Friday the 13th: Retro Review

Friday13thTitleKilling your nostalgia

For those who have lived under a rock for the last 30 years or so, Friday the 13th is a series of slasher films in which teenagers at a summer camp get murdered in various ways by a serial killer in a hockey mask named Jason. That being said, one would think that this would be a horror game, but what it mostly succeeded in being was a generic, repetitive, frustrating side-scroller.

The game has you taking control of one of six camp counselors each with their own attributes, such as running or swimming, that they are better or worse at. Your job is to keep the teens at the summer camp alive for three days or to kill Jason three times before he kills the people you’re protecting.

The game starts you along a side-scrolling path that goes around the lake. At some point Jason will attack one of the cabins and you have to make your way along the path to the cabin and fend him off. When you enter a cabin it goes into a bizarre 3D-ish environment. The only reason I can see for this is to add a small amount of suspense because you don’t know if Jason is around the corner. When in the cabin you may or may not fight Jason. You then go back to the path and wait for Jason to attack again. Rinse and repeat.

The graphics aren’t terrible, what makes me not like them is that everything is so repetitive. There are only a handful of backgrounds and they are repeated over and over. There is also a forest in the game that you can go into and fight Jason’s mother and get the best weapon in the game. I wouldn’t recommend it however, because the forest backgrounds are all so similar that it’s near impossible to find your way out.

Even worse than the graphics is the music. The music mostly consists of a few 6 second loops that repeat constantly throughout the game. You know it’s bad when you play a game for all of thirty seconds to hear the entire soundtrack.

Some of these things could be forgiven if the game was fun to play, but it’s not. The side scrolling parts, while running from cabin to cabin around the lake, feel clunky and poorly made. The battles with Jason, which should be a highlight of the game, end up being battles of annoyance as Jason dances back and forth taking cheap shots at you.

Friday-the-13th

Seriously, it looks like he’s dancing.

There are bats and zombies that spawn continuously along the path and the only weapon you have at start is a rock that’s both hard to hit enemies with and very weak. The best way to get a better weapon is, I kid you not, to jump around aimlessly. After jumping around a bunch a floating knife will appear and you can grab it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. It’s just that the few good ideas in this game such as choosing between counselors, get drowned in a wave of bad execution and monotony.

 

In video games, as with movies, there are two types of bad. A few games like E.T. are so bad that they’re entertaining and then there are games that are just plain bad. Friday the 13th is the latter.

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