A Nightmare on Elm Street (video game)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street
Cover art
Composer(s)David Wise
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System
  • NA: October 1990

Nightmare on Elm Street is a video game for use on the Nintendo Entertainment System and loosely based on A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. It was developed by Rare and published by LJN. It should not be confused with an unrelated game with the same title for the Commodore 64 and IBM PC released in 1989. This game was released in October 1990.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The game box and the manual contain the following synopsis:

“Something frightening has been happening on Elm Street lately. It seems that with each waking day another gruesome discovery is made... another neighborhood teen has mysteriously passed away into the dark stillness of the night. Everyone says it's "natural causes," but it seems as if something (or someone) has been picking them off one by one in their sleep. It's a horrible nightmare come true... and this nightmare has a name; Freddy Krueger. It's up to you and your remaining friends to search Elm Street for his bones, which have been scattered about, then collect and burn them in the High School furnace. If you can just stay awake long enough, you might be able to end Freddy's reign of terror for good. You had better hurry though, it's getting late and you can feel your eyelids getting heavier and heavier by the minute.”

The plot is a spin-off from the film series.

Original concept[edit | edit source]

According to the game magazines Nintendo Power and Nintendo of Europe,[1] the original concept of this game varied greatly from what was eventually released. In the original game concept, the players would control Freddy Krueger and should kill the teenagers who were attempting to gather his scattered bones in order to rebury them.[2]

Follows the synopsis of the prototype version 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!”

It is assumed that this version of the game had been cancelled to prevent controversy. Years earlier, a video game adaptation of the movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had been released for the Atari 2600, where the player controls the murderer with the objective to chase and kill victims.[3] The game was a financial failure because many sellers refused to sell it, fearing reprisals.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The game can be played by up to four players, either using the NES Satellite or NES Four Score.

The game is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player fights his way through different parts of Elm Street (houses, junk yard, etc.). Players fight enemies such as snakes and bats outside of houses and ghosts and other creatures inside.

Gameplay consists of a sleep meter that goes down slowly as the player progresses through the level, or if the player stands still. The sleep meter also goes down when the player takes damage. When the sleep meter runs out, the player character falls asleep and the screen colors change to darker colors and the enemies change and become harder to defeat. Scattered throughout the game are dream tokens that allow the player to change into dream characters with special abilities. Players can boost their sleep meter by picking up cups of coffee scattered throughout buildings, and wake up by finding a boombox. If the player does not touch a boombox to wake up or reach the level boss within a certain time while asleep, the background music will change to "One, Two, Freddy's Coming For You" and soon after, Freddy will appear to fight the player.

Throughout the levels, players collect Freddy Krueger's bones to throw into a furnace at the end of the game. Before completing each level, players must face a boss. Bosses include a giant Freddy glove with a long chain arm, a chomping Freddy head on a long chain neck, a floating Freddy hand and head, a bat with a vampire head, a ghost with a Freddy head, and Freddy Krueger himself. A defeated boss leaves behind a key, which when touched transports the player character back onto Elm Street.[4]

Controls vary between the teenager character and the dream characters in the game. For example, one of the dream characters has the ability to shoot projectiles and perform a higher jump.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Reviews for A Nightmare on Elm Street were mostly negative. The game is often compared to Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, due to the fact that the player moves around collecting pieces of Freddy's skeleton to revive Freddy, just like in Simon's Quest, when you revive Dracula by finding his pieces. Websites like Daily Dead.com targeted the Dream Warrior aspect, saying that it is a frustrating experience.

In 2013, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association released an exclusive figurine of the video game-style Freddy with the glove-less clawed hand to go along with their other Nintendo-esque horror figurine, a video game-style Jason Voorhees based on LJN's Friday the 13th game. [5][6]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "none". Nintendo Power (Nintendo) 2: 96. September 1989. "YOU are Freddy Kruger, terrorizing the neighborhood. This time it's you they have to fear on Elm Street." 
  2. http://dailydead.com/retro-gaming-review-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-nes/
  3. Cohen, D.S. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the Atari 2600 – The First Slasher Video Game". About.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  4. Cohen, D.S. "A Nightmare on Elm Street - Freddy's NES Nightmare". About.com. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  5. "NECA's 8-Bit Freddy Krueger Based On the 1989 NES Game!!!". Bloody Disgusting. August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  6. "SDCC Exclusive: Video Game Jason Voorhees Action Figure Coming to Comic-Con!". Neca Online. June 6, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 

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