More Blood = More Power: First Look at Splatterhouse

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More than two decades ago, Splatterhouse showed up in the arcade. The Namco game­– which later came to consoles–earned the distinction of being one of the first games to scare the living crap out players with its ultra-violent take on horror and combat.

Namco’s readying an all-new 3D remake of the side-scroller for current-generation consoles and I got a chance to take it in during a recent demo session. The story’s basically staying the same: Rick Taylor and girlfriend Jennifer head to the ominous West Mansion to interview eccentric scientist Dr. West. Once they get into the house of horrors, Jennifer gets abducted by monsters who leave Rick near-death. The battle topples over some artifacts, including the Terror Mask. The mask harbors a demon who offers to help Rick save his girlfriend.

Rick gets re-made as a super-strong brawler, capable of taking out the demons inhabiting West’s mansion, and gets to kicking ass. He’s not invulnerable, though. The character model takes anatomical damage and, if enough chunks of flesh get torn away, you’ll be able to see clear through to his ribs and spine. But, spill enough blood and the Terror Mask will absorb it and use to heal Rick. Blood’s also the currency of the game, which you’ll be using to upgrade skills. The demon possessing the mask and Rick will have a sarcastically symbiotic relationship, with the demon remarking how much Rick’s enjoying the bloodshed. And the game’s Berserker Mode will allow more of the mask’s demonic power to come through. The demon takes over Rick’s body, making him temporarily invulnerable and growing bony knife-like protrusions that Rick can use to gut and slice enemies. But all the new-fangled presentation doesn’t mean the developers have forgotten Splatterhouse‘s 2D origins. Portions of Rick’s journey through the house will be side-scrolling sequences. Some of them will be platforming-based and others will be gory beat-em-up challenges.

The Splatterhouse re-make plays on a standard brawler template with a mix of quick and heavy attacks that can be chained together in combos. Rick will be able to rip arms off of enemies and use them for melee attacks and will be able to lob dismembered heads at bad guys, too. Speaking of bad guys, the Boogeyman character–remember the guy with two chainsaw for arms–will return, too.

Horror fans will also see the influences of H.P. Lovecraft and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 in Splatterhouse. What you’ll learn in the course of playing the games is that Dr. West has an unholy alliance with netherworld creatures from a dimension called the Abyss. His experiments in conjunction with the Abyss demons have created the corrupted demons, zombies and human monstrosities Rick faces up against. With action like this, a heavy-metal soundtrack with songs from bands like Mastodon and The Accused is the only things that makes sense and Namco Bandai promises that Splatterhouse‘s songs should make dedicated headbangers very happy

Splatterhouse unleashes its bloody mayhem on PS3 and Xbox 360 this fall.