Total time played: 40 minute play though, a month of trial and error.
Short review: My favorite of the LJN games. The controls are better than average, the game is easy to understand and it follows the source material story in a halfway believable fashion.
Interesting links related to A Nightmare On Elm Street
- My play through of the game
- Tool Assisted Speedrun (13 minutes 25 seconds)
- Four Player Speedrun
- Guitar cover of the NES soundtrack
- Video Review by The Angry Video Game Nerd
- Video Review by The LJN Defender
I woke up Halloween morning and was in the mood to play a “scary” game and decided to give A Nightmare on Elm Street a shot. I picked up the game in high school at a yard sale and popped it in once, played 5 minutes and decided it was better than Friday the 13th but not worth my time. Almost 20 years later I gave the game another shot, a month later I finally beat it.
As it turns out I really like the game. It isn’t an all time classic by any means but it is my favorite of the LJN stinkers. The game is pretty straight forward, you must enter all of the houses on Elm St and find all of Freddy’s bones and burn them in the furnace at the school where Freddy died.
For once, an NES game somewhat follows the story of the source material. In the movies Freddy is burned in the school furnace by the parents of the kids he killed. At some point his bones are buried in a junk yard and later resurrected. (that retelling of the story is from my memory and very likely not 100% accurate).
Side note: When I was 8 and my brother was 5 we spent the night with my grandparents. I saw in the TV guide that one of the Freddy Krueger movies was on HBO that night. I knew we weren’t allowed to watch the movie and I also knew my brother would tell my parents if we did. I convinced him we were watching The Karate Kid. But, the next day when he told my parents we watched The Karate Kid and his favorite part was when the dog peed fire and the ground opened up they knew something was up. But, I convinced my parents that he was just making up stories and the movie we watched was just full of karate.
Back to the game. The game features a sleeveless shirt wearing protagonist who must find all of Freddy’s bones and destroy them. You start at one end of Elm St and are faced with an onslaught of snakes, Frankensteins, bats and falling rocks. The street scenes aren’t bad at all and are just a means to walk between levels. The level layout is as follows:
There isn’t much in each level to let you know where you are. In the graveyard there are a couple of graves and in the school there are a few lockers but other than that it is just your typical video game levels.
You have 4 hit points, these are not displayed on the screen so I was never sure how many times I had been hit until I died. You also have a meter at the top of the screen that slowly decreases as you progress through the stage. If you stand still it goes down faster. This is your sleep meter. If you fall asleep you are greeted with a short animation of the screen changing and the enemies changing. When this happens you gain the ability to transform into a ninja, a guy in shorts or a wizard. Each has special abilities which make the levels easier. I prefer the wizard as he shoots the farthest projectile and jumps the highest.
The problem is, if you stay asleep too long you must fight Freddy. However, he is not difficult at all. Throughout each stage you can pick up coffee that refills your sleep meter if you are awake or a boombox to wake up once you are asleep (the boombox music is the same music as the race music from R.C. Pro Am). This is an interesting gimmick that actually works. It makes sense based on the source material and the game plays differently while you are asleep, it also makes sense that you would fall asleep faster standing still than you would jumping over holes and punching rats in the face.
Each boss in the game is a different form of Freddy, his glove, his head which spits tongues at you, floating head/glove combo, bat Freddy and ghost Freddy. This also flows with the movies as Freddy was always transforming into something other than himself to kill his victims.
The final boss of the game is a boss rush mode. This means you must fight all 7 versions of Freddy back to back. Luckily none of the bosses are that tough and have very predictable patterns. Once defeated you throw all of the bones you found throughout the game into the school furnace and are presented with the end screen.
I would also like to note how much I enjoy the music throughout this game. I found a lot of the melodies to be scary (for an NES game). The music all fits the game and is some of my favorite on the system.
- This is the first game I recorded myself playing. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties and the first half of the game didn’t record.