Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti

Platform: Famicom
Release Date: July 31st, 1989
Publisher: Namco (Namcot)

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is an true gem. The game, the second in the Splatterhouse series, was released in 1989 by Namco. It is an SD (super deformed, google it if you’re lost here) version of the Splatterhouse we’ve come to know and love.

A lot of people see the cartoony SD graphic style and think that this a neutered kid friendly version of the infamously violent game series, but they are dead wrong. Sure, the blood has been almost entirely removed, but in its place is some truly disturbing imagery. Take for instance decapitated corpses falling from trees while hideous heads are left hanging from their nooses, and weeping mourners looking on as you battle a possessed goat front row and center in a church… but we’ll get to that later.

The story starts as all Splatterhouse games do, with your death and the abduction of your girlfriend by some manner of ghoul or devil whorshipping sodomite. You are brought back from the dead by the powers of a Jason Vorhees-esque mask and your quest is to seek the aforementioned hell-spawn, who in this game is a floating Jack-o-Lantern, and retrieve your ladyfriend from it’s diabolical clutches.

The name of the game is platforming, in the vein of Ghouls n’ Ghosts and Adventure Island. You begin with your standard weapon, which is a butcher’s knife. The jack-o-lantern has the balls to taunt you at the beginning of each stage, and because this Japan-only release is done completely in English (hilariously bad English, but English none-the-less). You can use the taunts as fodder for your vengeance. Stage 1 starts you of in the graveyard you were just reborn from and your girl’s captor proclaims “THIS WILL BE YOUR GRAVE HA HA HA…”

The game is basically Chop, Chop. Zombie, Zombie. That’s not saying that it’s not a gripping slice of platforming perfection, but with out a doubt my favorite part of the whole game is the bosses. From the Dracula with his “Thriller” inspired dance routine to the Human Fly and the School Girl turned terrifying Lycanthrope, the game is at it’s very best when you are fighting the bosses. They are challenging, nerve racking, and most of all alot of fun. I am a big horror movie fan and it’s great to see so many references, everything from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy to Brian Yunza’s Re-Animator.

Overall, I found the game fairly difficult at first, but the quirky style and tight controls kept me coming back and the more I played the game, the softer the difficulty got. Like with most 8-bit titles, practice makes perfect.

This game can be had for between 20 and 30 bucks on Ebay, and you will need a converter to play this game on a North American NES, but I would put this title on the “Must Have” list as far as Famicom, if not all 8-bit games are concerned.

9 / 10

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