I’ve always loved horror movies. I still remember the first time (I was in 5th Grade) when I saw Halloween for the first time. I was so enamored with the mystique, the fear and the sense of terror you got afterwards I was a horror junkie instantly. Naturally that lead me to trying out a lot of the horror themed games for the NES as a young gamer. Some were good (Ghosts and Goblins), some were not so much (Friday the 13th) but all were entertaining and fun. Of course like many gamers in the U.S. I was not aware that the best horror themed game for the NES was in Japan.
Splatterhouse for the Famicom is a unique game in that it is a parody. The characters are cartoonish and overdone, yet somehow it’s one of the most dark video games I’ve ever played. The scene with the church is downright scary! This game finds a wonderful balance between cute/funny and challenging/scary and pretty early on you find yourself addicted.
Gameplay wise you have an action platformer. Your main character (Rick) weilds a small axe and can also find a shotgun with limited shots in some of the levels. My one of two complaints about the game is the axe. So many times I feel like it is too short, and that you end up getting hit as you hit an enemy. It’s minor but still annoying. The other issue is hit recovery. Most games you get a few seconds of post hit invincibility when an enemy damages you. Splatterhouse does not have that. At least once per game session I end up getting ripped up by one single enemy because they bounce me up in the air and stay under me. You can quickly lose health in this game and will be frantically begging for candy or a burger to get some recovery.
Visually this game is in my top 10 and it makes me upset that it often is not included in the “best game” conversations I’ve had with other retro gamers. It’s just such a great game to look at and interact with. You feel fairly in control of your character and the game offers a fair challenge. I won’t give it away but there are also multiple endings to the game (our video shows the happy ending)
All in all if you don’t own Splatterhouse for the Famicom, seriously go get it. There are plenty of repros and Famicom games out there and none of them are that insanely priced. For a $40 repro this game is 100% worth getting and a wonderful addition to any gamers library.