Gaming History 101

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Retro Game Night: Splatterhouse

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This week Fred is playing two versions of Splatterhouse.  The first is the US Turbografx-16 port of the Japanese arcade title, slightly modified to avoid lawsuits in regards to lead character Rick’s similarity to Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.  The second was only released in Japan on the Famicom (NES) due possibly to some even more obvious legal concerns.  It was titled Wanpaku Graffiti.  Enjoy!

Written by Fred Rojas

October 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

Review: Splatterhouse 2

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Splatterhouse_2Console: Sega Genesis (Mega Drive in Europe/Japan)
Released: 1992
Developer: Now Production
Publisher: Namco
Digital Release? Yes – Wii Virtual Console (US/Japan only), also as an unlockable on the 2010 Splatterhouse on 360/PS3
Price: $35 (used, cart only), $87-$105 (used, complete), No known New pricing (all prices according to PriceCharting.com), $8 (VC), $4-10 (used 360/PS3 copies of 2010’s Splatterhouse)

Now I remember very fondly getting this game with my brothers when we were younger. My dad deliberately chose it for us because of the title since he was a fan of horror and gore. A game, whether brand new or pre-owned, in our household was rarer than a UFO sighting when we were younger so we  relished in any game thrown at us. Splatterhouse 2 shared a special place in our little hearts.

splatterhouse_2_1The story of Splatterhouse 2 will depend on your familiarity with the first game released in arcades and the TurboGrafx-16.  The basic plot is you are Rick and you have a mask which looks a lot like the Jason Voorhees hockey mask (he was the killer in the Friday the 13th series) and your job is to rescue your girlfriend, Jennifer.  The mask is known as the “terror mask” or “hell mask” depending which version of the game you own. The mask gives you super powers and also sort of possess you as it talks to you during small cutscenes between levels.

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Written by jamalais

June 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

Day 10

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On the tenth day of Christmas my memories gave to me…

10 Turbografx-16 Cards!

I know the picture has more than 10 games, but I just recently found a bunch of old Turbografx-16 games from my youth and I don’t have all of the original “big 10”, sue me.  Back in 1992 Toys R Us decided it was high time to get rid of the Turbografx-16 and clearance priced both the console and the games.  I’m fairly certain the console dropped down to $49.99 and I know the games were all $9.99.  I had no idea what the heck a Turbografx-16 was but the graphics definitely looked like Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo so I grabbed it and five games for Christmas.  This was an even bigger deal when you consider that my Toys R Us only had 10 games for the console.  I was hoping that I could find other stores or places downtown (I lived in a suburb of Chicago) but to no avail.  After two weeks of searching I finally gave up and decided to ask for the other five games for my birthday to at least have my strong 10 game collection.

That ended up being one of the most worthwhile Christmas gifts I could have possibly asked for.  The back of the box was adorned with games I had never heard of, like Bloody Wolf, that looked absolutely amazing.  Unfortunately, I was limited to just the 10 games I could find but many of those were gems of the console: Keith Courage in Alpha Zones (pack-in), Legendary Axe, Splatterhouse, Devil’s Crush, Pac-Land, Vigilante, Aeroblasters, Bonk’s Adventure, Victory Run, and of course J.J. & Jeff made up my collection.  Being only ten years old and getting my hands on a game like Splatterhouse, an action title where your character looks like Jason from the Friday the 13th series and explores a haunted house, I was blown away.  Additionally the Turbografx-16 had a strong Japanese influence, so all games looked very cartoony and covered topics like graphic violence and adult situations.

I spent most of 1993 playing Turbografx-16 at home, but with my obsession with Mortal Kombat for Christmas the next year, my Genesis became the main console of my life after that.  For the longest time the Turbografx-16 remained a vague memory gathering dust in my closet (much like my Wii was a year ago).  I ended up selling off the console in college but the box containing my games remained untouched in my parent’s basement, which had more than tripled by the time I was 20.  I recently found the games and picked up a used Turbografx-16 and upon that first boot-up of Keith Courage in Alpha Zones it was like being a kid again.  I had no idea what a great part of gaming history I had stumbled upon for Christmas ’92.

<- Go back to the ninth day                                      Go on to the eleventh day ->

Halloween Rarities

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I’m really into lucrative titles, especially when they are about Halloween or horror.  For the most part these games are classic titles from the past that you have either never played or never had a chance to play.  On the plus side, thanks to rom¹ hacks and translations, you can easily find any of these games to play on an emulator.  While I don’t condone piracy, nothing in this list was released in the US save for one title so for a single play to see what you’re missing I feel there’s no harm, especially since you have no other option.  I cannot link any of these roms directly, but feel free to search for “(title of game) rom” on Google and you shouldn’t have any problems.  Without further ado, here’s the list of great Halloween games you’ve probably never played.

Sweet Home (Suīto Hōmu) – Famicom – 1989

Considered by some to be the original version of Resident Evil, Sweet Home is actually a licensed game based on a movie of the same name.  It was developed by Capcom and produced by RE producer Shinji Mikami, who later admitted that Resident Evil began as a remake of Sweet Home.  For many modern gamers, RE is a tough sell with its fixed camera angles, blurry graphics and tank² controls.  If this describes you, then Sweet Home may be the outdated choice for you.  Although developed on the Famicom there is a surprising number of similarities with RE on the Playstation.

Even in 8-bit, the mansion holds that eerie feel

When you change rooms the all-too-familiar door opening animation will escort you through.  The inventory system and puzzles will ring extremely familiar for those that explored the mansion as Chris or Jill.  In fact, the big spooky mansion is probably the most distinguishing similarity, although instead of a biological outbreak it’s merely haunted by the ghost of Lady Mamiya.  And even though it’s technically a survival horror title, the game plays much more like a classic Japanese role playing game (JRPG) with random Final Fantasy-like battles.  If you’ve always wanted to explore a haunted house JRPG style, check this one out, especially considering the decent english translation making the rounds.

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