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Level 1
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Level 1)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 17, 2011   |   Episode 14 (Show Archive)  

   

Welcome to Level 1. Every week we look at a random game's very first level. It doesn't matter what kind of game it is or what system it's for -- we're here to dissect the game's first level and see what it tells us about the rest of the game. I promise you an eye-opening experience in each episode! Forget magic potions, guns and a protective suit, the only thing you're going to need to need this week is blood axe. This is Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, a rare famicom game you probably haven't played. It may be 8-bit, but I suggest you bring some hand sanitizer when we fight through another exciting episode of Level 1!

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Namco)
[ Release: 1989 - Console: Nintendo Famicom ]
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Famicom)
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Famicom)
Splatterhouse was Namco's response to the hack 'n slash movies of the 1980s. Even though other companies tried turning A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th into interactive entertainment, it was Splatterhouse that ended up doing it the best. With its mountains of goo, bloody corpses and disgusting boss battles, this 1989 arcade game was like catnip for teenage boys. The game would eventually get a TurboGrafx-16 release, as well as two Genesis sequels. It's also worth noting that Namco finally released a current-gen reboot last year, though it fizzled out with both critics and consumers.

Today we're going to take a look at the rarest of the Splatterhouse games, Wanpaku Graffiti. This Famicom game was only releasing in Japan, though the action is accessible enough for all audiences. It's your basic 2D hack 'n slash, the type of game you've seen and played a million times before. This game picks up right after the events of Splatterhouse 1, but a working knowledge of the TurboGrafx-16 title won't be necessary when digging into this game.

Level 1-1 - Graveyard: I rise from my grave. Wait a second ... what am I doing in a grave? Isn't this the beginning of a brand new adventure? I think hard about what just happened: I remember my girlfriend being kidnapped, a mask getting permanently attached to my face
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Graveyard!
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Graveyard!
and, oh, that's right, I guess I did die at the end of that adventure. That must be why my girlfriend is now crying over my grave. I guess I really let everybody down. What a way to start this brand new 8-bit game.

But wait, that lightning strike seems to have brought me back to life. And better yet, it has uncovered my incredibly shallow grave. I'm back, baby!! Speaking of which, my girlfriend is overjoyed; she's literally jumping up and down with excitement. I tell
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Graveyard!
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Graveyard!
her to stop. We already know what happens when we get too cocky -- it's a straight trip to a shallow grave. And just as I predicted, an evil flying pumpkin escapes the next cemetery plot next to me and kidnaps that girl. I guess I'm off on another adventure to save her. Now if only I could remember her name.

As I gear up for my adventure I discover a hatchet just lying around. This will come in handy when I try to save Sarah ... or is it Rebecca? Whatever, all I know is that I need to get through this graveyard alive and hacking and slashing seems to be the only way to achieve that goal. Thankfully my exit is just ahead of me. Too bad it's being guarded by a bunch of blue zombies and spike pits. Seriously, who thinks that spike pits are a good idea when you're trying to preserve the memory of a loved one?

The Sub-Boss - Dancing Dracula: As I jump over the rocks and open caskets, I am met by a large landing pad for a helicopter. At least, that's what I think it is. It has lights surrounding it and a spot for chopper to land. But why would anybody ever want to land in the middle of a graveyard? Clearly
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Dancing Dracula
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Dancing Dracula
that's the normal protocol. I would hate to find out what kind of emergency requires flying a body directly to a cemetery, but apparently this graveyard is prepared for all scenarios.

I rest for a few moments and try to catch my breath. This being alive thing is really hard on my semi-decomposed body (they couldn't resurrect me a few weeks ago?). I hear a noise. I turn around and discover a large man dressed as Dracula is ... dancing? I guess this landing pad really is designed for every scenario. After pulling off some
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Haunted Mansion
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Haunted Mansion
impressive dance moves, this man in black decides to throw blue zombies my way. I quickly make waste of these push-overs, which forces this legendary vampire to run. Coward!

Level 1-2 - Haunted Mansion: Dracula may have been easy to conquer, but I doubt I'll ever be able to scrub that catchy tune from my brain. Death is becoming more tolerable with each step I take. But I must push on, if only for the sake of Christine ... or was it Caitlin? Damn, what was
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Haunted Mansion
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Haunted Mansion
her name? I spent a whole game trying to save her; you would think she would be more important than that. Whatever, I need to save her and my instincts are suggesting I go through that creepy mansion just ahead of the helicopter landing pad.

