Thursday, 27 March 2014

Splatterhouse 2

Splatterhouse 2: Electric Boogaloo, with more blood.

In keeping with the blood gore and violence of the previous review, I thought it might be nice to take a little trip back to West Mansion with the further exploits of Rick, the Terror Mask and the ongoing mission to save Jennifer from the infernal reaches of the darkest pits of flesh-covered hell, that is Splatterhouse 2 on the Megadrive (....genesis).

What's different from the last outing you ask? Why should I pay it any heed I hear you cry out from your definitely not blood-stained gaming these days? Because... well it's more of the same to be perfectly honest. Though if you tone down the graphics of the arcade version and slap in a few more levels and a few more dynamic situations within the levels themselves, you've the essence of what is a fairly typical sequel going from Arcade to Megadrive/Home machines.

Not as graphically appealing, in more ways than one.

You control (P)Rick (Heh, classic) once again as he dons the infamous Terror Mask and pretends even less to be Jason Voorhees while he walks menacing through the game punching out anything that's even remotely misshapen of the fleshy variety as he meanders from point A to point B and leaves a spritely trail of blood, guts, gore, pus, ichor and bodies in his wake. This game really does push the limit (at the time) of what is meant by a violent video game nasty and in doing so has gone all out to have (at one point, certainly) the blood running down the screen. In fact, I even took a screenie of it.

See, told you I took a screenie.

This is after you walk along a stream floating with dead Screaming-Mimi's, punch your way through infected fish waters, drown a few hapless enemies and then wander into a shed (why?) in the middle of nowhere for what I presume is simply because Rick never worked out how to move in the foreground and background before the third game! Once inside you get accosted by various gardening implements before using one of those weapons (Get the chainsaw, ALWAYS) to attack abortions hanging from ropes and hooks, then a giant flesh jaw head thing (I... can't think of much else to say on it) before it naturally, explodes into a shower of pulped flesh.

This is just ONE level, most of the others are far worse.

No... really? Never would have guessed that.

Bosses that explode intestinally, churn up into little blood piles, eye-screaming explosions, wither and die away, head melt, ignite, have their eyes skewered with large impalements and a whole host more violent things you can do with Prick's amazing abilities to walk through the undead and unholy armies and solving everything with a few left-handers.

Good job that almost everything is either made of exploding flesh or has a glass jaw as Rick himself is one slow bastard these days. His lumber gait is made all the more obvious with the drop in animation and graphics but having said that, he's still huge and more than an imposing figure on the battlefield. What is lost in detail is made up for in size. Though that also adds to the challenge as you'll find yourself unable to avoid various attacks and enemies because you're such a big target (lay off the food, fatty)

One of two left levels, this one is the harder and it's on level 2.

Story wise, you learn a little more on the start of each level and the game basically has you trying to save the girl by punching the fuck out of everything. Hands, monsters, more monsters, bosses, more monsters, but not that giant blue behemoth... don't touch him. Then having a slight twist of having to kill a monster that escaped from "hell" for want of a better word which hurls disembodied heads at you before becoming a batwing creature and trying to speed slam you while you're... you guessed it... punching it.

Rick has the low kick and the slide attack as well, but to be honest, it's all about punching. Some monsters will approach too low for the usual and if you manage to hit anything with the slide then you can credit yourself with doing double damage but if the enemy survives it, you'll be standing up straight into them for an instant damage. Not so bad perhaps but you've usually got just 4 hits and most bosses can tank damage or have multiple forms. 

The action rarely ever lets up in this game. Even quiet spots require something to be punched.

Despite the drop in graphics from the arcade to the console, the music for the system is a lot more varied than the previous game and the tone and pace of it much more suited to the game than the arcade's attempt. Boss battles are usually more intense and frantic while levels are slightly slower (depending upon the level), lift music is a lot more interesting when you're being assaulted by monsters and escape music really adds to the urgency of having to flee from a large squid monster or a collapsing house. It helps, it adds and it fits (mostly) to the game.

The big question for the players is, can you cope with the change from the original game to this in quality of graphics and a slightly more wooden game play set of mechanics? If you can then it's likely you'll enjoy this too otherwise the downgrade might be too drastic, in which this sequel begins to smell like it was rushed out the door or the ambition might have been to release this in the arcades, couldn't' find an appropriate backer so ported it to the Megadrive only to be forced to reel most of the content back JUST to fit onto the cart.

BOO! Yeah I got nothing really to add here.

Overall, it's the weakest game of the initial trilogy and I totally didn't rush this review at all on the last minute of Wednesday to meet my own arbitrary deadlines. There's just so little different from the arcade to this game.