Another Splatterhouse article? Sigh. Once again, we shall point you in the direction of The West Mansion for more info than any one human needs about the entire Splatterhouse series, and they provide the only translatiosn of the Japanese names for the monsters- that'd be on this page by Rodrigo Shin and Felipe "Dios"- which we're using for the most part. Speaking of which, the ultra-nerds among you might notice that while we're playing the US/EU version, the HTML filenames for these pages use the Japanese name, Splatterhouse Part 2. This is purely technical- the original Splatterhouse article used up 'Splatterhouse2.html' so we had to improvise.
If you didn't see a sequel coming after the ending of the original Splatterhouse...
Well, c'mon, it's a horror game, and much like horror movies, logic be damned, they gotta have sequels!
What's unusual about Splatterhouse 2, though, isn't that it's a sequel to a game that seemed to tie up all its loose ends (well, kinda) but that it skipped both the arcade and the PC Engine/Turbografx-16. With assistance from Now Production (who also worked on games like Rolling Thunder 3, Sonic Riders and the Game Boy Advance port of Silent Scope) Namco took the series to the Mega Drive for its second instalment. The obvious guess is that the series didn't continue on the TG-16/PC Engine because by the time Splatterhouse 2 was released, Namco's support of NEC's system was dwindling (their last release was The Tower of Druaga in July 1992, Japan-only) so jumping ship made sense. I suppose the edgy and cool 'tude of the Mega Drive may have been a factor too... As for its place in video game violence history, the Japanese and American versions came out in August 1992, which depending on the sources you use, was either a few months before or after the arcade release of Mortal Kombat (I've seen as early as July 1992, as late as October 1992). As a result, Namco were content with putting a silly 'This game ain't for kids!' warning on the cover in tiny, barely-readable red text (something the European release didn't even get because that's how we roll) as the ESRB had yet to emerge.
The game has significantly more story to it this time, something made a bit more confusing by the fact that there's two different official translations- the Western game is in, well, English, but the Japanese game is actually presented in both English and Japanese, with the English text being different from the Western versions. The Japanese version generally makes more sense when put next to the first game, but the Western version has a bit more, shall we say, charm to it... So we'll be giving both, with English on the left, and Japanese on the right. Three months after the West Mansion incident (referred to as 'the tragedy' in the Japanese version), Rick has been having nightmares about Jennifer's fate in the mansion... Which is when his old friend, the Terror Mask, pops in for a quick chinwag:
You know what happens next, right? Here's a hint: it involves murdering hellish creatures with your fists.
Find the 'hidden house' (remember, the first West Mansion's a smouldering hole in the ground) and rescue Jennifer!
As for the game itself... It's exactly the same as the original, mechanics-wise. No, really, almost identical. Go back to the first page of our Splatterhouse playthrough and read the bit about how the game plays (and for those too lazy to do that, it's basically Kung Fu Master, i.e. a single-plane brawler). It's the same. Rick may look a little different but he's still got the same repertoire of moves- punch, crouch kick, slide kick and reverse slide kick. The one change is that you can no longer punch in the air- mid-air attacks are always kicks. There's also a slightly different arsenal of weapons in the game, including chainsaws, chemical bombs and bone clubs, and the purple mist that acted as an in-game timer has been removed, but this is very familiar territory. Just on weaker hardware, by different staff and made four years later. I'm just pointing that out so your expectations are set appropriately low.
Just one bit of housekeeping before we go in- though we'll be presenting both the English and Japanese cutscenes (English on the left, Japanese on the right), this playthrough uses the American version of the game as its basis. We want our horror sequels in 60hz, please (even if the PAL version has its charm, as we'll find out later) and the rules for continuing and health/life distribution are considerably less forgiving in the Japanese release. Also, the mask design in the Japanese version is OK, but we gotta be rockin' that skull mask, you know?
It's got 'bad idea' written all over it, but let's return to the remains of West Mansion- let's play Splatterhouse 2!
VIOLENT HORROR ACTION RETURNS AGAIN!