Splatterhouse 2

Also Known As: Splatterhouse Part 2 (Japanese)
Platform: Mega Drive
Other Platforms: Wii Virtual Console, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Namco/Now Production
Publisher: Namco
Released: 1992
Genre: Scrolling Brawler - Single-Plane
Players: 1

Splatterhouse 2 is a lot like the first game in the series, and yet it's not quite as good. Fairly solidly constructed, mind, but just not as good. Three months after the events of the original, Rick is tempted back to the ruins of West Mansion hy the Terror Mask, with the promise that together they can save Jennifer from the Land of the Dead. Standing between him and victory is a legion of monsters, mutants and disgusting creatures- with the awesome power of the Mask, rip 'em up and save Jennifer!

Mechanically, the game is basically the same as its predecessor (the sole differences, for those who have to know, are that you can no longer punch in mid-air, and the purpe mist that served as a time limit is gone), so it's a bit like Kung Fu Master but with additional weapons and a variety of ugly monsters to kill along the way. On this end, you can't exactly fault the game- it doesn't add anything that damages the core experience, nor does it take much away (aside from multiple routes- only two path-changes exist in-game, and they're totally optional unlike the multi-route Stage V of the first game) so, on that level, there's not much to say. Punch monsters. Slide kick into monsters. Occasionally get a weapon to ruin a monster's day. Survive each stage with your health meter in-tact and... That's it, really.

My main issues, when compared to the first game, come in the form of the enemy and level design. Not in an aesthetic way, mind- the first game had a very gloomy and haunting atmosphere, this one aims more for a splatter-flick kind of experience, which isn't a bad change as it gives it a certain charm (even if it's not as effective as the first game). It's not in terms of what happens in those stages either, if you get me- there's still plenty of 'oh, no way!' moments like the Stage III shack and pretty much all the boss death animations, not to mention the fact that there's a chainsaw weapon. It's more that the game feels a bit more annoying to play- the standard enemies are Deathnoids who are more irritating to deal with than SH1's Deadmen, a lot of the bosses rely on small and fast projectiles you need to punch (which Rick really isn't built for), some sections are just dull (elevator sequences especially) and, even now I've played the game a lot, there's still sections that frustrate me far more than similar tough sections in the first game- it's less a feeling of 'This is tough, but I can do it'" and more 'Aggggh, this is really getting on my wick!'. It doesn't feel as tightly constructed as the first, and this leads to it feeling less satisfying to play.

I'm not saying it's a bad game, mind. As I said, there's some bits I enjoyed, and the general mechanics haven't been broken. It's just those mechanics don't gel as nicely with the enemies and levels on offer like the first one. To be honest, even taken on its own merits away from the first game- how I actually played it back when it was the only Splatterhouse game that I knew existed- it was kind-of an annoying game to play. It had its charm- that's probably why the name stuck with me- but it wasn't exactly a favourite. Playing the first game years later only reinforced this view... But I can't come down too hard on the game. It's got guts (mostly those spilled by enemies) and again, mechanically it's solid. Just not as good as last time.

For being more of the same but not quite as good, Splatterhouse 2 is awarded...

In a sentence, Splatterhouse 2 is...
Alright, like, but not the same.

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