Friday the 13th – Nintendo Style – By Danny Runion

The
Atari 2600 version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre has you control
Leatherface trying to mow down those pesky dirty hippies who have
invaded your property. Halloween had you as Jamie Lee Curtis
being chased by the Shatner-mask clad Michael Meyers. Are you
ready to battle the 8-bit gory, I mean glory of Jason Vorhees?

This game is nowhere in the annals of say Splatterhouse when it comes
to gore. This is a surprisingly tame game. It wouldn’t be
expected to have anything like the infamous Kevin Bacon throat arrow or
any mid nookie impalings. The Castlevania games have more
horrific elements than Friday the 13th. Nintendo was able to
learn from some of the mistakes of Atari that led to Custer’s
Revenge. Nintendo was able to control the licensing of games to
prevent adult games unlike the Atari 2600.

Friday the 13th is one of the more infamous 8-bit Nintendo games.
A certain age group has almost universally heard of it. The
biggest shame is that the game isn’t anywhere as bad as some of the
other LJN games. LJN Games had quite a list of bad games like
Back to the Future, Jaws, Wolverine, and X-Men.

It’s a pretty typical summer at Crystal Lake. There’s a group of happy
children staying in the Camp. You and your six Camp Counselor friends
are watching over the kids while enjoying the lake and the wilderness.
The days are bright and sunny. The nights are cool and clear. And Jason
is on a rampage.

It’s
up to you to stop him, but it’s not going to be easy. You must first
fight your way through forests filled with man-eating wolves, caves
covered with blood sucking bats and hordes of mindless zombies
everywhere you turn. You must also help any friend who is in
danger, or else you can just kiss them goodbye. And hiding in a cabin
or staying adrift in a canoe won’t keep you safe – Jason will find you
anywhere. The only way to survive this summer is to challenge Jason
face to face, and destroy him.

The counselors wander around to a lot of cabins and light the
fireplaces. The cabin walls better look pretty good to you
because after a while you’ll be circling around those cabins unable to
find the door.

Apparently, this camp has plenty of weapons scattered over the
grounds. Knives, torches, machetes, and pitchforks can do a lot
of damage. If you can find his mother’s sweater, he won’t attack
you. It is nice to see they took some ideas from several of the
Friday the 13th movies. Too bad, you can’t get a straight razor
to shave yourself bald to imitate Corey Feldman.

Numerous zombies crawl out of the ground seeking to dismember a batch
of annoying teenagers. A number of zombies leap from the lake to
imitate their undead master: Jason.
Wolves, vultures, and bats are under the thrall of Jason.
Eventually, Jason’s mother’s head flies around to attack you. Yes, a
severed head will try to kill you. If the counselors
can keep their wits long enough to gather good enough weapons they may be able to face down the hockey masked clad lunatic.

Keeping
healthy isn’t the only purpose. You must also protect the kids at
the camp, too. The health power-ups are jars of vitamins
scattered across the camp. The game ends if all the counselors
are killed or if all the kids are. While a counselor is roaming
around Crystal Lake, the others counselors are defenseless and easy
pickings for a certain super strong maniac. Each of the
counselors needs to be checked on every so often to insure their
survival. Switching counselors also helps to save on the endless
amount of walking from one side of the forest to the other.

Apparently, the only wholesome teenage camp counselors in the world are
going to get rid of Jason once and for all. It will take 3 days
to rid the camp of Jason. You must kill him 3 times. Each
time, he gets even stronger and harder to kill. While the ending
isn’t like the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre game with Leatherface
getting his butt kicked by some pesky teenagers, the Friday the 13th
ending is nearly as anti-climactic with the patent pending twist ending
included.

Well, some consider this to be an excellent game. However, others
hold a slightly higher opinion of it than the E.T. game for the Atari
2600. Friday the 13th may not have been tied back by the today’s
video game ratings. 8-bit graphics aren’t exactly known for
hardcore gore graphics or even horror graphics for that matter.
The Nintendo is capable of graphics that would at least be several
gruesome degrees beyond most of its competition from the 80s. By
making the game less gruesome, it is sure to have kept down on any
negative publicity. It does seem if going to cash in on the
background of Friday the 13th, it should at least have the guts to keep
up the violence.