Splatterhouse was a single-player side-scrolling beat-em-up game released in Japanese arcades in 1988 by Namco. Japanese ports followed on the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine in 1990, FM Towns in 1992, and PC in 2003. Splatterhouse 2 in 1992, Splatterhouse 3 in 1993 and a Splatterhouse 3D remake in 2010 followed with worldwide releases, but failed to capture the magic of the original. So far so good, but what's it doing on an Evil Dead fansite? Well there are a few reasons; Splatterhouse was one of the first truly gory arcade or home games, and for a few years, was probably the most violent. It has a number of direct influences from the Evil Dead films; including disembodied attacking heads & hands, re-animated wall mounted stag heads, and perhaps most infamously, Piggy Man - a boss with chainsaws for hands. Finally, it was a major personal influence and a fond childhood memory, which is the main reason for it's inclusion here.

Most outside of Japan will not have played the original game at the time of its release, although it's now widely available online through arcade emulators. My brother managed to get his hands on an imported PC Engine around 1991, it had a number of games including Parodius, Devil's Crash, and of course Splatterhouse. While the PC Engine port wasn't arcade pixel-perfect, it was still an excellent rendition, and one of my earliest horror memories. The game's storyline is as follows;

Two college students, Rick Taylor and Jennifer Willis, take refuge from a storm in West Mansion, a local landmark known as 'Splatterhouse' for the rumours of hideous experiments purportedly conducted there by Dr. West, a renowned and missing parapsychologist. nearby, the two are attacked by demonic creatures that drag Jennifer inside and fatally wound Rick, leaving him for dead.

Rick awakens in the dungeon of the mansion to discover that he is still alive thanks to the 'Terror Mask'; a Mayan sacrificial artefact capable of sentient thought. Fused to his face, the mask transforms him into a monster with superhuman strength, allowing Rick to battle through seven levels of gory terror, to rescue Jennifer and escape the mansion alive!

Rick can jump, kick and punch, as well as pick up and use various weapons placed in the levels. There's a meat cleaver, which you can use to decapitate zombies (and then watch the slime spout like a geyser out of their necks as they collapse), a two by four which you can use to smack zombies into the wall, wrenches, stones, harpoons, shotguns, and an axe.

A Japanese acrade promo flyer for Splatterhouse (1988)

The bosses are typically diabolical, such as a room full of rotting meat with giant leeches which jump out and attack you. The stage two boss is a room possessed by a poltergeist with literally every object in the room attacking you. My favourite in the whole game is at the end of stage three; Piggy Man (although you may also see it mistranslated from the Japanese ピギーマン, as Biggy Man, Boggy Man, or Boggy Giant, depending on the source), he's a large, skinless humanoid creature with a sack tied over his head and chainsaws for hands.

PC screenshot - gore in level 2 with the cleaver
PC screenshot - the infamous Piggy Man (aka Biggy Man)

The 2003 PC release was probably the best version available. It's a pixel perfect port exact to every last detail, including the time limit on each level. It's graphically pretty much the best because the arcade version running through a MAME emulator has a resolution of 320x240, as does the PC Engine port. The PC version is in 640x480 with all the audio in uncompressed WAV format. While piracy is illegal, the chances of anyone outside Japan finding a PC copy on Ebay is virtually nil. This copy was picked up in Japan courtesy of a good friend and mailed over. With that in mind, you can download the PC version below;

PC version booklet front & back cover
PC version CD case back cover

Download Splatterhouse Japanese Windows 95/98/98SE/ME/2000/XP Game
(363MB, with ISO CD image, instructions & 600dpi full artwork scans)

Please Note: we don't wish to tread on anyone's toes, simply to preserve rare & older material for future fans. If there are still any
copyright holders out there would rather anything here was not included, please send over an email, and it'll be immediately removed.
It is also preferred that the ISO version of the game hosted here is not shared around publicly on other sites or Peer-2-Peer networks.

Within this ZIP file you'll find a 1:1 CD image called SPLATTER_HOUSE.ISO, which was made from an original copy of the game using IMGBurn (but it can be burnt using any CD burning software). For this you'll need one CD-R. Getting it to work can be a bit of a game, as Windows doesn't seem to like Japanese characters in file or folder names, plus this 2003 release of the game is getting on a bit too. To install, autorun the CD and go though the setup process (which takes a little guesswork, it's all in Japanese). Then instead of running 'splatter.exe' in the game's installed root folder (which will come up with error after error) run 'splatter.exe' located in the DISK_1 folder of the install CD, and it then runs fine, although it will take about 20 seconds to start. This works on both Windows XP & Windows 7 64-bit without any additional fiddling needed. You can find complete scans of the cover, booklet, CD, and OBI in the 'Scans' folder, and for anyone who is interested, all the game's audio content is stored in WAV format in the DISK_1\SOUND folder of the CD.

PC screenshot - level 1's boss; rotting meat & giant leeches
PC screenshot - the boss of level 5, formerly Jennifer

Working out the controls can also be a bit tricky, as again all the menu options and help files are in Japanese. There doesn't seem to be an option to use a joypad, but there are some other settings in the top menus if you can work them out. The default keyboard controls are as follows;

Move Left
Move Up

Move Down

Move Right


Shows the help website
(which is all in Japanese)
Resets the game
Gives you more credits
(up to a maximum of 9)
Pauses the game
Starts a one player game
Toggles fullscreen or
windowed mode
Starts a two player game
(but that doesn't do anything)
Toggles the sound on/off
Holding ALT and hitting F4 closes the game
Holding ALT and hitting O will open
one of the Japanese text top menus,
then hit one of the following...

(stretched to
your monitor)

Fullscreen with
instructions correcting
AR for WS monitors

at 640x480

at 320x240

A lot of little touches help make Splatterhouse the fantastic game it is: hanging corpses that vomit on you, strange slime creatures inhabiting the sewers, severed hands which chase you, diverging pathways in certain parts of the game, anime-style skull-toting female ghosts that shriek when you punch them, and a general B-horror movie feel to the whole thing. If you want to read more about the Splatterhouse games, check out the excellent and highly detailed fansite West Mansion - The Splatterhouse Homepage, the definitive source on all things Splatterhouse, which has been going since 2001.

Splatterhouse Japanese arcade cabinet instruction card 1
Splatterhouse Japanese arcade cabinet instruction card 2