maanantai 24. tammikuuta 2011

REVIEW - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1990)

Genre(s): Action / Platform
Released: 1990
Available on: NES
Developer(s): Rare
Publisher(s): LJN
Players: 1-4

In 1984, many good things happened. Yours truly was born, and Johnny Depp made his big screen debut in a cult horror film called A Nightmare on Elm Street. To tell you the truth, I had no idea that a video game, let alone a Nintendo game, based on the terrible tales of Freddy Krueger existed before I saw the Angry Video Game Nerd do a video review on it a couple of years back. A game made in 1990 - six years after the flick it's based on - published by LJN, totally bashed by AVGN, it looks ridiculous from every possible angle... how could I possibly resist?

Nine, ten, never play it again

A child murdering maniac by the name of Freddy Krueger was burnt to death by a group of kids 20 years ago. Now he's back as a spiritual being, who kills Elm Street's teenagers in their dreams. Four teenagers take it upon themselves to find Freddy's remains and destroy them, ending his reign of terror once and for all.

Freddy's such a bad ass that he has Satan for
a henchman.
A Nightmare on Elm Street isn't based on any of the movies, if it was it would probably been banned by Nintendo of America in a heartbeat. It's a basic, watered down, and dare I say an unnecessary movie license in which it's never really implicated that Freddy kills people, he's more of a boogeyman scaring the shit out of teenagers, and slapping them around a bit in their dreams. As per usual in any 8-bit "horror" game, Freddy has wild rats, bats, ghosts and zombies helping him out, which steals away the last bits of authenticity. Sure, some thin references to all five Elm Street movies that came before the game are present, so it's clear that Rare at least knew something about the movies when they began developing this game... although I don't remember the Dream Warriors ever dressing themselves up as ninjas or wizards.

The title screen of the game is very cool and it almost makes one expect a decent experience from it. The game isn't that ugly either, but each house (stage) looks the same. The normal Freddy sprite looks OK, but otherwise, the boss design sucks. Most of the bosses are Freddy's different body parts, and the head doesn't look anything like Freddy. Since the game was developed by Rare, it's pretty much expected that it's David Wise who wrote the music to the game, and the music is indeed one of the game's strongest qualities. Not Dave's finest work by a long shot, but listenable shite. The game is one of the few licensed games on the NES, especially those graced with the butt-ugly rainbow logo of LJN, that actually features a theme song of whatever it's based on.

What a lovely neighbourhood.
So, the idea is to hack through every house and basement on Elm Street with up to three of your friends (how you would find that much volunteers to play the game is beyond me), find every bone there is, fight a boss and make your way to the school's boiler room from the first flick to sort of burn Freddy for the second time. Of course, it's all made less simple by many different factors. There's a lot of platform jumping, the physics of the game are more than lacking, and then there's the case of two different realities - ironically, the one that should give you more trouble is much easier to conquer. Via an "unique effect" - which is ripped straight off Simon's Quest (I have mentioned that game way too many times lately) - you're thrown into the dream world whenever a certain meter of yours drains out, in other words whenever your character falls asleep. What's funny is that it can happen even during a jump. Quite a feat, if you ask me. In the dream world, the enemies are tougher and if you're not quick about it, you will have to deal with Freddy himself. You can prevent your character from falling asleep by drinking cups of coffee, and you can force your way back into the real world by finding a stereo set and waking your character up with the power of rock.

However, like I said, you shouldn't do it. In the real world, your only weapons are your fists, in the ends of your very short arms - the range of your attacks is pathetic and with the crappy physics, enemies can easily deal damage to you from even a short distance away. They touch you four times, you're done - you have a decent amount of continues, but you wouldn't believe how fast even they can drain once you get to the parts in which either getting the one last bone you're after, or falling down a chasm, is all up to sheer luck. Anyway, in the dream world, you can morph into a Dream Warrior. What kind of a Warrior, depends on the icons you collected in the real world. You can switch between them all the time as long as you remain asleep. The Dream Warrior costumes are absolutely ridiculous and they're like a merciless joke on the alliance of teens in the third movie, but by the time you get the whole system you really won't care whether it feels like an Elm Street game or not. The game is somewhat entertaining at first, but it turns damn boring damn fast, and Freddy's pretty far from the scariest murderous bastard in movie history when you can simply spam his ass with shurikens, never letting him come even near you.

What a nightmare. I'm being chased around by
a raving lunatic and dressed up like Richard
Even all of the actual bosses are child's play as long as you are asleep and dressed up like an idiot. An effective idiot, but an idiot anyway. Getting through this extreme bubblegum-horror borefest is pretty much all up to your luck with the oversensitive controls and their close relationship with narrow platforms... and perhaps one single boss whose movement makes him extremely hard to hit, while he will most likely hit you with every single one of his attacks.

I must say that A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the longest lasting LJN games I've played: after all, it takes 15 minutes to simply understand the game, you might like it for another 15 minutes, and one more 15 minute period is needed to confirm that the game does, indeed, suck. That's 45 minutes of fully patient playing right there, and it's a pretty strong feat considering what kind of utter crap I expected out of this game. It's not exactly awful at all, it's just immensely boring and I don't see any reason to waste any more of my time with it ever again. It's a game that can almost be enjoyed, once.

Graphics : 6.6
Sound : 7.3
Playability : 5.7
Challenge : 5.1
Overall : 5.5

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti