Freaking young people and their nostalgia. Time for a knifin'.
The superstitious coupling of Friday the 13th with calamity is very old in western
culture. The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations
dating from ancient folklore; their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year
portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. Folklorists say it's probably
the most widespread superstition in America (and no doubt other parts of the world, as
well). Some people won't go to work on Friday the 13th. Some won't eat in restaurants.
Many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date. Many wouldn't do drugs on the 13th
for fear of stumbling around in front of cows and looking like a big doofus.
How many people at the turn of the millennium still suffer from this phobia?
According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a therapist specializing in alliteration and the treatment
of phobias who is credited with coining the term "paraskevidekatriaphobia"
(persons with an abnormal fear of Friday the 13th), as many as 21 million do in the United
States alone. If that's correct, something like eight percent of Americans are still in
the grips of a very ancient superstition. This rivals other scientific stats like the
saying "almost eleven percent of Americans have delthefunkyhomosapiophobia, which is
the fear of dorky guys in lab coats creating big words so they can have enough money to
jerk off on the tits of strangers in the back of their new PT Cruiser."
Exactly how ancient the phenomenon is is difficult to say, because determining the
origins of superstitions is an imprecise science at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork.
But if I was to make a hypothesis (from the Greek words "hypo," meaning
"over-stimulated," and "thesis," meaning "half-assed pop culture
cross referencing") I would say that the fear of Friday the 13th began in 1988, when
"Friday the 13th" for our old grey and black Nintendo Entertainment System was
released. It didn't have the rhythmic pounding of buttons associated with Super Mario
Bros. nor the PA-KANG PA-KANG PA-KANG of Duck Hunt, but it did have ONE element that no
game of it's time could compare with: It was frustrating in a way reserved previously for
Let me rephrase that. Imagine that you're naked and tied to one of those giant sticky
leather arm chairs and you can't move, not even if a tarantula was crawling on your nuts.
Now imagine that Shannon Elizabeth, Anna Kournikova, and that chick from Species are all
dressed like French Maids and eating bananas out of each others crotches like two feet in
front of you. The NES version of Friday the 13th is that kind of frustration, expressed
more accurately as the inescapable murder of children. Although by the end of this
sentence I'm sure I will have reconsidered my analogy, seeing how any witness of a
Nadia/Anna K banana crotchfest is much more important and life-altering than your kids
You would think the plot of a Friday the 13th game would be both brilliant and groin
pull-inducingly entertaining. Imagine the joy of sneaking up on some unsuspecting minority
and squeezing his head until his eyeballs popped out, like in Friday the 13th Part 3! It'd
be just like a video game about my childhood growing up in Danville, Virginia, only I paid
to see it in 3D instead of having to watch it go down in my front yard in the middle of
the night. Unfortunately this video game avoids any kind of fun premise and goes straight
for the anguished feeling you see when someone is getting the shit beaten out of them in
the parking lot.
An ominous day of the week!!11
I can imagine what it would've been like to get a copy of Friday the 13th for your
eighth birthday. It's that time of life when staying up past your bedtime watching
Hellraiser or Re-Animator and laughing your ass off in front of your friends, and then
when it's time to go to bed getting all freaked out in a dark bathroom and tumbling down
the stairs in terror. When you have a game with the promise of a high body count via
machete that's a really important moment in your life, none of that "jump on the
turtles" bullcorn. You pop the game in thinking "rock, I'm gonna go dice up some
sexy teenagers" but instead you get this, a game where you run for a few seconds and
then everything kills you and you die. It's almost like that Waterworld game Milhouse
plays on the Simpsons, where he puts in forty dollars in quarters in the machine, so the
guy takes a step and it says game over. The aforementioned frustration begins from the
first moment, when your smiles turn to scowls and you grope desperately for the
instruction book to find out what the BLUE HELL is going on.
Blue Hell - Artists Rendering
For anyone who isn't a fan of the genre and hasn't seen any of the Friday movies, they
involve Ice Cube and a variety of colorful, drug-addled supporting characters perpetrating
some offbeat shenanigans in a plethora of films including "Friday," "Next
Friday," "Friday After Next," and "I Know What You Did Last
Friday." The Friday the 13th movies are a completely different story. They revolve
around Camp Crystal Lake (or CAMP BLOOD to the natives), a place where tragedies happen
and people are murdered under suspicious circumstances. It's a lot like your local high
school, actually, only without those band kids getting on your nerves. If the band got up
the nerve to play "Rock and Roll Part 2" like they ALWAYS do no matter WHERE you
go at Camp Crystal Lake they'd all get pitchforked through the neck and stuck to the band
rafters. Daaaaaaaaaaadunnananunnananuh HEY! *splorch*
So, in true horror movie fashion, some new guys with flippy 80's hair and a vision
decide to set up shop on the most dangerous place possible, in the hopes that a consistent
record of death and destruction will abide by the courtesy of their new business endeavor.
Somehow their theory doesn't stick and everyone ends up catching a machete to the face for
about 10 movies now. Again, this could've been a great idea for a video game, but since
the elder Gods in charge of greenlighting videogames prefer a hedgehog running briskly to
any nominal violence, we got a really ass-ified version of the story. What could Nintendo
replace the violent deaths of the oversexed teenagers of the film series with?
Fight, camp counselors! FOR THE CHILDREN!
Why, killing children, of course! Although not nearly as offensive as French
Maid Nude Celebrity Vaginal Banana porn, the prevention of adolescent death syndrome
(being killed by Jason) is the game's modus operandi. Instead of controlling Jason himself
and murdering the children (which would've been a pretty damn cool game for perverts and
Pro-Choicers alike) you're forced to operate the inept bodies of Camp Blood's six most
physically challenged teenage counselors. Although released in 1988, the battle system is
one of the most advanced in game history, surpassing later games like Tekken and Soul
Calibur with daring attacks like "run," "jump," and "throw
You'd think a bunch of teenagers at summer camp would've brought alone a switchblade or
a 9 mm or something like NORMAL teenagers. I guess this WAS the 80's. They could've
brought their cigarette boats and hot cars. That would've been a game I do NOT wanna miss.
