The Splatterhouse franchise began in 1989, with the release of Splatterhouse in the arcades. The game has since been ported to numerous platforms, including the FM Towns, Turbo-Grafx 16, Virtual Console and iPhone. The Splatterhouse franchise has also had several sequels (usually numerical), ranging from Splatterhouse 2, Splatterhouse 3, and a remake, to an obscure super-deformed Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti. The Splatterhouse franchise is owned by Namco, with every game in the franchise both developed and published by them. Splatterhouse is infamous for its incredibly violent gameplay. One level in the first Splatterhouse even had the player battling against undeveloped fetuses coming out of a mutant womb. Because of this, most of the Splatterhouse games created before the founding of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) carried a parental warning sticker.
Splatterhouse is a traditional beat-'em-up franchise, along the same lines as Final Fight or Streets of Rage. The first four games have nearly identical gameplay; each one of them is a 2D side-scrolling beat-'em-up, with the player killing monsters with a variety of weapons. In addition, the player has many attacks for disposal, from a traditional punch to a drop kick. The series stars Rick Taylor (who has been in every game), a man who has been cursed by wearing the Terror Mask (sometimes referred to as the Hell Mask). This mask is very similar to that of Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th (which was editing in Turbo-Grafx 16 iterations of the franchise).
The 2010 Splatterhouse is similar to previous iterations in that it retains the violence of its predecessors, but the gameplay differs. Rather than a 2D side-scrolling beat-'em-up, Splatterhouse is a 3D beat-'em-up. Rick now has even more moves at his disposal (including special Splatter Attacks, which he can use as violent finishers on downed enemies). Rick has also been shown in screenshots to have the ability to decapitate enemies (Rick can also be decapitated himself, but these limbs eventually grow back). Combos are a large part of gameplay in this game; more moves strung together are more powerful.
The plot of the Splatterhouse franchise revolves around a mansion. Rick Taylor and his girlfriend Jennifer Willis visit this mansion (nicknamed Splatterhouse) for a school project. In this mansion, there is rumored to live an insane parapsychologist named Dr. West who has conducted many bizarre and violent experiments based on his field. When the two students visit the mansion, Jennifer ends up kidnapped, and Rick has to fight his way through hordes of enemies to get her back. In the first Splatterhouse, the mask that Rick is forced to wear breaks at the end, but Jennifer ends up dying. In Splatterhouse 2, Rick returns to the mansion to try and revive Jennifer. He manages to do so, and the two get married in Splatterhouse 3. He then buys a mansion of his own, which is invaded by monsters. He must fight to save his son. The game Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is a prequel to the first Splatterhouse, although it is unknown whether or not the events of that game are canon. The 2010 Splatterhouse is a retelling of the original Splatterhouse's story.