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Retro Review: Splatterhouse 2

On 10/28/2023 at 10:58 AM by The Last Ninja

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Pure nightmare fuel 

It’s that time of year again, so it’s time to look at another horrific retro game. This year we’re going to look at Splatterhouse 2 for the Genesis. The first game was released in arcades in 1988 and was ported to certain systems (such as the Turbografx-16), but not to any main consoles. The sequel, however, was made from the ground up for the Genesis exclusively. Developed by Now Production, the game was published by Namco and released in 1992. It’s a side-scrolling action game where you move left to right and punch gruesome baddies. 

The story of the first game has Rick and Jennifer fleeing into a mansion, and then something happens to Jennifer, so Rick must rescue her. The terror mask attaches itself to Rick’s face, giving him incredible power (he’s basically Jason). What’s surprising about the first game is that you DON’T rescue Jennifer. Instead you fight her after she transforms into a monster and you kill her! So the game actually doesn’t have a happy ending. For the sequel, the developers wanted to rectify that, so Rick is informed by the floating demon mask that he has a chance to save Jennifer, but he has to return to the Splatterhouse. 

pic 1

This game is truly horrifying. Rick fights all kinds of gruesome enemies—blood-soaked zombies, screaming ghouls, poisonous fish, and willo the wisp-like spirits. The atmosphere and visuals are extremely creepy. Perhaps the most horrifying things are the bosses. One boss is a a group of bloody babies that are hanging from ropes. After attacking them enough they explode into a green ooze. Another boss is a giant blue face. After you literally punch him in the face a few times, his eyeballs burst from their sockets. The presentation here is outstanding. After defeating the baby boss, blood splatters onto the screen and slowly runs down the screen. Another neat moment is when you find Jennifer. She floats up from a portal, but then a bunch of hands grab her from beneath and pull her back down as she screams. Wow. In the same year as Mortal Kombat and Night Trap, I’m surprised this game wasn’t taken to court too. 

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s not great. This game is a bit dated. Combat can be quite clunky, especially since Rick moves slowly. He can punch, jump, and do a jump kick. Level design is very simple, only now and then having you jump over certain obstacles like spikes. Some enemies can be annoying, especially the screaming enemies who jump around. One level has you jumping over poisonous puddles, and sometimes fish will jump at you while you’re in the middle of a jump. Sometimes you can kick the fish, but sometimes your timing can be off by just a hair and you get hurt. Rick only has four hits before he goes face-first into the dirt. And while the bosses are cool, they can be either too simple in their patterns or too erratic (making them either very easy or very difficult). 

pic 2

There are a few times in the game where Rick can use a weapon, but these moments are quite rare, and Rick always drops the weapon when he goes to the next area (c’mon, Rick!). Also, the last level is extremely long. Rick will rescue Jennifer, but then he has to get her off the island, so you tread the same ground you did before, only this time Jennifer is with you. You even get on the boat and must fight the Kracken as Jennifer sits calmly behind you. It feels like they were just padding out the game. 

The music can be cool. It really helps the game to be more creepy at times. Honestly, the real standout of the game is the presentation—all that blood and gore is quite surprising in a game of this era. There’s no rating on the game (it’s slightly before the ESRB), but if there were, it would definitely be rated MA-13. Its sequel, Splatterhouse 3, was. 

pic 3

Final Verdict—3 Stars: It’s Okay

While the gameplay isn’t great, this game wows with its presentation. Some of the bosses really surprised me. So if blood and gore is your thing (you freak), then you should check out Splatterhouse 2 (and all the Splatterhouse games for that matter). And I also hope you have a happy Halloween! Keep it creepy. 




10/28/2023 at 11:04 AM

I always liked the graphical style of these games. It's dark but colorful, lots of contrast. That's why I still have the 2010 Splatterhouse game for the Xbox 360 as it comes with the first three Genesis games as a bonus. 

I agree the gameplay is a litle clunky and not fun. Gameplay of the 2010 game was fun to me though, just didn't have the same look. 

Thanks for your review. I loved it. 

The Last Ninja

10/29/2023 at 12:32 AM

Thanks! The graphics are definitely cool, I enjoyed seeing what the game would show me next. The Splatterhouse reboot didn't do well, but I think there's something charming about the old games. The reboot probably didn't do well because it looked too much like all the other horror games. What do you think? 


11/03/2023 at 11:46 AM

The new game didn't have a distinctive look, but I enjoyed the fighting in it, thought it had good controls at least. Someone should do a Splatterhouse game all retro style like the first three. Go like Street Fighter 4, modernized but with that classic look and gameplay. 

Cary Woodham

10/29/2023 at 09:19 AM

I never liked the Splatterhouse games.  Not because they were too gory, but because the gameplay was too clunky.  The one on the Famicom was the best one.

I think it's funny that in the 3D Splatterhouse game on 360, the Terror Mask was voiced by Jim Cummings.  I can hear a tinge of Darkwing Duck in that voice!

The Last Ninja

10/30/2023 at 11:28 AM

Yeah, I didn't like the clunky gameplay either. 

Having Jim Cummings voice the mask was awesome! He's a legendary voice actor. He also voiced Sumo Santa in Clayfighters 63 1/3. 


11/03/2023 at 11:48 AM

Wah?! Sumo Santa? Great! I'm an instant fan of him now. Sumo Santa says, "My elves hit harder than you." and "Flabalanche!"

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