A Nightmare on Elm Street

Moby ID: 44868
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Description official description

LJN's NES version of the classic horror series casts the player as a teen searching the houses on Elm Street for Freddy Krueger's bones. Once they are all collected, they must be thrown into the high school furnace to destroy Freddy once and for all (a plot similar to 1987's A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors).

Nightmare has two worlds. In the red-tinted "real world," players fight snakes and spiders while navigating standard platform challenges. The players here have a "sleep meter" that depletes with every hit taken. If the player's sleep meter drops to empty, the game transitions into the blue-tinted "dream world," where enemies take on the appearance of skeletons and ghosts. An invisible timer also starts, counting down until Freddy appears and forces the player into a brief boss battle. The sleep meter becomes a standard life gauge in the dream world, and deducts a life from the player if drained.

Players can find and collect three different icons in the dream world to become "Dream Warriors" with special powers and projectile attacks - both of which give a significant edge when fighting Freddy. Collecting all the bones in a level takes the player to a final level boss, usually taking the form of a monster with Freddy's face or trademark razor glove. Players move back and forth down Elm Street, and a new house opens up as the previous one is cleared.

Nightmare is compatible with the NES Four Score accessory, allowing up to four players to play at once using the same screen.

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Critics

Average score: 53% (based on 11 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)

A Nightmare on LJN Street

The Good
A Nightmare On Elm Street is perhaps one of the best franchises in the ‘slasher’ film genre. Yet, surprisingly frightfully (no pun intended) few efforts have been made to adapt the horror film into a video or computer game. In point of fact, aside from the NES adaption, there is only one other for the personal computer.

Now, LJN was not known for producing the best video games around. For better or for the worse, they had the rights to adapt video games based on several popular franchises (i.e. Marvel Comics superheroes, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street) that often met with a high degree of disappointment from fans of the comic book or film franchise. Thus, when I say that this game is actually above average you need to understand how good and bad that really is.

In the NES adaptation of A Nightmare On Elm Street, you and up to three other friends (with a special device) have to locate all of Freddy’s bones so that they can be burnt in a basement furnace. The game’s side scrolling format is not especially creative, but it does have two major features that push this game above the LJN norm.

You start the game in an ‘awake mode’ where you most punch or jump over various enemies on your way to a particular level (i.e. a house, cemetery or high school). Yet, along with your regular health bar you have a slowly declining sleep meter, which, upon depleting, sends the player into the dream world.

On the surface the dream world does not look especially different, except for the fact that the minor enemies transform into more supernatural foes. Yet, special icons are scattered throughout the levels that, once in the dream word, allow you to transform into an acrobat, ninja or wizard.

You can easily switch between these various ‘Dream Warriors’ and you have unlimited use of all their special attacks. It is a pretty cool feature, well handled that takes the game up a notch from a standard side-scrolling platform-style game.


The Bad
Granted, this game is not without its faults. Back in the day, The Big ‘N’ [as they were called] had some pretty strict rules about what sort of content could be depicted or referenced in a game for their home console system.

Needless to say, the R-rated horror themes had to be significantly toned down for the 8-bit world, which may make more contemporary players frustrated with a game that is a far cry from post-ESRB industry of survival horror.

The graphics and sound are above average. There are lots of little touches in the game that show some real creativity. For example, When you die, your character floats to the top for the screen as an angel and if you play in the four player mode, two of your wizard Dream Warriors will be witches.

Yet, the regular clothing that the playable characters are wearing does not remotely look like anything a teenager would be wearing and Freddy himself got a bit short changed in this game.

While he does make periodic appearances in the dream world and as the final boss, his attack patterns are so similar that he is something of a disappointment compared to the various bosses, based on monsters that the celluloid Freddy transformed into.

The game also has few items to collect, beyond the bones and the dream warrior icons. Yet, you can get cups of coffee to stay awake longer or boom boxes to wake up, but little to restore your precious health bar.

Outside the dream world, the playable characters are pretty weak and all that punching gets old fast. Last, but not least, when you finally beat the game, you are treated to a pretty short and uninspired ending.


The Bottom Line
The NES adaption of A Nightmare on Elm Street is probably one of the best games to be released under the LJN label. It has above average graphics, sound, cool use of the Dream Warrior powers and demonstrates that someone at LJN was familiar with the franchise. The game is probably worth a play, especially if you have got three extra friends, but don’t expect Resident Evil-style survival horror and do expect to finish the game wanting a bit more.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2010

A Pretty good game

The Good
This was a pretty fun and straight to the point game. In other words, you don't have to figure things out. Just go into different houses and collect Freddy's bones.

The Bad
The music in the game didn't really feel like A Nightmare on Elm Street. The character graphics, they are basically the same, just different colors. The length was pretty short too.

The Bottom Line
Well, it's pretty the same considered to other games. A basic collect and run game. No real difference to others except the face that you can fall asleep in the game. Which changes the game play pretty much. Oh yeah, and the FREDDY factor ;).

NES · by Mike Jay (32) · 2004

Discussion

Subject By Date
Alternate version super_gamer Jan 11, 2011

Trivia

Plot

Like Friday The 13th (also developed by LJN for the NES), the game is separate from the movie storylines, in that it doesn't follow any one of the plots established.

Original game concept

The original concept of this game varied greatly from what was eventually released. In the original concept, players were to take on the role of Freddy Kruger himself, and kill the teenagers who were attempting to gather his scattered bones in order to rebury them. Not surprisingly, this idea was scrapped and now only a few blurbs in Nintendo Power and a Nintendo of Europe poster with a few screenshots of the planned game exist.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by BurningStickMan.

Additional contributors: Alaka, CaptainCanuck, LepricahnsGold, Patrick Bregger.

Game added January 31, 2010. Last modified November 30, 2023.