A Look Back At The 'Friday The 13th' Video Game For The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
By Carlo Carrasco
Entering a cabin brings out a 3D-like exploration effect and players can look around by changing directions and moving closer to places until they find the person to save. And then all of sudden, a shocking moment happens when Jason himself is encountered. Immediately, a fight with him happens (which resembles Punch-Out!!! somewhat) and if the player manages to beat him, things will calm down but it is clear that Jason would be back. In fact, encounters with Jason become more frequent (even during the side-scrolling). After beating Jason in a cabin, lighting the fireplaces will serve as a weird form of preventing Jason from coming back and this means more protection for the kid or counselor saved. Once done, the exploration and search for items resumes. Eventually, the players will go through many other places like the forest and the caves and sadly the experience of this game becomes even more frustrating. The controls are not that responsive, the map changes direction, changing characters is always disadvantages (note: you lose your items), the monsters are plenty and are tough to beat, and throwing rocks has that arching effect that cause overshooting (note: get the in-game knife). By the time players get to fight Jason’s mother (not a good idea for a console popular with kids) or have that final encounter with Jason, tons of frustration would have taken their toll.
Friday the 13th is ultimately a terrible and frustrating game to play. It clearly is a big waste of time for most players and I would not recommend it event to the most diehard (or most nostalgic) Jason/Friday the 13th fan. With the exception of the first encounter with Jason, the game is not really scary. This brings me to my next point. Considering the technology and talented game designers available today, it is possible to make a good, respectful and relevant video game about Friday the 13th. In my view, a 3rd-person shooter-type (over-the-shoulder angle) video game done much in the style of 2010's Alan Wake (developed by Remedy Games) is the way to go. It can be a shooter-type of game that's not too heavy on shooting yet laced with a good amount of horror and suspense. Of course, Jason should be the villain not the protagonist.