Everybody loves a machete-wielding protagonist, right? And we all love NES, right? Well, we’ll see how the NES classic does and you might not have to answer that because the second game in the Splatterhouse series combines the two of them. And it does so in a comical fashion in Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti.
Splatterhouse is a series of violent beat ‘em up video games featuring a deadly weapon-wielding protagonist powered by a Terror Mask. The games are also full of references to well-known horror films. I know what you are thinking: a gory and violent game with someone controlled by a terror mask on the NES? How is that possible for the NES and the standards that Nintendo enforced on their games at the time? Well, it wasn’t. First things first, Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is actually a Famicom game. And this iteration of the series is not bloody or gory.
The protagonist in Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is also not a big bruiser like in the others. This time around, the characters are more of a super-deformed set of characters. The enemies are much more cartoony and the main character is borderline chibi style with the size of his mask-bearing head. He still carries around a giant machete, but when the characters just disappear or drop pieces of candy, it doesn’t come off nearly as violent. The candy is also how he heals. Well, that and soda.
The villains are mostly pretty cartoonish despite a few stages where the opponents are creepier. You will run across things bursting from chests and possessed turkeys as well as flying chainsaws. But at the same time, you will find a Dracula-styled vampire that does the thriller dance before you fight him as the first level boss. It is very up and down in some ways, but the tone never stays dark for very long.
The game is also relatively short with only about a half dozen levels. However, in true 8-bit style, you likely won’t beat it on one play through. The characters are punishing enough and the health drops are limited enough, that it should take at least a few times playing through to beat. You do get continues, but you probably won’t make it through on an initial set of continues unless you are recently practiced in platformers of the era. Those who fondly remember the platformers of the era will be satisfied with the feel of it, but not impressed by the difficulty of the platforming. All of this while probably dying more times than expected.
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti Overall
All that said, if you were familiar with NES era gameplay, you’d probably finish this in 45 minutes of gameplay. That is the one weakness, it is a little too easy and short once you get familiar with it. It would be nice if it were a bit longer. It does, however replay quite well. I highly recommend playing it a little for a few laughs and light gameplay.