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Video Game / Splatterhouse

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"Show him why we call it Splatterhouse."

"When a knife is thrown at Rick, what does he do? FUCKING PUNCHES IT, that's what! When was the last time you punched a knife — fist-to-blade — and it was the knife that lost? Yeah, that's never happened, 'cause you ain't as badass as Rick! Rick will fuck you up!"

Splatterhouse is a series of Beat 'em Up games created by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Players control the protagonist Rick Taylor as he fights against diabolical supernatural forces in a struggle to save the woman he loves (and, in Splatterhouse 3, his son). Rick has a constant companion throughout this freak show of demented demons: the Terror Mask, an Ancient Artifact that confers great and terrible powers upon anyone who wears it — and seems to have a mind of its own.

Namco released the first Splatterhouse in arcades; in the United States, its graphic violence sparked a media frenzy from Moral Guardians, which got the game pulled from arcades. The game's later release on the TurboGrafx-16 received some Bowdlerization to avoid the same fate; later games did not get such treatment, as the relative obscurity of Splatterhouse spared the port and its sequels from the crosshairs of the early 1990s "violence in video games" moral panic spawned by Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. (That the first three Splatterhouse games featured no real human foes to beat up probably helped, too.)

The first two Splatterhouse games feature 2D side-scrolling Kung Fu Master-style gameplay; Rick can splatter most enemies in one hit, but can only survive a few hits himself. Splatterhouse 3 plays more like a Streets of Rage-style beat-'em-up and includes a non-linear exploration element where players navigate a maze of rooms to reach a boss battle.

Namco also published Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti ("Naughty Graffiti"), a bizarre and wacky prequel for the Famicom that features Super-Deformed versions of the game's characters and parodies of numerous horror films (and their associated tropes).

The series sat dormant after Splatterhouse 3, and fans clamored for a new game for years. Namco Bandai delivered that game in 2010 with Splatterhouse, released for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. This remake/re-imagining of the first game works as a modern-day version of its 16-bit predecessors, with all that description entails (for example, if Rick takes a lot of damage, he loses massive amounts of skin and body parts until he can heal). Namco Bandai also included the entire original trilogy (including the uncut arcade version of the first game) as unlockable bonuses, which turned the disc into the ultimate Splatterhouse collection.

Splatterhouse fan-site "The West Mansion" has a load of information about the entire series and a collection of fan creations.

The Splatterhouse series contains the following tropes:

  • 1-Up: In the third game, you can find hidden rooms that leads to books that gives Rick an extra life.
  • 2D: There are sidescrolling segments in the 2010 remake.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: As the original game began life in the arcades, all levels in it contain a device to keep players from stalling, in the form of a slow-moving wall of glowing, rippling purple something that pursues you until you reach the boss. The console-exclusive Splatterhouse 2 does this twice; once by having the Kraken chase you across a collapsing bridge, and once as you're escaping Hell by having a giant glowing creature — which is possibly the Evil One — pursue you while shooting energy balls at you.
    • A couple of the side-scrolling segments in the 2010 game have some form of this as well.
  • Alien Blood: Demon blood in this case — while plain ol' red is pretty prevalent as well, quite a few of the enemies have blood of various other colors. Strangely enough, it seems that backgrounds in all three of the classic games are allowed to be as red as possible, but blood from enemies has to be another color if it's freshly spilled (such as a low-level mook in part 3 with bloody red stumps where its head and hands should be, but still bleeds green). Even then, it's not a strictly enforced rule, as a boss in part 2 explodes into a crimson spray that even runs down the screen.
  • All There in the Manual: In the 2010 remake, the corpse that crumbles to dust after Rick knocks over the sarcophagus it resides in actually has a backstory, only accessible in dialogue in the game files; the corpse was formerly a conquistador named Francisco Miguel Cortez, whose ship crashed on an island with an Aztec temple. As his men died or became Corrupted, he took refuge in the temple, and eventually found the sarcophagus with the Terror Mask in it. Afterwards, he was sealed in the sarcophagus himself, and completely left unable to die thanks to the Mask.
  • Amplifier Artifact and Artifact of Doom: The Terror Mask. See Cool Mask below.
  • Another Dimension: The Void.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Dr. West in the remake, although this mostly applied to him before Rick killed his (demonic) wife, fulfilling a Stable Time Loop.
    • The Terror Mask veers towards this and Anti-Hero in the remake, as it does have justified reasons for wanting to destroy the Corruption (see Noble Demon below) but was still manipulating Rick into its unknown agenda.
  • Arcade-Perfect Port: The version of the original arcade Splatterhouse included in the 2010 remake matches the original 1-to-1, from the visual aesthetics, the sound, the music, everything all is here. It even uses credits as if the player is playing the actual arcade cabinet.
