Warning: Do not let your children play this game. Do not play this game or read this review if copious amounts of blood, dismemberment or foul language offends or disgusts you.

“Splatterhouse” is a single-player game that may have been mistakenly rated mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Why they didn’t rate it adults only is beyond me.

I haven’t experienced this much blood in a video game since I used a chainsaw to excavate through the innards of the giant “Dune” worm in “Gears of War 2.” You’d be hard pressed to get a screen shot from “Splatterhouse” where the screen isn’t filled with blood, including the menus.

“Splatterhouse” hasn’t done well with the critics thus far. The popular review aggregate website lists the game as having a score of 59-62, depending on the console, out of 100. Yet, user rankings are at 74.

I must be more of a user than a critic. I loved the game in all of its morbid glory and despite its less than perfect controls and gameplay.

“Splatterhouse” is a third-person button mashing, beat-’em-up game with some side-scrolling levels to pay homage to its 1988 ancestor with the same name.

The concept of it is pretty simple. You put on a demonic, talking mask that changes your character named Rick, a scrawny geek, into a hulking killer. Then you commence to bludgeon inter-dimensional monsters into bits and pieces in order to save your kidnapped girlfriend from an evil necrobiologist. All of that is done while the mask narrates your travels through time and dimensions with extreme vulgarity. In other words, it’s more realistic than (insert name of any MTV reality show here).

The story is pretty good. There are enough weird twists and wicked turns to keep its target audience compelled and properly shocked.

The controls are simple enough. You move around with the left thumb stick and control the camera with the right. Camera control is only needed during the occasional awkward camera angle moments. Attacks are initiated with the buttons and triggers modify attacks, movements, blocks and special powers.

As with most games of this type, special powers are charged and upgrades can be purchased by collecting some form of in-game currency. “Splatterhouse’s” currency consists of — you guessed it — blood.

Throughout the game, you can pick up weapons of opportunity like two-by-fours, oversized meat cleavers and body parts. Should your arm happen to get ripped off, why not pick it up and beat the life out of whomever or whatever ripped it off?

As Rick receives damage, chunks of flesh are stripped away exposing bone, muscle and blood. This is an indicator of how much life Rick has left. The flesh will heal, and arms will even grow back over time if further damage is avoided.

The game also features some platforming and simple flip-a-switch gameplay. The platforming needs a lot of polishing, and there isn’t much in the form of puzzles.

To get the most out of this game, you should purchase as many combo attacks as possible and try to implement them into your gameplay assault. They aren’t needed so much for success as they are to break up the bashing and bloodletting.

This game is not for everyone. There isn’t enough gameplay challenge or mechanics to satisfy the video game purist, but you will enjoy this game if you like the visceral carnage of movies like “Saw.”

If you decide to cross the line of morality and play this game, make sure you say at least 10 “Hail Mary’s” and five “Our Father’s” after completion.

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3


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