(Namco Bandai for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
Splatterhouse, the late ’80’s action horror series of games that originated on the TurboGrafx-16, is an excellent choice for a 2010 revival. Not because its primitive 2D gameplay was sorely missed, but because it nailed the creepy horror movie vibe of cursed masks, haunted mansions, and buckets of over-the-top gore. And the remake doesn’t disappoint. The screen drowns in blood as you guide your beefy bonecrusher on a journey that makes Ninja Gaiden II look like Kinectimals. Creepy throwback horror music, denim shorts and high-top sneakers, possessed dolls: The developers did a fine job recreating that memorable atmosphere while crafting solid gameplay to match. As good as the game is, it does have the tendency to throw up frustrating barriers to your progress too often, from sketchy platforming sections (in 2D and 3D) to poor checkpoint placement. None of these problems are deal-breakers, though, ’cause there’s just too much good stuff here: A bruising modern metal soundtrack, an arena mode that’s actually fun (slaughtering mutants to the sounds of the The Haunted never gets old), and the lynchpin to any successful horror tale: Gratuitous nudity. Here’s hoping that this franchise re-animation is here to stay.