The Good: Lots of gore, great art style, decent story, some cool monster designs, nude photos!
The Bad: Unbalanced combat, unresponsive and sluggish controls, poor 2D sections, average graphics, poor hit detection, long load times, repetitive enemies and bosses
I was so excited for this game because I could see the potential it could bring. Lots of gore in a 3D setting with the awesome monster design from the classic arcade and Sega Genesis games. Man, was I wrong. This game is full of so many flaws and good ideas gone wrong that just a little play testing and polish could have made this game great. It tries to be a modern action/adventure with a bit of softcore porn and (a lot) of ultra violence thrown in. The story is somewhat interesting with H.P. Lovecraft inspired mythos and art style, but you won't care because most won't even finish the game.
Splatterhouse is all about combat so let's start there. The combat is just seriously flawed. I can't explain enough how unbalanced and frustrating the combat is. If the developers only tweaked it some it would be just right, but there's so many little nuances that drive you crazy. Firstly, you never feel powerful enough. You can acquire new moves, but you never increase in strength. These moves just add to your arsenal of weakness. Even the smallest enemy needs a lot of pummeling before they die. This gets really frustrating when the game throws a lot of enemies at you. You are just so overwhelmed and you rely on your Mask powers which uses the poorly balanced blood meter. This meter can be increased with upgrades, but it takes three slots to activate Mask mode. In Mask mode you can slaughter enemies easily, but it doesn't last long. A poor use of this meter is when you do temporary Mask attacks like Splatter or Smash. They each use a blood slot. Why?! That is so frustrating because you need to use it because the regular attacks aren't powerful enough. If you use these special attacks you will never be able to enter Mask mode when you really need it. Highly unbalanced and frustrating.
If that isn't enough let's talk about the weapons and 2D platforming sections. They tried to be cute and go back to Splatterhouse roots, but they just ruin your precious memories of that game. Whenever you just touch an obstacle you get hurt. The jumping is terrible with no momentum at play. The run button is flawed because you can't interrupt it so you have to remember how far you run because Rick just stops and it takes forever for the animation to end. This leads to cheap deaths which leads to horrendously long load times that can take up to a minute. You will die a lot in this game so expect to endure long load times after each death. If that isn't enough the weapons break just after a few hits, and instead of creating more interesting enemies the last four levels of the game are just ridiculously difficult because tons of sub-bosses are thrown at you to compensate for lazy enemy design. There are only about 6 different enemies in the whole game and they are not any fun to even kill. The Splatter Kills are fun during the first level, but there are only about 4 different animations! This game just wants you to hate it.So if that isn't enough to keep you away I don't know what will. A few of the bosses are pretty fun, but towards the end that kind of stops. There are some interesting combat puzzles, but are flawed due to poor hit detection. Even if you beat the game why would you want to come back for combat arenas? The combat system is just slow, unresponsive, full of uninterruptible animations, and just not fun at all. If you really want to play you can pick up the nude Jenny photos along the way, but it isn't even worth it for that. Splatterhouse has a lot of potential, but ultimately fails due to lazy game design and unbalanced everything. The story and art are nice with a lot of gore, but even the graphics are lacking due to using the outdated Unreal Engine 3. I honestly can't even recommend a rental. Stick with the three Sega Genesis games and forget this even exist. Maybe next time? We will have to see.
(Based on Xbox 360 version)