  • Arc Words: "She doesn't have to die." in the reboot. Said only twice, but in a very significant context. To motivate him to wear the Terror Mask, it tells Rick those words, and when Dr. West monologues in a later level, he says that he heard a voice tell him that sentence, motivating him to try and bring his wife Lenora back to life, with the Terror Mask's voice slightly overlapping his when he says those words. note 
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: In the remake, Rick's Berserk mode attacks will cut through the shielding that an Aegis gives to other creatures. Rick clones that go into Berserk mode can harm Rick when he's in his normally invulnerable Berserk mode.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Dr. West was the one who kidnapped Jennifer in the game that started the franchise, but never actually appeared on-screen, and indeed didn't exist at all until the manuals for the home console port were printed. He appears in full in the remake, with a fairly fleshed out backstory.
    • Mirror Rick becomes an actual boss in the remake, as opposed to a generic enemy that Rick has to fight. He would have had actual lines too, but they were cut (he intended to Kill and Replace Rick).
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The Terror Mask invokes this in the bad endings to the third game.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Hell Chaos, the last boss of the first game. His head alone is as tall as Rick. The rest of his unseen, rotten body is underground.
    • The remake gives us Golem, an enormous tentacled beast grown from a doll full of tentacles that armors itself into a humanoid shape using furniture from throughout the house.
    • The giant Boreworms are really giant this time.
    • The final boss, The Overlord, is a massive, vaguely humanoid beast composed of ten thousand corpses supplied by your rampage against the monsters of the game.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Terror Mask in the remake. He keeps urging Rick to kill more stuff.
    • Which, believe it or not, makes him better than his original trilogy persona; the few lines the mask spoke in the classic games imply that it is a very cold and cunning being; while the new personality seems to be interested in only killing other demons and just having "fun" with a little bit of a revenge quest snuck in, the old one wanted to outright kill every being in its path for world domination, Jennifer, David and even Rick himself included.
  • Badass Boast: The Terror Mask gets one in the opening of the remake after Rick asks what it is.
    The Terror Mask: "Let's just say I'm God. Your God. Well, at least the only one who's listening right now."
    • A subtle, but present, example at the start of the second game:
    The Terror Mask: "Rick... she doesn't have to die. You can still save her. Only I can give you that power. Rick... you need me."
  • Bad Future: One of the places you travel to in the remake, New York City, thirteen months after failing to save Jennifer, the Corrupted have basically ended everything.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The final battle against the Terror Mask in the third game.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Before the first boss fight in Splatterhouse 2, three monsters choose being torn apart by the boss rather than face Rick.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Xbox 360 exclusive Terror Mask skin's description tells you that it can "Turn every arena into a red circle of death," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the infamous Red Ring of Death that plagued the first Xbox 360 consoles released.
  • Blackout Basement: The second stage of part 2 features this sort of of setting. The background is pitch dark save for a few very dim fluorescent lights on the walls, which reveal ghostly faces each time they flicker out.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The name "Biggy Man" is actually meant to be "Piggy Man", which is the actual romanized spelling used in the PC Engine version's manual (as well as in the official soundtrack). In an early strategy guide for the TurboGrafx-16 version for the first game, Piggy Man's name was mistranslated "Biggy Man" and this mistake was propagated by fansites, eventually making its way into the American-developed 2010 version.
    • The third game has a pretty good translation... save for a few hilarious typos.
    Mask: David it [sic] that child.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The remake compared to the original trilogy. In every way imaginable.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The remake. The Terror Mask gets off on making quips about the stuff you kill.
  • Blood Knight: The Terror Mask. Established in the remake, as according the original trilogy's very few dialogues and manuals, the mask is very clear on its primary goals and doesn't seem to crave fighting and killing as much as it does in the remake.
  • Body Horror: It's hard to find a series with more body horror than this one. In fact, it's hard to find a single frame of a Splatterhouse game that doesn't have some kind of body horror in it.
  • Bonus Stage: The Strange Zone (Stage X) in the third game, they're essentially bonus stages with no timer where you fight off some enemies and pick up some 1-Ups and power stones. Every time Rick completes the bonus stages, Rick consistently responds with wordless confusion.
    Rick: "......?"
  • Body of Bodies: The Final Boss of the second game. Also the one from the remake... this time more literally, as some of the bodies he's composed of will occasionally fall off, revive and charge at you.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: In some areas of the remake you'll find a single, apparently ordinary mook all alone. For some reason, it can kill you with one Deadly Lunge if you're not careful enough, even at full health.
  • Bowdlerise: Believe it or not, the 2010 game got a small bit of this; instead of the game's easy difficulty being called "Pussy", Namco higher-ups made them change it because they felt it would be insulting to gamers. It was changed to "Coward". It's particularly odd because this is a game in which the Terror Mask constantly berates your character's reluctance or fear with lines like "I'm sorry, did your vagina say something just now?"
    • In the second game of the original trilogy, it was made clear that Rick did in fact kill Jennifer and in the second game had to fight his way into the underworld and bring her back to life. The US version states that the creature from the first game wasn't her and she was trapped in the other house the whole time.
    • The Terror Mask was originally the "Hell Mask" in Japan.
    • In the first game, the Inverted Cross boss was reskinned into a monster head for the console ports.