Oh yeah, I remember this kind of haunted house. It's this kind of haunted mansion that's really killing the housing market. Who is going to buy this kind of dump? There are spikes jutting out of the floor, wild animals running amok and windows that won't stay shut. I do not envy the amount of work some young realtor will have to do fixing
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Possessed Bookcase
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Possessed Bookcase
this up and selling it. That's the kind of interesting story I would enjoy playing. How great would it be to play the innocent hourly employee that has to repaint this hallway? He would constantly be fending off ghosts and bitching that he's not getting paid enough for this shit. That's the kind of game I would play. But what do I know, I'm dead?

The Sub-Boss - Possessed Bookcase: Just as I am getting sick of this hallway, a door opens up and ushers me inside. It's the library. At least, I think it's the library; there are only two book cases and a hamburger on the floor. I guess I was expecting more than two book cases from this posh mansion. I mean, everybody is dead, but usually people amass a lot more books than this. Hell, one of the cases appears to be completely empty. What a waste. As I approach second book shelf I realize that it's not empty ... IT'S POSSESSED!!

Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Possessed Bookcase
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Sub-Boss - Possessed Bookcase
No, that's not hyperbole; the bookshelf is literally spewing books at me. I swat a few of the flying books away, jumping over the rest. And then it dawns on me, I'm pretty good at dodging flying books. I had practice before I died, back when I was punching floating knives with my bare hands. Is it any wonder I ended up in a shallow grave?

The Boss - The Devil Doll: As I smack down my final book, a hidden door unlocks itself. Usually that's the kind of thing that would spook me, but I just battled a dancing Dracula and a possessed bookcase. I guess my tolerance for scary things is at an all-time
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Boss - The Devil Doll
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Boss - The Devil Doll
high. At least, that's what I thought before I busted through that door. OH MY GOD!! It's a creepy doll. And it's just sitting there ... doing nothing! I need to find cover; I need to get out of here. Somebody, get me out of here! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

I'm cowering in the corner, covering my eyes and hoping that it will all go away. But it doesn't. It just sits there mocking me. Out of the corner of my eye I see something -- the doll's head begins to move. Suddenly I get my
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Boss - The Devil Doll
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Boss - The Devil Doll
confidence back. What am I doing cowering in a corner afraid of some doll? I know how to take down this bitch! I stand up and brace for the fight. In the distance the lightning strikes and the doll changes color. Things just got real!

Out of nowhere chairs start flying at me and the doll's head pops right off. I have to do everything in my power to dodge the flying chairs while hitting this doll's head. All the while there seems to be an earthquake,
There are plenty more ghouls in the sea!
There are plenty more ghouls in the sea!
which probably has nothing to do with the constant lightning illuminating the world outside. This is the epic battle I expected and I am not disappointed. It takes a few swings, but I eventually slice that head in two. I managed to save the mansion from all of its ghostly inhabitants. At least, that's what I'm going to tell myself. In reality I barely investigated the scene. I'm sure it'll be fine.

What Have We Learned Today: I hate to say it, but maybe it's time for a new girlfriend. For starters, I barely remember this girl's name. I think it's Michelle, but even that doesn't sound right. Plus, she keeps getting kidnapped! Oh sure, the first time wasn't really her fault. We had car problems and neither of us knew this was a haunted mansion. By
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Level 2
Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti - Level 2
my sympathy only runs so deep, there's no excuse for her getting nabbed a second time. After being roughed up by all of the ghosts and goblins, she knew how dangerous that graveyard was. And to get led off by a floating pumpkin? That's just embarrassing. Yup, it's time to stop the madness and find a new girlfriend.

What Did We Miss: Stage two offers more of the same. We get more spikes, more wild animals and yes, more spooky lightning. We also get completely impractical
Oh Jason!
Oh Jason!
room designs. Why would any mansion require floating platforms? Whose bright idea was it to not connect all of the layers with stairs? And seriously, why is there no wall in this stage? Forget the monsters; it's the architecture in this mansion that is going to kill you. By the way, I don't understand how a two-story mansion has suddenly turned twelve stories tall. Maybe I should go back and ask that doll.

What Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th Says: "ENOUGH!! I can't take it anymore. I know that I'm supposed to be the scary/silent-type, but I've had enough of this fool's nonsense. He whines and cries about how books are being flung his way. GET OVER IT! I'm constantly being hunted by sinister teenagers. Oh sure, at least I get to get to kill a few druggies and naked women, but have you seen all of the gruesome ways they've tried to kill me? Hell, they shot me into space! Considering you stole your entire look from me, I say it's time to man-up and imitate me with some real passion! Either that or you and I are going to have a real uncomfortable face-to-face real soon!"
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