Horror movies are often turned into video games if they are popular enough. The NES brought many of the silver screen terrors to the video game screen with mixed results. On the lower end of the mix, here are the worst movie-spawned horror games for the NES.
“Friday the 13th”
This was a pretty standard NES game in terms of game play, which featured running and jumping in a 2-D environment and occasionally entering cabins which appeared in an over-the-shoulder 3-D mode. This game had monsters which spawned around the pathways that encircled Camp Crystal Lake and a couple of bosses. One boss was a floating, Medusa-like head that was supposed to be Jason’s mother, and the other was Jason himself. The main goal of this game was supposed to be to rescue the kids and then kill Jason, but you could simply skip the kids and head straight for the bosses, allowing you to complete the game in under 10 minutes.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”
Freddy gets into the NES act in a game that centers around collecting Freddy’s bones, fighting Freddy, and burning his bones to kill him. Along the way you are hassled by various enemies likes worms and spiders (most of the enemies in this game did not appear in the movie). If you are a fan of the Freddy movies, this game was a must own and probably seemed pretty cool, but if you found Freddy passe, this game was the REAL nightmare, as it had poor controls and grating music.
If man-eating sharks are your cup of tea, this title offers one of cinema’s most famous. You cavort around underwater shooting stingrays and jellyfish along with a few sharks. Jaws appears eventually, but he is undoubtedly one of the most underwhelming bosses ever to appear in a video game. He swims at you very slowly and doesn’t even look terribly menacing. He is easy to avoid, and it only takes patience to finish him off. He does have a lot of health, but this does nothing to make him much of a threat.
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
Based loosely on the movie and book, this is a 2-D side scroller that is E.T. (as in one of the worst video games of all time) bad. You play as Dr. Jekyll and avoid things like pooping birds and crazy cats. From time to time you turn into Hyde and have more powerful attacks, but all the game play is ridiculously slow and plodding, and trying to finish is a monumental chore. There are two endings, however, but neither is worth playing the game for.
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
Based loosely on the movie, this game will have you dying a lot of needless deaths. Aside from being a very difficult game, it is also poorly designed. The maze-like castles and locales do not give the player a very good idea where he is supposed to go. Some “walls” can be jumped through, while others are solid. It’s the same with the flooring. Sometimes it is solid, and other identical flooring crumbles inexplicably. If you are looking for a good vampire game on the NES, stick with Castlevania.
You have to wonder if the movie studios that granted the rights for these games to be made ever actually played them. If they had, perhaps they would have demanded that the games at least have some of the horror coming from the game play and not the poor quality of the games themselves.