Splatterhouse in Review – A 2×4 Head Busting Arcade Classic

Arcade Classic brought to iDevice

I remember walking into my local arcade and laying eyes on SPLATTERHOUSE for the first time. The visual joy of a hockey mask wearing protagonist who strolls through a monster house full of nasty creatures was a sight to behold; and when he proceeds to bash them in with a 2×4 that gives off this amazing “pop” sound as it connects, well, that just had me hooked. After sinking my entire $5 allowance into the machine, I ran over and told my friends I had just played the greatest Friday the 13th game ever!

Well Splatterhouse wasn’t a game based off of the Friday the 13th series, but it was a very satisfying experience. You can imagine my excitement when I heard the news that Splatterhouse was coming to the App Store. I was being given another chance to relieve those wonderful memories from my childhood, and for a lot less money. So how did the move to the small screen turn out? Were my memories left in tact?

For the most part the transition to the iDevice has been kind. From the start you have the option of playing through the game on three difficulty levels and choosing whether to turn on an assist option that adds an additional button for making the “slide” move easier to perform. After playing though and completing a level (there are seven in the main game) you will have the ability to start the game from the beginning of any level that’s already been completed, thus making it much easier to fight your way to the end.

This being an arcade game that was designed to eat your quarters, the gameplay is repetitive and requires repeated play-through for memorization. Boss fights are satisfyingly/frustratingly tough. It’s exciting to get to the end of each level and see what new boss awaits, but frustrating in having to play them several times over until you’ve figured out their pattern and which weapons/fighting style is the best way to use.

The controls work well for the most part. Besides the directional button you have the attack and jump buttons. Your basic attacks consist of a punch while standing, kick while kneeling and a slide attack. There are times the directional button doesn’t react to particular movement requests you make. Mainly when you’re kneeling and you want to turn from one direction to another. The slide attack may or may not work when attempting to perform it with the default button layout. This is where turning on the assist becomes a welcome addition. With it enabled, a third button will be added to the screen, giving you a simple way to initiate the slide attack and significantly improving your chances of pulling off the move. There are also a number of weapons throughout the game you can pick up, each satisfying in their own way. I personally love the shotgun, though the sound of the 2×4 connecting with a monster’s head is also thrilling.

Someone just got REALLY UGLY

In addition to the Arcade mode, Namco has included a Splatter Rush mode. Again you have three difficulty levels to choose from. Each level puts you on a different landscape. The goal of Splatter Rush is to stay alive for two minutes and build chain attacks while enemies come at you from either side. This mode is supported by leaderboards, giving you the chance to compete against others for the best overall score.

Graphically the game looks comparable to the arcade version I remember playing over 20 years ago. There are three view sizes to choose from and each one takes up more and more of the screen. The first two are are a bit too small and you may find as well find that they’re not the best way to play through the game.

Splatterhouse is an easy recommendation for those who remember the original fondly, as well as anyone who enjoys a classic side scrolling beat’em up. Splatter Rush gives you hours of additional gameplay if you enjoy the ability to compete with others on leaderboards. For those of you who are easily frustrated by controls that don’t react 100% of the time to your input or the need to memorize enemy movement through repeated play-through of most levels, you may want to pass on this classic arcade hit.

App Summary
Title: SPLATTERHOUSE Developer: Namco
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 19.1MB
  • Arcade Classic in your hand
  • Excellent “Pop” sound from your weapon
  • Splatter Rush mode
  • Competitive Leader boards
  • Repetitive game play
  • Imperfect controls
  • Background Wallpaper takes away ability to view fullscreen


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