Friday the 13th (NES)

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Friday the 13th (NES)
Friday the 13th box.jpg
Beat this crappy game... if you can!
Genre: Survival horror
Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: February 1989
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: LJN
Franchise: Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a video game made by Atlus and published by the infamous LJN. It is based on the iconic horror film franchise of the same name. This game is considered by many to be one of the worst games of all time.


Camp counselors must protect the children and themselves from Jason Voorhees and his army of zombies, crows, wolves, fishmen and the severed head of his mother, Pamela Voorhees. The children and counselors must survive for three days or face Jason.


Gamers can choose between six counselors, each with different jumping skills and speed. By killing enemies you can make items appear such as potions, weapons, and a key to unlock Jason's mother's house.

Bad Qualities

  1. The map is a top-down 2D map which shows branching paths while the main mode of gameplay takes place on side-scrolling 2D zones, making the game world confusing to navigate. It also takes time getting used to the directions, as it first seems like the player is going in one direction only to turn out they are headed in the opposite.
  2. Some counselors suck. Due to the different skills, some can have low jumping skills and it will be difficult to dodge enemies.
  3. The forest and cave areas are extremely difficult to navigate, due to little to no change in the areas and there is no indication to show which part you are in.
  4. When facing Jason on the roads, he moves lightning fast and throws weapons, making it extremely difficult to dodge his attacks and chase him away.
    • He's also too tall to jump over without pixel-perfect jumping precision.
  5. The default weapon, the rock, arcs over enemies. If you have the rock, it's important to duck and throw it unless one stands far away enough or up close to the target.
  6. Poor grasp of the source material. For example, in the movies Jason doesn't kill children, but he does in this game.
  7. Repetitive gameplay - You have to defeat Jason 3 times to win the game.
  8. Annoying music that loops after only a couple of seconds.
  9. The 3D indoor sections have terrible controls and you can easily get lost due to almost every part of each cabin looking the exact same.
  10. You constantly have to stop what you're doing and haul ass to practically the other side of the map if Jason targets some of the children.
  11. Broken and convoluted weapon progression system - The final weapon (the pitchfork) is weak against Jason, one weapon can be skipped entirely due to the method of unlocking the torch (Jason's weakness), unlocking the torch is hard to figure out (light every fireplace in the game and pick up a flashlight that will suddenly appear in the cabin) and you're likely to not even get the flashlight even if you do meet the conditions (due to a glitch it is possible to light a fireplace and have the game not realize you lit it, and the flashlight disappears if you don't immediately pick it up).
  12. Pamela Voorhees (Jason's mother) looks like the Medusa heads from the Castlevania series and Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist thrown together in a blender.
  13. Killed counselors and children can't be revived.
  14. You can't attack while jumping.

Good Qualities

  1. Decent hit detection.
  2. A "Retro Jason" skin based off of Jason's look in this game was added to the vastly-superior Friday the 13th: The Game in 2017, complete with a chiptune-style theme.


Game Informer lists the game among the worst horror games of all time. Author Andy Slaven called it a horrible translation of the films. Michigan Daily's Matt Grandstaff called it a "poor offering" by LJN. GamePro listed it as the 10th worst video game based on a film, criticizing its "repetitive music score and amazingly frustrating gameplay".

GamesRadar's Mikel Reparaz criticized its box, commenting that only LJN "would ever think to surround Jason Voorhees with neon-pastel vomit, thereby making him even more of an ‘80s relic than he already is." Writer Christopher Grant commented that the game was more terrible than the deaths of the campers in the first Friday the 13th film, calling it "craptacular".

IGN's Levi Buchanan used this game as an example of LJN's poor development abilities. The book Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time criticizes it for not being frightening, citing technical reasons for this.

The authors of Nintendo Power rated Friday the 13th as the sixth worst game ever made in the magazine's September 1997 issue. The writer stated "After playing a few minutes of this aardvark, you wanted Jason to slaughter all the counselors and then you. Anything so it would just end." Joystiq's James Ransom-Wiley noted it as a game that the staff "loved to hate." The Daily News of Los Angeles, however, noted it as a hit.

The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed (and after defeating Jason himself) personally declared this game to be terrible.