When it comes to movie franchise cash-ins its fair to say that the videogame industry has had its share of hits and misses. Sadly despite the quality of games such as Alien 3 for the Sega Megadrive and Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 the majority of the videogames based on a movie franchise are either poorly made or have little connection to the source material aside from branding. This of course has gotten better as gaming moved into vogue but for the most part games based on a movie still fail to compete.
Ranking highly amongst the greatest failures in Hollywood cash-ins is LJN’s 1989 release of “Friday the 13th” on NES. One Part platformer and one part survival horror the game was plagued with poor level design, below par graphics, horrid audio and even worse gameplay. At a time when the horror game genre was in its infancy “Friday the 13th” contributed to nintendo’s lack of interest in mature games ensuring that titles such as “Sweet Home” and the original “Clock Tower” never saw a release outside of Japan, effectively stunting the growth of the survival horror sub-genre until the release of “Resident Evil” some 7 years later.
Fortunately times have changed and now some 27 years later developers Gun Media hope to set things right with their announcement at E3 of a new Friday the 13th video game in development.
Staying true to the source material this new Friday the 13th takes us back to where it all began at the iconic crystal lake. Playing either as the camp councilors or as Jason himself players will embark on a lethal game of cat and mouse. Will the councillors survive the night or will Jason exact his bloody revenge? it all comes down to the skill of the player.
Befitting his role as the supernatural slasher Jason is outfitted with a variety of paranormal abilities. Alongside his trusty machete players will also be able to unlock the ability to detect the location of nearby councillors in addition to being able to teleport anywhere on the map with the exception of inside buildings. As if this wasn’t bad enough players seeking refuge with the cabins will quickly discover that Jason has equipped himself with a combination of motion based radar and life detecting vision ensuring that there really is nowhere to hide.
For the successful hunter Friday the 13th has provided a range of methods to dispatch your prey. If stabbing and slashing is not your thing then fear not for the developers have included a variety of environmental kills such as crushing their skulls against cabins or shattering their spine with a well placed boot.
Players unfortunate enough to find themselves in the role of the camp councillors will have to rely on both stealth and ingenuity to defeat their monstrous foe in a style reminiscent of Alien: Isolation. Torchlights, radios and suspiciously open windows provide ample distraction opportunities whilst you either cower beneath a bed or flee into the night. With no option to use your friends as a scapegoat it will be every man for themselves as they fight to survive.
In addition to the gratuitous combat features “Friday the 13th” includes a range of extras sure to delight even the harshest critics. Cinephiles will be able to create their own 1980’s style horror trailers using the gameplay from their matches and share them amongst their friends whilst more competitive gamers will be able to focus on improving their councillors stats to create the ultimate survivor.
Though the game is still in Alpha the initial gameplay footage has proved promising. Gun Media hope to include many more extras through the finances generated via their kickstarter project which has already raised close to 1 Million dollars in funding at the time this review was written. Additional funding will contributed to the development of supplemental levels and scenarios based on later films in the series such as “Jason takes Manhattan” and “Jason X” and the inclusion of Iconic characters Pamela Vorhees and Tommy Jarvis. Alongside the new levels and characters will also be a selection of environmental kills based on memorable scenes from the franchise such as the backbreaker from part VI and the decapitations from part VIII.
With a release planned for October this year Halloween 2016 is set to be a bloody affair. The camp is open, survive if you can.
Chris Senz is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2.