The Total Recall

he 13TH

Artist touch: Jason actually looks pretty freaky here with the axe but what's the deal with the drug-like colours in the back? Cover art rating: 5/10
Month it won: October 2005

(Publisher: Ljn, Release: February 1989)
Special note: This is the only Friday the 13th console game in existence.
Introduction and Story:
I know this may make me sound like a wussy but I remember being nearly scared half to death after seeing the original Friday the 13th for the first time. The movie was a very violent slasher flick about a giant undead madman named Jason Voorhees who viciously hunt downs anyone he feels like and usually kills them in brutal fashion. The series has become so popular that I think there are well over a hundred or so movies and it just goes to show you that the lead killer can beat on dead horses here too. OK, now imagine what this gruesome Friday the 13th series would look like if it was turned into a silly Saturday morning cartoon? Here we have the utter complete waste of time: Ljn's Friday the 13th the video game.

If you believe there is any kind of real story here, the game focuses on 6 corny playable counselors and their mission to rescue any children on a remote camp site while making sure they don't get killed themselves too. It won't be easy because not only is the camp site hard to navigate through but the game is filled with several zombies, deadly animals, and of course Jason himself.
Controls and Game Play:
Friday the 13th plays a lot like the Goonies II by Konami, because the game has both side scrolling and 3D rooms to explore. Unlike that fun game though there is no real objective or direction in this not so scary video game and I often find myself just running in circles. In the game you are suppose to light all the fire places in the cabins but this is very hard to do you are constantly interrupted by Jason trying to kill one of the other counselors and if he kills one of you that person loses all their items too.

The problem is Jason attacks you or your other counselors randomly and this makes it nearly impossible to go on long quests. In the game you have to find items strong enough to defeat the big guy to begin with but do you risk going a long mission through a boring maze-like forest or do you stick around the cabins just so you can switch between characters? What should have been a thrilling quest for survival is turned into a tedious back and forth chore. Maybe I wouldn't be complaining so much if the controls were good but this game is on a roll so why stop now. The controls are fine in the side scrolling parts of the game with some characters moving faster then others but the 3D stages are very awkward to say the least since there is no map and many of the rooms all look the same.
Graphics and Sounds:
The graphics are actually not too bad considering the rest of the game is. Although everything looks way too cartoon-like for a horror game, everything is well defined and easy to make out. The game also has some fancy parallax scrolling backgrounds which most NES fans all know is a rare thing. Although the looks are far from perfect thanks to a lot of similar looking areas, in the end the only thing above average in the game is the graphics. The music and sound effects definitely don't hold their end of the bargain in the presentation department though. The music is about as bad as it gets since it repeats ever few seconds and there are no blood curling screams or heavy tension building music the movies are known for. In other words you better get that CD player ready if you brave enough to listen to this piece of garbage.
The Bottomline:  
The only 13 part about Friday the 13th is the game is that it's basically rated under PG-13 because I played this game for hours (some of the longest hours of my life) and I didn't see any flowing blood or pant wetting decapitations the series is know for what so ever. I know this is a 8-bit NES game and all but the question is why even make a Friday the 13th video game when Ljn knew they couldn't push any limits thanks to Nintendo's censorship rules. Money and pure greed I guess, something Ljn was notorious for (just look at their other horrible licensed games like The Karate Kid, Beetlejuice, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jaws, Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Back to the Future I, II, III and many more titles they ruined for example).

Maybe the blow wouldn't hurt so much if the game play was any good but the title is filled with tons of frustrating moments thanks to its confusing level design and overly demanding objectives. Don't be fooled by the name Friday the 13th the game is just a mess of mazes and a bland mixture of sounds and graphics. If you want some horror in your video games you better play the far superior titles like Resident Evil 4 or Splatter House instead.

FRIDAY The 13th
overall rating: 29/100

Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 6/10
sound: 3/10
gameplay: 4/10
replay: 2/10

(Ryan Genno) 2005

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