Monday, August 6, 2012

NES Replay: A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare On Elm Street Title Screen
Developer: Rare
Publisher: LJN
Released: 1990
Freddy's Face: Looks like he's saying "HUURRR"

In NES Replay, we go through each NES game from A-Z to see if they're any good. Today: A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I've never been interested in horror movies. I don't like excessive violence, I don't enjoy seeing people get mangled and I don't enjoy being scared.

I scare pretty easily, too. When I was a 15-year-old kid, Jurassic Park scared the crap out of me. I was so scared that I could have sworn I saw a dinosaur outside the window at night. The first time I played Half-Life, I was so stressed afterwards that I was shaking and sweating.

It was with those two things in mind that I wasn't looking forward to playing A Nightmare on Elm Street. If done right, 8-bit can still freak you out, and I played Monster Party years ago on a whim, and it was fun, but still freaky.

I didn't expect to be laughing at Nightmare instead.

A Nightmare On Elm Street Screenshot
Here's the premise: You're a guy in a red tracksuit who walks around, avoiding spiders, snakes and birds. You enter houses, collecting Freddy Krueger's bones and throwing them into a furnace while punching ghosts and Frankenstein monsters. Then you face off with a boss that happens to be a part of Freddy. Every once in a while, you have to fight the man himself and punch him until he runs away.

If you're not scared yet, start turning the light switch in your room on and off while a friend holds a flashlight under their chin and says "ooooooo!"
A Nightmare On Elm Street Screenshot
So obviously, Nightmare isn't scary. Does it least play well? Eh.

Let me use the example of the bosses. During a boss fight, you square off against one of Freddy's body parts attached to a chain. Now normally, these fights are handled with the enemy trying to hit you where you stand, so you have to anticipate the blow, move out of the way, and attack. This one is a little different. Instead of landing where you were standing, these bosses will land in random locations, meaning you can't really dodge them unless you stand in a corner and just wait for it to land near you while swinging your arms in the air. It's so incredibly lame.

Never mind that Freddy's chained-up head looks vaguely like Zoidberg.

Need a boss for your game? Why not Zoidberg?
Honestly, I think that A Nightmare on Elm Street is actually a work of meta-horror. The horror comes, not from the game itself, but from the fact that someone, somewhere spent money on it. That's the most terrifying thing of all.

Final Rating:

Next Week: Abadox

Looking for more NES games? Click here for more!

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