Head Games: Nightmare on Elm Street (1989)



Now I'm playing with power!

Little did I realize as a kid that this ill-fated quote, from the film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), would prove to be only one of many post-modern nails in the Elm Street franchise. As a predecessor (much like Frankenstein meets Abbott and Costello before it) to self-aware films such as Scream, Freddy's Dead can't really be blamed for taking the only left available to it. I mean, when you begin producing talking dolls of a child murderer burned by mob rule which are in turn marketed to children it becomes a little hard to keep his remorseless reputation.

Having added fuel to the fire (pun intended) was LJN's lame attempt at gruesome gaming glory with their 8 bit A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989) for the NES. The object of the game itself gave you (and up to three friends) the tedious task of gathering the bones of Freddy Krueger hidden throughout Elm Street and disposing of them in a furnace, thus ending the terror of the dream demon. While doing so, however, you are in constant danger of falling asleep which, when your sleep meter diminishes, activates an alternate nightmare realm full of rats, skeletons and (of course) Freddy himself. Sounds cool, right?

While it may look good on paper (the same basic concept would later be superbly brought to fruition by Silent Hill) the mechanics of the game were horrendous, leaving many gamers frustrated and the game largely forgotten. This is probably most eloquently (I use that word lightly) stated by James Rolfe (aka The Angry Video Game Nerd) as seen above. Want to experience the rancid replay value of this game first hand? The game is now available online as a Flash-based side scroller, check it out for yourself: A Nightmare on Elm Street... don't say I didn't warn you.





4 comments:

  1. Dr. Goreman said...:

    Awesome article and I have seen AVGN's review of this a few times and it gets funnier every time I watch it. LJN was terrible when it came to games but their Thundercats action figure line kicked ass.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    True that. They definitely had their hands in enough pies... how or why I'll never know.

  1. Anthony1138 said...:

    I remember renting this when I was a kid, expecting something akin to the movies, and being so pissed. This game really sucks. Not that the Friday the 13th game is much better, but at least it gave you a little jump every time you Jason popped up. Oh, and the AVGN's review is amazing.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    The thing that I never got about the F13 game is why in the world they thought throwing rocks at Jason was a good idea... I mean seriously? Haha.

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