Friday the 13th (NES)

The movies don't suck, while the video game completely does.

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  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1
  • US Release: June 1990
  • Developer: Pack-in Video
  • Publisher: LJN Ltd.

It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is this month. If you’re anything like me, Valentine’s Day is a day for homicidal rage. In honor of this, I’ve reviewed Friday the 13th for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game is sort of based on the hit series of movies where Jason Voorhees, an unkillable psychopath, slaughters teenagers who have been drinking beer, having sex, and smoking pot. I say “sort of based” because the movies don’t suck, while the video game completely does. 


In Friday the 13th you play as one of six different camp counselors who has to stop Jason Voorhees from killing the other five counselors as well as fifteen children who are all randomly scattered around the map.

In order to defeat Jason, you have a variety of weapons to find, like a knife that you find lying in the woods, or a torch that magically does not burn the floor of the cabin in which it resides. These weapons range from “a minute shred” to “completely devoid” in their amount of usefulness against Jason.

Although your weapons aren’t very effective, do not worry, because you’ll get plenty of opportunities to try and fail to kill Jason. In fact, trying to kill Jason takes up a significant portion of the gameplay. Well, that and getting killed by Jason’s mother, but most people aren’t going to make it as far as Jason’s mother before discovering that whatever shitty movie is being shown on Comedy Central is bound to be more entertaining than the Friday the 13th video game. 

There isn’t much to the gameplay. Basically, you wander around hoping Jason attacks a cabin some time soon, since the only goal of the game is to kill Jason, and he doesn’t show up on your map unless he’s attacking a cabin. Meanwhile, as you wander around in the woods, you have to fight off zombies, wolves, and birds. I find it interesting that in the battle between Jason Voorhees the insane murderer, and a bunch of teenage camp counselors, that nature is on Jason’s side. Well, nature and zombies, that is.

Aside from the “choose your counselor” screen, and Jason’s mother, there aren’t any faces in the game. Whenever you see a fellow counselor in their cabin, there is a blank space where their face should be. Though I kind of like the idea that none of the counselors has a face. I’ve seen every Jason movie multiple times, and to be honest, aside from Kevin Bacon, I can’t remember the face of a single one of Jason’s victims.

In closing, I’d just like to mention that drugs and sex have always been a staple of the Friday the 13th movie series, but of course, these key elements were left out by Nintendo. In order to ensure maximum realism for my gaming experience, I smoked a bunch of catnip and jerked off while playing the game. Just for good measure, I did the same when writing this review.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 2 - Very Bad
  • Score Breakdown

  • Fun Score: 2
  • Audio Score: 3
  • Visuals Score: 4
  • Controls Score: 3
  • Replay Value: 1
4 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 104 votes, average: 5.75 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2005 to 2007

Zack Huffman is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.


  1. Yeah, I owned this game. When Jason would appear at a random corner in the cabin areas, it would scare the shit out of me.

    No mention of the horrible map system? The game is a sidescroller, and you can go left or right, but depending on where you are in the circle, moving right would either move you clockwise or counterclockwise around the camp. You’d have to check the map, move a screen over, and then check the map again just to orient yourself. How about a god damn arrow on the minimap indicating which direction I’m currently facing, or, you know, don’t project a circle on to a game world where you only move left or right!

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