Friday the 13th Review
We received a question about this game on our new Facebook page and after looking into the game, we decided the review needed to put on the fast track. “Friday the 13th” is a game published by LJN, who we previously visited in our review of Town & Country Surf Designs. The game is supposedly based on a series of horror movies that I have never seen that are apparently about a man in a purple jumpsuit and strange blue mask that murders a bunch of children who take refuge in cabins to avoid a zombie apocalypse. Based on that premise alone, I find it shocking that anyone deemed such a ridiculous concept to be worthy of a “franchise”, much less a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. But, as we continue to learn, LJN was willing to make a game about just about anything. Not to mention the game received Nintendo’s famed “Seal of Quality” so it has that going for it.
“Friday the 13th” is set in a campground called “Camp Crystal Lake” and you play as one of six different children. You begin the game armed with stones to use as self-defense against an apparent coordinated zombie uprising that has somehow enlisted the help of birds and wolf hybrids. Of course, while all of this is going on, the children are tasked with defeating the purple jumpsuited Jason Voorhees. Voorhees is roughly four times the size of even the largest playable character and in the best case scenario I had to fight him using a pocket knife. It did not end well.
The difficulty level of “Friday the 13th” is quite ridiculous and I’m not entirely sure how LJN expected their target audience of nine-year-olds to figure out the nuanced gameplay and be able to overcome such insurmountable odds. I was astounded by just how hard this game is and took myself to the internet to see if I was just an inept player. I found this game regularly gets considered among the “worst of the NES games” due to its difficulty level and ludicrous concept. I found many videos of players getting angry at the game and being unable to make any real progress in defeating Jason. Apparently there is a sequence where your toddler playable characters also have to best Jason’s dead mother which is represented as a floating head. I was willing to give this game the benefit of the doubt but that aspect made me think this was just another late 80s drug trip. Had the “Jason’s mother” stage not been included this game would at least have a somewhat believable plot.
The only ending of the game I was able to experience was the predictable outcome when the combination of the undead and Jason murder the playable children characters one by one. The game bids you farewell with the statement “You and your friends are dead.” A pretty accurate statement since this game left me feeling brain-dead after only a few hours of play. I would definitely not recommend anyone to play this game, ever. It is also completely inappropriate for the “young child” target audience they appeared to be going for by making the playable characters all children. “Friday the 13th”‘s violence is cartoonish enough to be excused but the death animations when Jason murders your character are probably too intense for any children under age 18.