Gaming’s House of Halloween Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)

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bill-swift - October 15, 2013

Nuts to remakes featuring young thespians who couldn't out-act a comatose gorilla. If you really want a slice of A Nightmare on Elm Street, it's got to be the 1984 original. If nothing else, it's the only place you'll get to cruelly mock Johnny Depp's youthful Eighties hair. Which is, let's be frank, utterly shit.

"Yep, he really doeslook like a dick," confirms Frank. Whoever he is.

There's another retrotacular slice of Mr. Kruger you can try this Halloween: the 1989 NES title. Nintendo's charming little consoles of happy funtimes, rainbows and puppies with adorable bladder problems aren't usually home to this sort of horror, so buckle up. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The game is an early venture from Rare, acclaimed developers of GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and several sports-related ballaches for Xbox's Kinect. Here, they take all the thrilling, blood-leaky aspects of the movie, and... give them the middle finger. Opting instead to give us a slightly disturbing, tedious collect-em-up of a platformer.

As one of Elm Street's unfortunate young residents, your objective is to gather Freddy's bones and incinerate them in the school's furnace. This, presumably, will stop the burnt-faced bastard's murderous shenanigans for good. Somehow. Still, the game's status as a spin-off allows it to invent all manner of B.S as merrily as it likes.

Levels generally find you in combat against all manner of tedious horror cliché enemies. Bats, snakes, they're all here, and they all suck. Taking damage (or simply dawdling) will increase your ‘sleep' meter, and as you can imagine, quite the shitstorm ensues when it fills up. Well, of sorts. Upon falling asleep, your character will enter the dream world, where said opponents are stronger and more difficult to defeat. Cups of coffee found within the levels will help with this, and a retro-style boombox will awaken you and save you from the dream world (probably by blaring out Big Fun's Blame it on the Boogie, this being 1989 and all).

All in all, this little slice of shite is a obscure novelty that horror fans may want to take a look at. Anyone else could do far, far better. A Nightmare on Elm Street is mostly let down by the fact that the original concept sounded infinitely more entertaining. The all-knowing Wikipedia brings us this, the synopsis for the first prototype of the game:

"You ARE Freddy Krueger. A horde of obnoxious teenagers is trying to get rid of you by finding your scattered bones and burying them. The only way to stop them is to kill them. You can travel along Elm Street through the electrical and plumbing lines or step into a mirror and step in another room. The kids have weapons to battle you with and some of them even possess powerful "Dream Alter Egos" ...but if you can strike before they wake, they'll trouble you no more. So sharpen up your finger razors and get ready to slash, 'cause Freddy's here!"

Once again, the do-gooders stepped in, and thought Little Jimmy might shit himself and/or turn psychotic if he was subjected to that. So, instead, the roles were reversed, and we were left to punch hordes of snakes right in the face. Never mind. At least we still get to fight Freddy's disembodied head on a chain.

Finally, let's party like it's 1989 and take a look at this NES Nightmare in action:

Source of images: welcometoneko.

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