Friday the 13th

Moby ID: 7359
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Description official description

Based on the popular movie franchise, Friday the 13th casts you as one of six camp counselors (three girls or three boys) at the infamous Camp Crystal Lake, and you are tasked with destroying Jason Voorhees once and for all.

To get to Jason, you must run around a camp, killing zombie ghouls and collecting weapons, until you hear an alarm sound. When that alarm goes off, it means Jason has entered a cabin and you must find him.

To save time, you can switch between all six counselors, depending on where you are. Once you enter the house that Jason is in, the game switches to a 3D-esque maze in which you have to hurt Jason with the items you collected. Once he's been damaged enough, he'll run away, only to sound another alarm later and enter another house.

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (NES version)

4 People

Production, planning, and graphics
Programmer
  • Yamaguchi (uncredited)
Music Composer
Sound Driver

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 45% (based on 18 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 4 reviews)

I wish xbox would come up a new Friday the 13th!!!!

The Good
I am a big Friday the 13th fan. This was one of the first horror games that was based on a movie that I know of. Being able to switch between couselors was pretty cool and the story was based on several of the movies which was pretty cool.

The Bad
The side scrolling and the graphics were ok. The colors and music was way off. Last time I saw a Friday the 13th movie there were no zombies or wolves that attacked anyone. Could have made the game a little more like the movie itself.

The Bottom Line
you had to fight jason and keep your couselors safe from him from what I remember and children also. If you found his mother's head and wore her sweater you became invincble I think. Didn't give you many weapons to fight with and hitting him only did minor damage unless you found a pitchfork if I remember correctly. It was pretty cool though.

NES · by William Manning (2) · 2003

Jason Jumps The Shark

The Good
Friday The 13th for the Nintendo Entertainment System is not a great game, but it does have several aspects to it that had underdeveloped potential.

The game has some nice 3D-esque sequences whenever you enter a cabin and, yes, their is certainly a level of 8-bit fun involved in throwing machetes at zombies.



The Bad
Friday The 13th offers up pretty average 8-bit graphics and animation. They are better then what LJN offered in "Jaws", but very little of the terror or suspense of the films is carried on over into the game.

True, Nintendo had strict censorship policies back in the day and this was before the genre of "survival horror" became popular, but about the only thing really creepy in the is Jason's Mother.

Beyond Jason and his Mother (who appears as a flying head inside a cave) your enemies include zombies (which I do not recall from the films) and standard (for a video game) forest critters like wolves and bats.

Beyond some musical scores from the film franchise, the music is nothing to write home about and may cause you to reach for the mute button.

The player selects from a series of different Camp Counselors, each with some variation in speed and strength. Your primary goal in the game is to locate and kill, several times, Jason's Mother who appears in the form of a flying head.

Each time you defeat Jason's Mother she leaves behind a valuable object, and, eventually, she will leave behind the one weapon that can kill Jason; a pitch fork!

However, you cannot battle her again until after you have come into contact with Jason. Which means that you spend quite a bit of time going back and forth to same places.

Crystal Lake is a rather large campsite and Jason will attack campers or the other camp counselors (who are all located in various cabins throughout the game).

Once that happens, you must quickly walk over to the right cabin (thankfully, the game's made does not make this a secret) and battle Jason.

This can become a bit tedious, especially if the campers in need of help are on a island, only accessible by boat, or someone needs help and is on the opposite side of the map where you happen to be.

Your characters can only walk, jump, duck and shoot whatever projectile weapon they may have. Some of the characters walk slower or jump higher then the others, but basically their is not a huge variation.

It would have been nice if you could switch between the different weapons that you collect and the piece of cloth that you can collect, in one of your battles with Jason's Mom, does not really do much besides protect one of the camp counselors (while in a cabin) from Jason.

Their are certainly times when you are going to wish their was a warp zone or something similar to allow you quicker access to different parts of the map.

Eventually, if you kill Jason's mom enough times, you will be given the pitch fork and, not longer after, you will be able to use it on Jason when you attacks a camper, counselor or he may just show up.

Your reward for your epic battle against Jason is a lackluster ending.

The Bottom Line
Friday The 13th for the Nintendo Entertainment System is not a great game.

It is not "survival horror" and having to run back and forth between the cave and numerous cabins is probably not what fans of the horror film franchise were hoping for in a video game adaption.

However, their is a bit of fun to be had with the 3D-esque sequences inside the cabin and, yes, killing 8-bit zombies with rocks, knives and other weapons is kinda fun.

It would seem logical that Friday The 13th would make a great modern video game franchise, with the advances in technology and entire survival horror genre.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2012

Jason Voorhees goes 8-bit

The Good
Friday The 13th for the NES home console system is amazingly enjoyable and complicated for an 8-bit cartridge video game.

The main quest in the game involves you – as one of six camp counselors – killing Jason Voorhees and protecting the other residents of Camp Crystal Lake.

Exploring the Camp Crystal Lake cabins (some of them require keys) switches the game’s perspective from the standard side-scrolling perspective, to an interesting first-person perspective that attempts to look “3D”.

Cabins can contain notes (with cryptic hints), fireplaces (to be lit by lighters), additional items and weapons, a fellow camp counselor or young campers.

In addition to the being able to explore the many different cabins in the game, the player will also have to avoid getting lost in the cavern (where Jason’s mother awaits) or in the forest.

