If there's ever an award given for most apropos game title, The TurboGrafx-16's Splatterhouse would surely take home the gold. It takes place in a house, and man do things go splat! Adapted from a 1988 Namco arcade game, Splatterhouse may well be the very first truly gory horror game to appear on a console.
Unfortunately, the biggest enemy in Splatterhouse is control. Rick's built like a brick shithouse, but he moves about as fast as one. He lumbers along too slowly to dodge enemy attacks, so when he's unarmed, he has to rely solely on his pathetically short-ranged punches and kicks for defense. It seems that his attacks only connect with enemies on the right frame of animation and on a small part of his fist or foot, often leaving him wide open to cheap hits from enemies. Splatterhouse also seems to have borrowed some of the more annoying control aspects from the Castlevania games: Rick jumps in the same floaty, hard-to-control manner that Simon Belmont does, and like Belmont, he gets knocked backward when hit. This often leads to some frustratingly cheap deaths, but mercifully, there's very few platforming moments to be dealt with in Splatterhouse. The weapons do a good job of evening the odds, but only if you can hang onto them. Rick drops whatever he's carrying every time he takes a hit, and if it scrolls off the screen, it's gone for good. The weapons can't be carried from level to level or even from section to section within the same level, leaving you to kickpunch your way through most of the game. You can't backtrack to pick up missed weapons either, even in the levels that don't automatically scroll.
In short, Splatterhouse is an unabashedly violent gore-fest that can be uneven and frustrating to play, but it still stands out as one of the best games in the TurboGrafx-16's library. If clobbering gooey hellspawn with building materials sounds like good times to you, give Splatterhouse a try.
Thanks for reading my review! Next week, I sing the blues with Mr. Bones for Sega Saturn.