  • Breakable Weapons: Especially in the Remake. Justified, as Rick is swinging said weapons with unearthly power. Furthermore if they weren't breakable they'd be a Game-Breaker. You can use that unearthly power to increase weapon durability but even that only works for so long. They also break in only one or two hits against enemies above a certain weight class regardless of how fresh they are (thankfully that single hit does full damage).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Terror Mask in the remake is fond of doing this.
    "See, that's the kind of shit that got us an M-rating."
  • Came Back Wrong: When Dr. West used the information given to him by an extra-dimensional creature to both prolong his life and bring back his dead wife Lenora. While West didn't die, it's implied that the life extension process affected his mind and transformed him into something else while the resurrection process he used on his wife (which he based the life extension process from) plays this trope straight as while she has brief moments of lucidity, most of the time she's a slavering, beastial, monstrosity that's been implied to have, on one occasion, killed and eaten children.
  • Chainsaw Good: For Rick in Splatterhouse 2; it's also the best weapon in the remake (next to the shotgun).
    • Chainsaw Not-So-Good: The infamous boss Piggy Man from the first game had chainsaws where his hands should be.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Rick and the Terror Mask in the remake, especially the Terror Mask.
  • Cool Mask: The Terror Mask, an ancient relic that gives its barer immense, demonic strength.
  • Creepy Crosses: A boss in the first game is a floating inverted cross. This was replaced with a more generic-looking floating monster head in the American TurboGrafx-16 release.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Jokers, the ghost girls that drops skulls from above from the original game.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Terror Mask in the remake, who always have a quip to make for just about any situation. And usually at Rick's expense.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Teratoid in the remake.
    • Inverted with Mirror Rick, who was just a normal enemy to overcome in the original game. The remake, however, makes Mirror Rick a full-on boss, albeit occasionally throwing weaker Mirror Ricks at you before coming back to the fight.
  • Demonic Possession: Rick can give up control to the Terror Mask in the remake for short periods of time. The resulting juggernaut is able to flay demons apart in single strikes, siphon blood out of multiple enemies at once, and risks killing Rick if it's maintained past the enforced duration.
    • Jennifer becomes a victim of this at the end of the remake. Thanks a lot, West.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Boreworms are a recurring enemy in the original trilogy of games, but are smaller and weaker in the reboot (to the point Rick can just casually step on them), becoming a fairly minor way to get extra blood points.
  • Determinator: Monsters kidnap Jennifer. Rick kills all the monsters. Jennifer turns into a monster and must be killed. Rick goes to hell and gets her back. Eldritch horrors invade Rick's mansion and attack his family. Whether he saves them or not, there is going to be hell to pay.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: In the original arcade game, justified as they were possessed and out to kill you. In the remake, you can smash some of the crates, barrels, and other objects laying around for Boreworms and get their blood.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Pretty much all you do throughout all of the games. Sometimes you also smash Cthulhu up with 2x4s.
  • Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version of Splatterhouse 3 is significantly more forgiving than the overseas releases. Enemies take much less damage to kill and the time limits are significantly more forgiving, meaning you can save your family more easily and get to Stage X for more lives with less trouble. The downside is that Rick doesn't have his spin kick and flesh wave attacks, giving him less crowd control.
  • Downer Ending: The first game, and all but one ending to the third.
    • In the first game, Rick is unable to save Jennifer as she turns into a monster and has to be killed. After killing Hell Chaos (implied to be the remnants of Dr. West), the Terror Mask breaks, and Rick escapes the burning mansion alone, with the mask rebuilding itself behind him and laughing evilly. The somber music that plays over the credits really hammers it in.
    • In the third game: If Rick fails to save either his son, Jennifer, or both, with the Terror Mask promising that it will come back to haunt him.
      Rick: Alone. All alone...
  • Downloadable Content: The 2010 game features alternate masks for Rick to wear, such as the Retro Hockey Mask resembling the TurboGrafx-16 version, a masked based on Dia de Los Muertos, and a skull-like mask. There are also extra survival arenas available for purchase.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: After you defeat Head Snake, the keeper of the gate to the Void in Splatterhouse 2, you see a huge, red mass being expelled from the passage. It's the Ultimate Evil, and you fight it as the final boss later.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The original trilogy. Rick went through utter hell in his life via wandering through an abomination-filled haunted house, being forced to kill his girlfriend, went to literal Hell to save his girlfriend's soul from demons, racing against time when said demons and their leader invade his new home and family and prevent them from being killed or turned into mindless beasts, and wreck his own mask for manipulating him so it could take over the world. By the end of it, Rick is able to resume his newly built family in peace, with no more forces of evil attempting to ruin both the world and his personal life. And according to (Bandai) Namco, this is the canon ending for the original trilogy.
  • Easy Level Trick: Biggy Man is a hard boss in the original game, but you can turn him into a cakewalk by carrying both shotguns into the fight, simply swapping them out repeatedly as you move and using low kicks to deal with the lesser enemies.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much everything, to some degree. The House itself, and some of the monsters from the second game counts.
