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Friday the 13th(NES) Review

When you hear the phrase “Friday the 13th”, what comes to mind? “Ooh, it’s a bad luck day! Better stay inside and soak in mashed potatoes to ward off all the negative luck!”…FUCK NO! You think of Jason Voorhees! The ever-awesome, unstoppable super zombie who constantly kills half-naked, stoner campers in all of his movies! The Friday the 13th franchise is still very popular these days and is still a constant subject of pop culture veterans out there. However, even a franchise has a bit of a…taint to it. Back in February of 1989, the wonderful people at LJN gave us gamers a video game based on the movies…and we were essentially boned three-ways from Sunday…with an axe and a very colorful background…

Hmm…yes…I remember playing the absolute hell out of this game with my younger brother, Nico. Of course at the time, we had NO fucking clue on what to do. Because we were fans of the series(and still are), it didn’t matter because we were playing a Friday the 13th game! But, now the game is…well…still fun, but it has its shitty moments. Now, I know most of you will reference James Rolfe’s(Angry Video Game Nerd)review on the game, but here is a review from someone different for a change and who isn’t a complete sell-out.

In the game, you control one of six camp counselors(each with varying levels of speed and jumping ability)in a side-scrolling perspective. The counselors start with an arcing rock attack…yes, you fight Jason with a fucking rock at times. Anyway, the goal is to find and defeat Jason three times. Of course, three times might seem like such a small amount, but I promise you…he is no bitch and gets much harder. Along the paths, players will find cabins, a lake, caves and wooded areas with all but the cabins having enemies such as zombies, crows, and wolves attacking the player. Now, I may have a bit of a crappy memory, but I don’t seem to recall zombies, wolves and fucking crows attacking people in the movies…thanks LJN! Players may upgrade their weapon upon finding a new one. Yeah, you get other stuff other than rocks! Let’s see, I believe you get a knife, machete, axe, torch and a pitchfork…which looks ridiculous when you throw it, by the way. During gameplay, a timed alarm appears at certain intervals, requiring players to find Jason before he kills one or more children or another counselor. you read that right, he will kill kids…something he’s actually never done. A kid killed HIM at one point(Tommy Jarvis, Lol!) but he isn’t Freddy Krueger, so he has some fucking decency. Using the map, players must navigate their way to Jason’s location or switch to the counselor being attacked and defeat him. Which sucks a lot of the times, because you could be carrying a pimping new pitchfork and the other counselor could be carrying a rock…a dirt rock. If they do not make it there in time, Jason will kill the counselors or some of the children in true Jason fashion. Should all the kids die or all the playable counselors die, you are treated with the most straight-to-the-point game over screen, ever…

However, there is indeed a method to this madness. With a lot of planning, timing and patience(Something new gamers lack nowadays), you can conquer this game. But, getting into the basics of things you do indeed have to kill Jason 3 times. But, there are things you can do during the course of the game that will assist you in said goal. For one, lighting all the fireplaces in the bigger cabins will net you a flashlight and/or a torch. Searching some of the smaller cabins will yield better weapons or medicine used to heal counselors who have felt Jason’s wrath on more than one occasion and lived. Now, fighting Jason is a different level altogether. You will occasionally come across him on the walk to a location or in a cabin when you show up to rescue the other counselors and kids there. These encounters are called “Path Fight” and “House Fight”.

Now, the Path Fight is set-up like your typical NES game boss fight: Boss on right trying to kill you; you on left trying like fuck to survive and beat said boss’s ass. Typical, right? The House Fights are a bit different. They are set-up something like Punch Out!! but with all the goofy sounds taken away. Jason tends to move in a set pattern, and you can juke his ass or move left and right all the while hitting him whenever there is an opening. He randomly has a weapon(Either axe or machete) in his hand, which will effect his overall damage…of course the two weapons he uses look like a damn hairbrush and turkey baster…8-bit graphics at its best, kids! Oh, and did I mention that while you are traversing the caves and forest, you will come across a cabin with a locked door…and inside said cabin is none other than Jason’s mother, Pamela Vorhees. No, she isn’t waiting with cookies or something, you have to fight her…and she is a giant, Medusa-looking floating head…I’m not making this shit up, look…

Oh, and she is much more of an annoyance than her son is. But, when you boot her ass into orbit, you will either get a powerful weapon(Axe or pitchfork) or depending on the day in the game,her sweater…which will confuse Jason and significantly reduce the amount of damage the counselor wearing the thing will take. So, it’s plain to see that LJN really expanded on the simplicity of the movies by expanding them onto this game. I won’t lie to you people, Friday the 13th is regarded as one of the worse games of all time. Of course that’s arguable and strictly based on opinion. Personally, I think the worst game ever made was SaGa Frontier, but that’s just me. Honestly, I think they should give us a game where you play as Jason and you have to kill the counselors in the most stylish ways possible. I mean come on, if they can make a game about a psychotic teddy killing his neighbors or put Freddy Krueger in Mortal fucking Kombat, why can’t they do something like that for poor ol’ Jason? Fan service, you bastards!

In closing, I think everyone should expose themselves to this game sooner or later. I mean, yeah it’s 8-bit and all but it’s something entertaining to play on a horror game night or out of shear boredom. While as goofy as the game is, it’s actually very challenging. Some might say this game gave birth to the survival-horror genre…to which I bitch-slap them because that’s not true. Some people like the game so much they’ve actually managed to “jump into the game”, like my brother for example:

….Well, at least he didn’t forget his smokes.

Until next episode…

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