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Splatterhouse

Alberto 'Kazuya'
One of the most impressive games in the entire FM Towns catalog. Perfect conversion of the Namco arcade classic.
One of the most impressive games in the entire FM Towns catalog. Perfect conversion  of the Namco arcade classic.

About the game

Splatterhouse is a beat'em up videogame developed by Namco in 1988 for the arcade game machine sector. Probably one of the most iconic productions of the 80's. The slasher atmosphere presented to the user, unique at that time, caused a huge impact within the fans because of the bloody scenes and gore in a period in which videogames were not accepted as adult entertainment.

Game synopsis

The story is simple and direct. Two college students, Rick Taylor and Jennifer Willis, take refuge from a storm in West Mansion, a local landmark known as "Splatterhouse" because of the rumours of hideous experiments conducted there by Dr.West, a renowned and missing parapsychologist. As they enter the mansion, the door shuts behind them, and Jennifer screams. Rick awakens in a dungeon under the mansion, after being resurrected by the influence of the "Terror Mask". With the mask, Rick looks for Jennifer throughout the dungeon and the mansion grounds, while killing hordes of monsters.

The atmosphere that the game emits is terrifying.

Equivalent on the console catalogue

FM Towns and its console version Marty had a peak within videogame collecting during the last decade. There are several reasons for that, and Splatterhouse became one of the strongest titles to captivate the user, not only because of its rarity, but also the inmense quality of the package, the unforgettable cover and back cover, and the satisfaction of having the arcade as it is on our living room.

Graphics and sound

The FM Towns version, ported by VING and released only in Japan in 1992, is a pixel-perfect conversion of the original arcade, with no substantial changes apart from a new menu interface in the title screen. The game runs on the Namco System 1 plaque, and that becomes noticeable just by looking at the enormous sprites of the main character, as well as the final bosses. The detailed scenarios we can explore such as a torture chamber, the exteriors, the chapel or the lab. The soundtrack, with Tajima and Kawamoto in charge, adds a plus of quality to the product.

Some final bosses are really creepy.

Gameplay

Our character can punch, kick, jump over obstacles, hit with sticks, shoot... representing a variety of options. Unfortunately, years do not pass in vain, and there are some rough animations, specially while jumping, becoming defenseless against the enemies. The difficulty is relatively high, although the mechanics are easy. It might require certain skill of the player in specific areas of the game. Learning the bosses patterns can be useful. The seven stages may be a bit short, but we have to take into consideration its arcade origin.

Conclusion

Splatterhouse on FM Towns is an excellent title, totally recommended if you enjoyed the arcade or just want to have chills while exploring the mansion. One of the reasons to acquire a FM Towns or Marty is the fact that unlike the PC Engine version, this one is identical to the arcade game machine, conserving all of its virtues and becoming as of today one of the essential titles within Fujitsu's platform collecting or even in retro collecting.

9 | SUPERB