  • Elite Mooks: Many enemies have a stronger counterpart, namely the Teratoid and Abhore have the Demon Teratoid and the Demon Abhore.
  • Embedded Precursor: The 2010 revival has the original trilogy of Splatterhouse games as unlockable bonuses.
  • Every 10,000 Points: In the first two games. Every 30,000 points in the first game and 20,000 points in the sequel respectively earns you an extra life.
  • Everybody Lives/Everybody Dies: The best and worst endings of the third game.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Aside from the ordinary hellish creatures from Another Dimension, things that attempt to kill Rick include random wildlife, furniture, household tools, his own reflection, his girlfriend/wife-to-be, and his son's teddy bear.
  • Evil Feels Good: The Terror Mask in the remake is constantly trying to get Rick to admit he loves the power and strength it gives him.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Pretty much everything in this game series.
  • Evil Mask: The Terror Mask. Although an evil artifact, it's willing to help Rick save his loved ones except in the third game of the original trilogy, where it shows its true colors.
  • Evolving Attack: In the remake, you can purchase skill upgrades that further enhance some of your existing moves.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Usually played straight in the third game, but mercilessly averted when it comes to Stage 2. "Alright, I beat the Giant Boreworm with (any amount of time below 2 minutes) remaining, I— wait, JENNIFER DIED?!"
  • Exact Words: The Terror Mask's deal in the remake is that he won't get off of Rick's face until Jen is safe in his arms. He doesn't come off, because it's not Jen in her body...
  • Excuse Plot: Demons kidnapped your girlfriend. Maim them. Slightly less so in the 2010 remake.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The second stage boss in the second game is a huge spectral face that you have to attack in its bulging eyes. Once you defeat it, its eyes explode.
    • One of the monsters in the remake is a colossal eye (complete with eyelids) blocking your way. You must defeat it and rip it out in order to pass.
  • Fanservice: In the 2010 remake, each stage has four pieces of a photograph. Finding all of them will reward you with a picture of Jennifer either dressed, half dressed, or completely naked.
  • Finishing Move: The Splatterkills in the remake.
  • Flunky Boss: There are a grand total of two bosses in Wanpaku Graffiti that aren't this.
    • Master Dead from the original game relies on reanimating zombies to fight you.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The Terror Mask in the remake seems to be very aware of the fact that it is in a video game.
    • In one of its dialogues with Rick, it tells him that he's been a killer "in other games".
    • He comments on how the current situation is what got them an M-Rating. Rick had just shoved four demons, ass first, onto a conveyor belt's "recepticals" and imploded them with the sonic machinery.
  • Gainax Ending: In Wanpaku Graffiti. Or perhaps not. Obtaining two crystals reveals that while Rick and Jennifer lived happily after the ending, being a movie and all, they would face a tragedy later, with the picture of both of them running to a mansion in a nasty storm... the opening of the original Splatterhouse, thus Wanpaku Grafitti can serve as its prequel.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Hell Chaos from the very first game had zero explanation. Whose grave is this outside the Splatterhouse? Why does the Terror Mask interact with it? What exactly is the giant final boss monster underneath it? After the TurboGrafx-16 expanded the evil mansion's backstory to include one "Dr. West", it started to make more sense.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Terror Mask:
    "Who am I? Let's just say I'm God. Your god. 'Least the only god that's listening right now. What do I want? Ah, the same as any god. Little faith. For without faith, I am nothing. And without me... you're fucked."
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Mask in the remake has an amazing healing power. Pretty much required, as some injuries will leave you with missing chunks of flesh, exposed bones, and missing arms.
  • Gorn: The series gets off on this, sometimes to the point of being stomach-churning.
  • Grand Finale: Splatterhouse 3 serves as the final conclusion of the original series, since it has Rick battle the Terror Mask after learning it is Evil All Along in the final boss fight and, depending on how quickly the player beats certain levels, ends with Rick living happily ever after with his wife and son while the Terror Mask is permanently defeated.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Rick goes through a pretty gruesome one as soon as he wears the Terror Mask in the beginning of the 2010 remake.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Rick is strong enough to rip enemies into sizeable chunks, or punch them into half with his bare hands.
  • Harder Than Hard: The second and third game has Game Master difficulty, a difficulty above the Difficult difficulty.
  • Haunted House: Perhaps not so much haunted as possessed. Dr. West's experiments have filled his home with all manner of monsters, demons, and spirits. In the third game, Rick's mansion suffers a similar fate when the Evil One attacks it.
  • Hurricane Kick: In 3, pressing Back->Forward->Attack when untransformed will make Rick spin around kicking everyone in his path. It's actually the most damaging attack by Rick, even moreso than anything from his powered-up form.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: Rick wears a hockey mask and can sometimes use a chainsaw. In sequels, the mask was redesigned to look more like a skull, but the similarities to Jason's signature mask were still pretty apparent.
  • How We Got Here: The intro of the remake is only part of the introduction; playing further shows more bits and pieces of it, including how Rick was dying, why the Terror Mask was lying next to him, and why there are photographs of Rick and Jenny lying on the lobby floor.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "The Children consume human flesh with much relish. I tried it once. It was not to my taste."