Naturally, you have to actually walk to any of the locations in the game (or ride a boat when visiting the cabin on the lake), and plenty of natural and supernatural dangerous await you on the Camp Crystal Lake outdoors.

Jason Voorhees has managed to assemble a loyal army of zombies and animal wildlife to drain the player’s precious hit points.

Jason himself will randomly show up to attack the player, other camp counselors or the young campers.

Whenever Jason attacks the kids or one of the playable camp counselors, the player must then quickly walk over to the cabin and battle Jason. After all you do not Jason to kill off all of the kids and co-workers.

Luckily, the player can switch between the living camp counselors – simply by entering any of the cabins with a counselor – and collect pretty cool weapons (that essentially act as a projectile weapon with unlimited ammo).

The player starts out with the ability to throw rocks at Jason or any of his minions. This is the weakest weapon in the game and is not going to be much use in protecting anyone, let alone stopping Jason Voorehees.

Weapon upgrades can be obtained by killing the zombies and other “Team Jason” minions and collecting the items that they may leave behind. In addition to vitamin jars and lighters, the player can obtain knives, a fireball shooting torch, machete, axe and, if you are lucky, the most powerful weapon in the game; a pitchfork.

Each of the weapons acts as a projectile (with unlimited ammo) but they vary in strength and whether or not they shoot at enemies straight or at some sort of angle.

Having played many of the more modern survival horror video games, I have to say that there is something undeniably fun (in Friday The 13th) about having unlimited supply of projectile fireballs or axes to lay waste to an army of zombies.

Friday The 13th has night and day-themed sequences. In fact, you have to defeat both Pam (Jason’s deceased mother) and Jason Voorhees several times (over a three-day period).

Each time that you defeat flying head Pamela, she leaves behind an important item (like her sweater) or powerful weapon’s upgrade. Each time that you deplete all of Jason’s hit points (a very difficult task unless you have some of the more powerful weapons) he recharges and the second day begins.

Friday The 13th has cool weapons, fun little side quests, night and day themed sequences and even an effort at an 8-bit “3D” perspective.

Clearly, quite a bit of creativity and thought went into designers this video game.

So, why is Friday The 13th, so often reviled and condemned as another example of a bad LJN game and a bad movie-to-video game adaption? Well, much of the criticism levied at this game is (sadly) quite accurate.

The Bad
Friday The 13th is an R-rated slasher film franchise that had to be adopted into a "family friendly" video game cartridge.

Outside of Japan, all games made for a Nintendo game system had to be approved by Nintendo's own censorship board. The company didn't want any games made for their system to stray from a specific, "family friendly" universe.

This meant that Friday The 13th -- the Nintendo game -- could not contain any graphic violence, blood, gore, nudity, profanity, drug use (legal or illegal) or any "hanky-panky" (heterosexual, homosexual or in-between).

The result is that nothing in LJN's Friday The 13th is scary, nor is their any feeling of being in the genre of "survival horror".

As fun is it to have an unlimited supply of torch fireballs and sharp swords to toss at an army of flesh-easting zombies, the censorship policies of Nintendo were not compatible with the themes and tone of modern-day, survival horror.

Censorship policies aside, LJN's Friday The 13th features strictly average graphics -- both in terms of the character design and the recreation of Camp Crystal Lake.

While Jason is easily identifiable, the game designers used some odd colors in their design of his character. Maybe they wanted him to have the same colors as the game's zombies, but 8-bit Jason looks a bit silly.

The design of the camp counselors is unimpressive -- except for the fact that the developers did actually include a bit of gender and racial diversity among the playable characters.

While you are able to upgrade your weapons, the game should have allowed you to keep all of the weapons that you obtained and switch between them at will.

What happens now is that the player can end up downgrading his or her weapon, because the icons for weaker weapons do still show up after you kill an animal or zombie, and when you are in a rush (trying to get to a cabin) accidents can happen.

If you have seen the early Friday The 13th films, then you will probably recognize some of the game's music.

It is not a horrible, 8-bit adaption of the film's music, but you will probably want to turn down the volume (or maybe just turn off the music entirely and put in your own CD)

Last, but not least, successfully completing the game gives you a pretty lackluster ending.

I can understand the desire to imply that Jason is probably going to come back (it is a slasher film character), but after successfully complete all of the side quests, killing Jason (and his mother) several times, it end brief ending was a bit of a letdown.

The Bottom Line
Friday The 13th is not an example of survival horror, and it does not highlight the solid hardware capabilities of the classic NES home console system.

8-bit Jason is more silly, then scary. Gaining the ability to shoot unlimited fireballs by picking up a torch is not realistic, and I am not sure that eating all of these vitamins would really be all that healthy.

LJN's Friday The 13th is something of a guilty, 8-bit pleasure, with few good ideas.

NES · by Edward TJ Brown (118) · 2015

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Franchise

The game itself is not based off of one movie in the series. Rather, a combination of the first 7 films and developer 'creativity':

  • The opening title screen with Jason's mask is taken from the poster for Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter

  • Jason never acquired his mask until Part 3.

  • The version of Jason depicted on the box cover is from Part 7: The New Blood. Part 8 was out in theatres when the game was released.

  • Other than Jason and his mother, none of the other characters in the game are found in the films

Furthermore, the storyline for the game is separate from the films and is an inconsistent one, as Jason is supposed to be after the camp counsellors, not the children (amongst other things).

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Worst Movie to Game
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #8 (Worst 10 Games of All Time)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

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

Game added October 4, 2002. Last modified April 17, 2024.