only a year in the works.  Play that instead as it corrects all of series flaws and even pushes the Splatterhouse concept even further.

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