  • Improvised Weapon: The 2x4s and similar weapons, which can be used to smack enemies around and into walls. In the 2010 game, you can use your own arm if it was severed and a move you can learn lets you rip enemies arms off and beat them with it.
  • Jump Scare: Splatterhouse 2 ends with one after the credits.
    • In the remake: during the Meat Factory, the game suddenly flashes images of Jennifer's hideously deformed face saying "Rick, save me."
    • The initial screen of the remake is a jump scare.
  • Kaizo Trap: The original arcade game pulls this three times. The first boss fight has a final leech leap out of the hanging corpse. The second boss fight has the infamous One-Hit Kill Falling Chandelier of Doom. The penultimate level's boss (a giant uterus) spews out deadly embryonic fluids upon being killed.
    • For the second game, Rick must stay clear away from the first boss's stomach when it explodes or acid is drenched all over him.
  • Karakasa: Wanpaku Graffiti has umbrella ghosts as the outdoor enemies in the secret pagoda level.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Terror Mask acknowledges how gruesome some of the things he has Rick do to the Corrupted are.
  • Large Ham: In the 2010 game, the leering Dr. West is even more rubber-faced than Jim Carrey.
    • The Terror Mask himself is exceptionally hammy, not surprising seeing as how it's voiced by the prolifically hammy Jim Cummings.
    "For a Dick, you are such a pussy!"
  • Last Ditch Move: Done by the second boss in the first game via Falling Chandelier of Doom. It takes away all your health hearts if it lands on you.
    • The first and sixth bosses do the same with a hidden last enemy and acid blood, while Part Two has only the first boss doing this splashing you with gastric fluids.
  • The Legions of Hell: The monsters you face in the original trilogy, ranging from ghouls, zombies, and hellish abominations. The remake has the Corrupted, hellish monsters summoned by Dr. West.
  • Let's Play: Batman9502 has done a Let's Play of the original trilogy during the Halloween season. NathanGraves989 also has done one for the 2010 remake.
  • Life Drain: The Splatter Siphon in the remake, which lets you drain blood from nearby enemies.
  • Life Energy: Inverted with Necro, which is the energy of the dead.
  • Life Meter: In the first two games, your hit points were presented as hearts, as in the actual organ. The third game and the remake has a more straightforward gauge display, alongside a meter to show how much juice the Terror Mask has.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti. note 
    • The 2010 Splatterhouse is less horrific and more action-fantasy ish compared to the 16-bit originals.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Every time you go back to a checkpoint. Due to the difficulty, this can lead to long stretches of more loading than playing.
  • The Lost Lenore: Dr. West's wife, who Jennifer greatly resembles. Named Lenora, in case you didn't spot the metaphor.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Dr. West in the remake.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The various "Splatterkills" you can perform in the 2010 remake. One particularly charming one involves Rick shoving his hand up a creature's asshole and ripping out its intestines.
  • Made of Plasticine: Most enemies are, to some extent. That, or the Terror Mask is just that powerful.
    • Considering that the arcade version of the original game opens with Rick having to be saved from death by the Mask after he enters the mansion, the latter is likely the case.
      • Made all too clear in the remake. Rick without the mask is damn near sliced in half during the attack that leaves him dying; Rick with the mask is able to rip the same enemies to shreds with his bare fists.
  • Mad Scientist: A boss in the second game. He chucks beakers of incendiary chemicals. (In the Western version, he's Dr. Mueller, a research partner of Dr. West. In Japan, he is Dr. West.)
    • Doctor West in the remake.
  • Magic Pants: In the first game, during the fight against the mutated Jennifer, she transforms back into her human form after being hit enough times, with her clothes literally reappearing out of nowhere.
    • In Splatterhouse 3, whenever Rick transforms into his Super Mode, his shirt rips off, but when he reverts, his shirt grows back.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: Obtained from evidence from the manuals and games, it is revealed that the Terror Mask is the one thing responsible for summoning evil spirits and turning houses into massive horrifying fleshpiles. Apparently, it's a magnet for evil of all sorts. Even the Wanpaku Graffiti ending featured it coming to life, and laughing evilly while poltergeists proceeded to trash the studio.
  • Mana Meter: The POW Meter, which is used for your Mutant Rick form. The 2010 has the Necro Meter, which is used for your Splatter Moves and Berserk mode.
  • Mirror Boss and Evil Knockoff: Both in the original and in the 2010 game, Rick must fight clones of himself generated by evil mirrors; only in the remake is the battle treated as a boss fight.
  • Monster Clown: The 2010 remake has Clown Corrupted as enemies "Phase Seven: Scream Park". Cut Dialogue also reveals that Rick is afraid of clowns, which the Terror Mask, of course, has fun with.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jennifer in the remake. You even get to collect some naked pictures of her throughout the remake.
