Meaty. Literally and figuratively, that's the word to sum up Splatterhouse. As supernaturally mutated hero Rick, you're a hulking great slab of a man, so mighty of punch that you can barely brush past an enemy without making the poor wretch explode into an offal fountain.
As 3D brawlers go, Splatterhouse is as far from the dainty precision of Bayonetta as it gets. Where 'Netta would prance, pirouette and high-kick her way through the fray, Rick's approach to the demonic hordes between him and kidnapped girlfriend Jen is far more "Hulk SMASH!" But that's not to say this is a mindless button-masher.
Rick's move-set is upgradeable to a gratifying array of tactical dismemberment options. He can rush enemies down. He can floor them and punch their heads to soup.
He can swing them like flails. He can launch them with an uppercut, then smash them back down to earth. He can even use limbs as clubs and heads as projectiles.
Rick, quite frankly, does not dick around, and as his skills and your proficiency grow, Splatterhouse's combat becomes a enjoyable mix of ballet and bull-run.
But alas, for all the grimly satisfying body detonation at play, Splatterhouse is no delicately seasoned nouvelle cuisine. It's a slightly burned chunk of rough-cut beef, dropped on a plate without ceremony.
Sluggish camera control makes Rick's early combat encounters a frustratingly un-fun slog. But while things get better as killing techniques and more open arenas become abundant, clarity remains Splatterhouse's biggest problem.
While the platforming sections show cinematic promise, duff camera angles and unclear signposting often lead to a barrage of deaths before you even work out where to go.
Similarly, when Rick gains the ability to automatically home in on platforms, ledges and mooks via huge, targeted jumps, it's under-explained and feels a little vague. Combined with the above issues, it will have you singeing your TV with profanity on a few occasions.
Splatterhouse's 2D sections, while a nice nod to the series' retro roots, are also a reminder that the original games were crap. Restricted to a single plane, Rick's expansive move-set becomes almost redundant, and whoever decided that placing foreground scenery in front of critical do-or-die sections deserves a good dose of disembowelling himself.
Splatterhouse's heart is still in the right place, however, and with its sparky script, schlocky tone and excessive, vibrant gore, it's like the X-rated Saturday morning cartoon you dreamed of as a kid.
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Technically messy but definitely likeable. It's fun, satisfying, and silly schlock-horror