But nope, you start off with rocks that usually fly in a really high arc and go over the
target's head. Now trying to stop a crazed zombie killing machine from killing a bunch of
kids is hard enough when you've got nothing else to do at the time but hurl rocks at his
skull, but that's where the difficulty of the game rears it's burned, deformed head.
"Mark" shows unrivaled bravery by dashing off like a wiener into the woods.
Also, zombie gorilla.
The player controls Crystal Lake's Sinister Six, three boys and three girls with names
like "Paul" and "Mike." Really SISSY ass names.
I bet when they signed up to boss the little kids around and steal the cookies the kids'
moms sent them in the mail they weren't expecting zombie gorillas to randomly come out of
the ground while they're running around. In all seriousness that's what the game involves
-- you picking the closest camp counselor to your objective and running like Hell in the
hopes that you'll get there before you hear the ominous BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP.
When you hear that, that means Jason has begun assaulting the youngsters. Not just any
youngsters though...the youngsters in the cabin as far away from you as possible. So
you've gotta haul ass back the other way and hope you get to fight him off before all the
little Harry Potter loving bastards get theirs.
Getting to the kids before they die is the most frustrating part. The aforementioned
zombie gorillas (I don't know what they're supposed to be, look at them and tell me
yourself) will pop up in serious numbers wherever you go. Your best bet is to just jump
over them, until there are like three on the screen and you jump into them and die. Not to
mention that if you take a wrong turn you're screwed...the digital camp includes a giant
forest to get completely lost in while Jason kills all the babies, a series of caves to
get completely lost in while Jason kills all the babies, and a big lake (duh) in which
Jason can pop out of the water and kill you instantly before going back to killing the
babies. You actually WANNA go into the forest and the caves and places though because
that's where all the good items are. Once you find the pitchfork (the most powerful
weapon) and Jason's Mom's head (which keeps Jason from attacking you) the game becomes
"Mario is Missing" and you can't possibly lose. But the moment the CPU senses
that you want to utilize the game as any kind of entertainment the beep starts up and the
first player controller goes flying across the room and into the television.
"Dylan, you gotta stay off the booze, bro. Wanna play basketball, bro?"
Beating Jason (last name Vorhees, like Lisa from Saved by the Bell) would be simple if
he would just jump up in the air, so you could run under him, grab the axe and make him
fall into the lava. Unfortunately he's been savagely murdered enough times to be wise to
your tricks, so he manipulates you into the various childcare cabins. These cabins are
reminiscent of other games like "Rescue: The Embassy Mission" and "Goonies
II"...those pseudo-3D mazes where you have to turn in a direction and then look
forward. So by the time you've stumbled upon his whereabouts he's chopped your head into
loose meat and you've lost a counselor. Thankfully you've got six of them, so you get to
see all of the children die before it's game over.
Fighting for children, wherever there's trouble over LAND and SEA and AIIIIIIIIR!
I'm proud to say I actually beat the game, which was no small feat. It was
one of those things where you sit up with bloodshot eyes while M. Bison repeatedly whips
your ass cause you've got the stars all the way up and you're trying to beat it without
losing a round, so you can get the extra 2 seconds of ending. I played the game off and on
for eight years trying to beat it, until finally, in the Spring of 96, Jason fell to my
poorly animated camp counselor wrath. Shortly after my Nintendo stopped working forever. I
feel good knowing that it waited until I beat the game. Now Friday the 13th is in the same
old game drawer with the "Three Stooges," "Ghostbusters," and
"Knight Rider"...precious childhood memories neatly crushed in a grey plastic
cartridge.DEVON!! GET THE TABLES!!
Graphics: The graphics are pretty well done for a late 80's game, when the most
groundbreaking things were the big bosses in Blaster Master and you were lucky to get a
sprite introduction with all those humorously misspelled words in them. Jason is GIANT on
the screen most times, in a really nifty purple jumpsuit and a blue tinted hockey mask. I
won't say he's the most intimidating character in gaming history, but he made this
impressionable 8 year old create some custom curse words when I was rowing across the lake
and he popped up outta the water. Friday the 13th was the first time I ever got grounded
for profanity. Stupid fucking game. God dammit.
Sound: It's the same four songs played on loop while you run, until the Jason
alarm starts. None of the trademark Jason "I'm hiding in the bushes getting ready to
impale you with a spear" taunts. No screams from the children. I guess you can only
go so far in a game about homicide. After all, this is the same organization that gave us
green blood in Mortal Kombat, so it looked like Johnny Cage was uppercutting all the
boogers outta Sub Zero's nose.
Replay Factor: None by your own choice. You'll either put it down 10 seconds
into it or keep playing until your brain melts and drains out of your ears. It's like
getting head from a really ugly girl...you know it's wrong, you know you really oughta not
be doing it, but it sure as hell feels fantastic. Once you go crap you never go back.
Overall: Overall this is the biggest missed opportunity since that
"Nightmare on Elm Street" game where you could be a wizard and a ninja and you
had retarded boss battles with various Freddy body parts, like his hand or his inner leg.
This game should've included a fully controllable Jason and a camp full of social
deviants, like sassy guys in T-shirts with numbers on them (like that was ever cool) and
people randomly having sex in normal places where people have sex, like in abandoned
shacks in the middle of the woods or in stalled cars.
And now to finish off this review, I will debut my