  • Multi-Platform: The 2010 remake, released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
  • Multiple Endings: In the third game, whether or not you complete certain stages before the time limit is up determines which ending you see. Two of the game's objectives are to rescue Rick's wife, Jennifer, and their son, David. They can only be rescued by making it to the end of levels two and four respectively as quickly as possible. Depending on whether you save both of them, only one, or neither of them, the game ends on a positive note with Rick being reunited with his family, or results in one of three possible Downer Endings where either Rick is a widower who has to raise his son alone, Rick and Jennifer are bereaved parents, or Rick is left alone after losing both his wife and his son.
  • Museum Game: The 2010 Splatterhouse remake is a softer museum example, as beating this Nintendo Hard game earns the right to play the original 3 games, while also viewing extra art and information on them. It's basically a playable tour through the Splatterhouse franchise plus art and information. This is done as both a nostalgic reward for fans of the original series (especially as many wanted to play the uncensored game but never could) and to educate new players about the cool stuff that came before.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Unlike the player, Mirror Rick doesn't have to jump in the air to launch a slide attack at you.
  • Mythology Gag: Now has its own page.
  • Necromancer: Master Dead in the original game.
  • Necromantic: Dr. West in the remake.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to a Stable Time Loop, Rick was the reason Dr. West made a deal with The Corrupted in the first place.
  • Nightmare Face: Fail to save Jennifer in time in the third game, and you will be treated to a horrifyingly realistic image where Jennifer bares her fangs. Quite literally.
  • Nintendo Hard: The 2010 game is pretty hard, compared to other modern beat-em-ups. The very first room past the Taste of Power opening can kill you repeatedly on normal difficulty. Opponents don't have much Mook Chivalry, Rick needs only a few hits to die, and he isn't very good at crowd-clearing.
    • In an inversion of this trope, however, the "Brutal" difficulty can be much easier compared to "Savage", since you are able to bring any upgrades you have gained into a new game, if you chose to carry them over.
    • The classic games were no joke, either, with the first two Splatterhouse games working on arcade levels of fiendish Trial-and-Error Gameplay. Enemies, death obstacles, and traps all worked to take you by surprise in a way that even tight reflexes might eventually fall to, forcing the player to have to learn the games more like a routine rather than be able to inch your way through them the old-fashioned way.
    • The third game taking a Genre Shift to more of a brawler, however, came with the difficulty of getting the good ending. Not only was pretty much every boss fight a Damage-Sponge Boss, even if you tapped into the Terror Mask's Super Mode, but the story-imposed Timed Mission in almost every stage meant you had to reach the boss and defeat them under the time limit or else Rick's family would meet a horrible fate in some way or another. And these time limits were tight to boot, complete with Stage 2's cruel aversion of Exact Time to Failure for first-time playersnote , and thus forcing the player to exploit the game mechanics and enemy AI in every way possible.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: As said in this let's play: an Undead Robot Cyborg Gorilla.
  • Noble Demon: In the remake, the Terror Mask tells Rick that after escaping the influence of the Corrupted, he took up the role of a protector to the ancient Aztecs, and was actually pretty good at it, and partly wants revenge on the Corrupted because they killed all the people he was protecting. When Rick doesn't believe the Terror Mask, he tells Rick that, if a good guy like Rick could do a few bad things (which he certainly has at this point), then the opposite could be true with himself.
    • Much in contrast to his personality in the original trilogy; there, the Terror Mask wanted the other demons dead for his goals of world domination, no revenge involved. Overall, the classic Terror Mask is more of a cunning evil bastard and the new Terror Mask is a happy killer.
  • Nostalgia Level: Some sections of the 2010 game are two-dimensional corridors filled with enemies that you can smash into the fourth wall with your 2x4 and massive death traps, while a musical score that sounds like the ones from 80s horror flicks blares loudly.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • The Terror Mask tries to use this frequently, telling Rick that he loves killing the demons as much as it does, although it's pretty obvious that Rick is a far better person than the Mask could ever hope to be.
    • During one of their final confrontations, West notes that he and Rick share "the same interests, the same purpose... the same woman."
  • No, You: This exchange between Rick and Dr. West from the 2010 game.
    Rick: Yeah? Well, fuck you!
    Dr. West: No, Rick! FUCK YOU!
  • Off with His Head!: Rick can decapitate enemies when he's using a machete. This is also how Rick kills many of the bosses in the remake, most notably the Giant Boreworm. He can even do this with some of his Splatterkills.
    • Blue Hominis can do this too to Rick, which is obviously instant death for you.
  • One-Hit Kill: In the older games, anything Rick did would gib regular enemies. In the remake, even the weak enemies can take a fair beating, but two special grab attacks the arm rip grab and the held weapon grab will kill enemy mooks with a single use.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Terror Mask itself, in the final level of Splatterhouse 3.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: In the latest version, Rick can have his right arm severed and still keep fighting. One of the creatures from the third game can even attack you with part of his skull missing.
  • Painful Transformation: Rick's sudden muscle gain in the beginning of the 2010 game breaks his leg initially. Half his skin is also displaced when Terror Mask goes all out.
    • Jennifer in the original game doesn't sound like she's having a good time mutating either.
