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Friday the 13th

© 1988 Paramount Pictures Corp.
Underlying Source Code © 1988 LJN Toys, Ltd.
Review by Kitsune Sniper

This is another one of LJN's attempts at making some easy money off of a popular movie franchise. Actually, I'm very surprised that Nintendo actually let them publish a game based on the cult horror movie of the same name, given all the things that well, happens in it.

I'm not quite sure, but I believe that the game is based on part one of the long-running series. If you're not familiar with the series, the story is this: Someone is terrifying the people in Crystal Lake Summer Camp. The camp counselors are being murdered, by a person named Jason Voorhees; it's up to the six camp counselors to stop Jason once and for all! More or less, the story remains the same until the very last movie, which took the myth of Jason Voorhees and gave it a very different angle.

Is he jumping or kneeling in the air? O_o

Anyway, I played this back in 1992, hoping to expect a decent game. After 10 minutes of playing it, I shut it off. Why? Well, that's why we're here, right?

Mainly, the game is a side scroller where you can choose between 6 different camp counselors, 3 girls and 3 guys. They all have different walking speed and jumping ability, but they're essentially the same character. You run around camp, run some more, kill zombie gorillas, and keep running until you hear an alarm sound. When it starts to play, you have 60 seconds to get to a house that Jason's currently stalking. The main problem is that most of the time, the house is at the other side of the camp! Luckily, you can switch to one of the other counselors when you go in a house. It saves you a lot of walking! If you don't make it, you lose one chance. If you run out of children, the game is over.

When you enter a house, the game changes into a pseudo-3d maze, where you can fight Jason face to face. If you fight him, you have to use whatever weapon you're holding to drain some of his energy away, and make him run away. However, if he kills you... well, you don't lose right away; you still have the other camp counselors handy!

The game's controls are very easy to handle, since it's practically the same as the classic Super Mario Bros. The problems come with all the characters themselves. Since some are quicker, and some jump higher than others, you will get frustrated by the limitations of some of them. And your basic weapon (a stone) is virtually useless, since it goes in an arc that goes over the enemies. After you get the knife, though, beating an enemy gets easier.In the 3d mode, you just move around, and when you have a fight against Jason (or the other boss ;D) you can escape his attacks with a lot of effort and luck.

The graphics are decent. They won't win any awards, but you can distinguish between counselors easily. Jason is HUGE! And very well drawn, too. The stages change with the time of day, and when night comes, the enemies get a bit tougher. There is a downside, however; the music. The game only uses 4 songs. And the same song plays over and over and over (imagine a 30 second loop played over 3 hours...*shudder*)! I'd turn down the volume, if it wasn't needed to hear the Jason alarm.

After playing it again recently, my opinion of the game really changed. Back in 1992, I had no patience and wanted to fight Jason right away; and I got easily frustrated because I could never beat him (not even once). Now a days, I see the game very differently. True, the game IS frustrating. But after closer examination, it seems to me that you need a lot of patience to beat the game. And now, the map does make sense. The designers, though they used a really screwy design, placed everything so that you have to walk a lot to reach Jason. That adds to the challenge. You have to use all of the counselors to beat Jason, since it will take a lot of effort and quick hands (not to mention a well-placed machete hit). If you've got the patience, go for it. It's a good game, even though it's showing it's age.

Oh, try out the first and last movies of the series, if you'd like to know more about the story of Jason Voorhees and his mother. Classic american horror at its best ;D