Hollywood and Elm Part 8 – A Nightmare on Elm Street Computer Game (1989)

With digital home entertainment becoming the next thing, a lot of films wanted to get in on the profit potential. Yet, the limited interfaces, nor the rudimentary devices of the time, did little to hamper the ingenuity and creativity of the designers. In 1989, home computer users could now behold the terror of going up against the likes of Freddy Kruger himself, in the home computer version of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The Dream Warriors have their own unique abilities, as you pick from six prime candidates.

You play as one of the six Dream Warriors, and Nancy herself, in a quest to rid of Freddy for good. Your objective is to avoid Freddy to make it to the infamous Elm Street house, and down into the deep below. Inside, you must survive ten rooms filled with traps, monsters and nightmarish obstacles that live up to the franchise’s name. You better keep your wits about you as you scavenge items and finally put an end to Freddy and his nightmarish hold over the titular Elm Street.

The narration gives the experience a Role Playing Game feel, not what you would expect from a Nightmare on Elm Street computer game

Text appears at the bottom of the screen like a Dungeon Master throwing them at you from across the board. Not what you would expect from a video game tie-in at the time, yet the experience fits the themes and imagery of the fabled franchise rather well. You collect coffee and other items to give you a quick boost, and you’ll need it. Dealing with foes like haunted wheelchairs (the fear factor of which should be familiar to those who have played Silent Hill: The Room) or protruding spikes from the ground. Occasionally, Freddy will be a jerk and end up turning off the light, severely impacting vision and other tricks to try to impede your progress, stalking you and trying to drain your energy before even entering the house.

While some differences exist depending on what computer you use, The Commodore 64’s rendition of Freddy’s theme and its look is fun enough!

For those familiar with the dungeon-crawling action of Gauntlet, this game is a prime example. Your primary goal is trying to find their way lower down each level. Each of the Dream Warriors has a unique ability to help navigate the dungeons that lurk in the house, although the gameplay is mostly similar regardless. Subtle differences exist depending on what computer you’re playing A Nightmare on Elm Street on, for the Commodore 64 edition. The SID chiptune rendition of Freddy’s theme is a very welcome touch, and the game looks well enough for a late 80s home release too.

Freddy is his trademark self, both outside and in the famous Elm Street house!

Before the advent of asynchronous multiplayer, computerising a slasher film was a tall task today, never mind in the late 80s. Still faced with adversity, the enigmatic Monarch Software turned to one of the most unlikely places for some inspired gameplay.  The theme and mechanics do manage to complement each other, in an era where film tie-ins didn’t typically receive such treatment. Your mind may turn to prejudicial notions of E.T. yet A Nightmare on Elm Street manages to bulk a lot of the perceived baggage to offer something a lot more entertaining than first appears. In a field full of fear and failure, Freddy flourishes.

Some of the screens do evoke Freddy’s future final apperence!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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