  • Painting the Medium: With blood in the remake. After killing the boss of Stage IV in Splatterhouse 2, blood explodes onto the screen and then runs down on it.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: Biggy Man seems to keep tabs on your moves. He'll even jump backwards if you try to dropkick him.
  • Password Save: Splatterhouse 2 and 3 each have a password system to record the player's progress, although you only get your password if you lose all of your lives and get kicked into the Game Over screen.
  • The Power of Blood: Almost every door or trap in the 2010 game is powered and/or unlocked by massive doses of blood from the enemies you kill. You also buy moves using blood points.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: Those who pre-ordered the 2010 game at GameStop also got a statue of the Terror Mask.
  • Precision F-Strike: Rick does this to Dr. West in one of the 2010 game's trailers.
    • During the last phase, Rick confronts Doctor West, and after revealing his big plan for revenge against Rick (for things West accidentally set in motion himself), Rick replies "Yeah... well fuck you." To which Doctor West shouts, "No, Rick. FUCK YOU!!!"
  • Rated M for Manly: Especially the 2010 game.
  • Recurring Boss: All the mini-bosses and also the Giant Boreworm, who you have to fight (and some times behead) at least four times, if not more.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The new design of the Giant Boreworm, complete with fangs and a centipede-like tongue.
  • Ret-Canon: In the 1988 original, the concepts of Dr. West and "West Manor" didn't exist until the game was ported to the TurboGrafx-16, after which they were firmly cemented as part of the canon and the central antagonists of the 2010 remake.
  • Saved for the Sequel: In Splatterhouse 2, Rick runs away from the Evil One once he rescues Jennifer, he has no intention to fight him. The game's stinger implies that Rick's troubles are far from over. Sure enough, in Splatterhouse 3, the Evil One becomes a boss that Rick actually has to fight against instead of running away from.
  • Scenery Porn: The blue lake and the green forest is a pleasant sight after escaping the gloomy mansion in Splatterhouse 2.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Evil One, The Corrupted, and the Terror Mask in the third game.
  • Sequel Hook: The 2010 game ends with Jennifer possessed by one of The Corrupted, complete with Black Eyes of Evil.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A third of the fun in the games is to spot all the references to famous horror movies (just for starters, Friday the 13th, Evil Dead, The Deadly Spawn, and Poltergeist). The Famicom spinoff Wanpaku Graffiti went ballistic on this, including references to (and parodies of) Alien, The Fly (1986), Thriller, and many more.
    • Perhaps the funniest shout out are the disembodied hands giving Rick the finger, straight out of Evil Dead 2.
    • One of the heads circling the "inverted cross" boss from the first game is the head of The Toxic Avenger.
    • The horror movie references are visibly obvious, but the oddly detailed plot came from Lovecraft before it became trendy, mixed with bits of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part 1. Who would have guessed the Terror Mask was based on more than Jason Voorhees?
    • During the final phase of the last boss fight in the second game, the boss takes on the form of a bat-like creature and music suspiciously similar to "Bloody Tears" from Castlevania plays.
    • In a reversal, the title character's look from Jason X may be a reference to or borrowing back from Splatterhouse 3.
    • In the 2010 game:
      • When Rick first obtains a shotgun, the gun's previous owner appears to be Ash Williams.
      • The game packed in references to the works of Lovecraft: in Chapter Six, a monstrous beast resting in a tank towards the end of the level looks a lot like Cthulhu; several spells and prayers spoken by Dr. West — himself, a reference to Herbert West — mention "Chtulhu fhtagn" and "Shub-Niggurath"; sharp-eyed players can spot other minor references to Cthulhu in the backgrounds of several stages, such as a piece of wall decor in Chapter 11; and Jennifer and Rick attend a university located in Arkham, the fictional city featured in numerous Lovecraft stories.
      • Players can find the word "REDRUM" written on the walls in Chapter One, Chucky the doll partially hidden under a bed in Chapter Two, and Freddy's hat, shirt, and clawed glove in Chapter Six.
      • One of Rick's attacks has the name "Pimp Hand Strong".
      • For shout outs to the original series, see the Call Back and Mythology Gag entries above.
      • Almost certainly a coincidence, but Rick's bones sticking out in his mutant form bare an uncanny resemblance to Trent Fernandez/Mikoto Nakadai's Super Dino Mode/Abare Mode in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder/Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. Compare them for yourself.
      • The ending, where Jennifer is revealed to be possessed by the Corrupted and Dr. West laughs maniacally, certainly owes homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller music video.
  • Shows Damage: The 2010 remake. As Rick gets damaged by enemies and traps, you can see pieces of his flesh ripped apart; even his arm can be ripped off, as shown in Chapter One (which also cripples your ability to fight back). Thanks to the Terror Mask, though, he can regenerate lost flesh and arms.
  • Slide Attack: A possible maneuver in the first two games. The second game changed this so that you have to do a full jump to perform a slide attack instead of being possible regardless of jump height in the first game.
  • Stable Time Loop: Sometime in the past, Dr. West witnesses a masked figure re-killing his already-dead wife Leonora and vows to make humanity pay. Moving forward a few hundred years, West kidnaps Jennifer and mortally wounds Rick, forcing him to put on the Terror Mask. Eventually, Rick will go back in time — he's the masked figure that West saw kill his wife, thus causing his Start of Darkness.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Double Subverted with Jennifer and Dr. West in the remake. Dr. West grabs Jennifer by the arm and drags her through the mansion and across time to complete the ceremony. While Jennifer is no fighter, Dr. West looks to be a fairly frail old man. At one point, however, Jennifer takes the initiative and stabs West through the temple with a jagged dagger, only for West to completely shrug the attack off and haul Jennifer out of sight.
  • Spin Attack: A possible maneuver in the third game, and you might need it to save precious time when dealing with several enemies.
  • Splatter Horror: As the title suggests, the series allows the player to dismember enemies in showers of gore.
  • Super Mode: Rick can do this on command in the third game, hulking out and gaining massive strength. Rick can also do this in the 2010 game, but instead of gigantic muscles, his bones grow out of his body and form blades. In both games, your super mode drains your Power and Necro Meter respectively.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The penultimate boss in Splatterhouse 2 gives you plenty of points worth extra lives, and you might need them if this is your first time playing the game blind.
  • A Taste of Power: The remake starts with The Terror Mask putting Rick in Berserk Mode and pumping him full of power. Rick can't take that much power at once, so the Mask decides that they'll need to "take it slow".
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In the remake, any time Rick goes into his super form, the game picks one of a collection of metal songs to play, all with dramatic names like "Apocalyptic Havoc".
    • As well, at the end of the game after dealing the final blow to the boss, Rick and Jennifer are about to be crushed. Cue a QTE that begins to the shredding chords of "Pounding Nails (Into The Lid of Your Coffin)" by The Accused as Rick single-handedly throws a skyscraper-sized giant off them, tackles it, tears its heart out, and chucks the boulder-sized heart 20 feet.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: In the Meat Factory, there are supposedly fourteen floors, according to the elevator... But oddly, there's no 13th floor. You proceed to fight Biggy Man on the floor between the 12th and 14th.
  • Timed Mission: The third game is all about this. You have to complete each mission within a certain time limit if you want Jennifer or David to live.note  While failing to do so doesn't harm Rick, you can only get the one Good Ending if they both survive.
    • The remake has an entire timed level, The Wicker Bride, where you must run through a garden maze before a fanatic mob of townspeople declare Lenora/Jennifer a witch and take the usual countermeasure to this kind of situation. Because of the time-traveling portals, you will repeatedly get extra time once you fight through a wave of monsters, but you'd still better book it.
  • Title Drop: After Biggy Man comes back for round two in the remake.
    "Show him why we call it 'SPLATTERHOUSE'."
  • Tragic Monster: Jennifer transformed into a monster is a boss you have to kill in the first game.
  • Video-Game Lives: In the first two games.
  • Villain Protagonist: In the first game, Rick is dressed like a hospital patient. This is because originally, he was supposed to be an escaped psycho chasing Jennifer. Him being a standard good guy and her actual boyfriend was a case of last-minute Executive Meddling.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss of the 2010 game is a demon that can heal himself and others, is capable of shaking off your combos, and can't be killed by anything else than a Splatterkill.
  • Wham Line:
    • The Terror Mask delivers this gem in the third game after the Evil One's defeat.
    Terror Mask: Good job Rick! Now I can rule the world...
    • One of West's narrations in Phase 9: The Ruined Heart, in the reboot seriously calls into question how long the Terror Mask has been manipulating people.
    "For as I lay on the threshold to the eternal abyss, an angel spoke to me. His message - 'She doesn't have to die.'"
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Remake Rick expresses sympathy for the monsters he's fighting in the game at times, while the Mask revels in each of their deaths.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The first boss of the first game is a group of overgrown leeches that attack in rapid succession from all sides.
  • Womb Level: The sixth level on the first game; also a Scrappy Level, because of the millions of fetuses that continuously spawn from the walls. The boss of the stage is a giant pulsating heart fittingly named "Mother".
    • In the remake, most of the interiors of the House in many levels are fleshy and alive. There are also the "Mouth Guardians" (gigantic living maws that you must feed with monsters), Eye Guardians (Gigantic eyes) and the nucleus of the House, which this time is a gigantic heart.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Well, this example counts more as "Spriting Around Trademarks". In the arcade version of the first game, the Terror Mask resembles the symbolic hockey mask of Jason Voorhees; in the TurboGrafx-16 port, Namco changed the color to red to likely prevent a lawsuit. The sequels returned the color of the mask to white(-ish), but altered the mask's design to be more skull-like.
    • As a Shout-Out to this, one of the DLC masks in the 2010 game is a red hockey mask appropriately called the "Retro Hockey Mask".


Video Example(s):


"...And He Took Your Life."

Rick Taylor is dying, and his beloved has been abducted. His only chance for survival is with a cursed mask...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DownerBeginning

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