The Vault: Brutal Hocket Mask!

It is fall…or at least fall is approaching. That means my favorite holiday coming! No, not Christmas! Halloween! What kid didn’t love dressing as their favorite monster and banging on people’s doors? I still try and convince my wife that I should put on a mask get candy. From now until Halloween I going to cover vintage spooky games or at least titles attempting to cover spooky things.

As a kid, horror villains like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers were all the rage. I remember catching glimpses of their massacres on various family members TVs and then not sleeping for weeks. During the height of their popularity, several games based on these lords of horror got released. My personal favorite was the Nintendo version of Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th actually gets listed as one of the worst games ever by many critics. Those critics are very wrong. They are entitled to their opinions, but I will continue to argue until the end of time that Friday the 13th is a great game. Sure it is hard. Brutally hard even, but it can be beat. It just takes practice and patience.There are still other Nintendo games out there I am convinced can’t be finished. I am looking at you, Super Pitfall!

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If you have seen the films, then you kind of know what you are in for with Friday the 13th. Jason is frolicking, causing murder and mayhem all over Camp Crystal Lake and the counselors are trying to stop him. You pick your counselor of choice. Each of them has various playing ability. Some run fast, others jump high, or attack faster. Truth be told as long as you don’t pick George, you will be ok. He is crappy at everything.

Playing the game is pretty easy. Move, jump, attack and pause are about all your controls. The hard part is keeping everyone alive. Jason will attack counselors not in use or the kids main cabin site. You chase after him trying save them. Nothing makes you feel more hopeless that a run in with Jason. Jason’s life meter is a thing of awe. It would take thousands of rocks to kill the masked momma’s boy. Finding one of the better weapons is the only way to win. Other baddies like bats, spiders, and zombie litter the camp trails slowing you down. That aspect is dumb, but what do you expect from a ‘80s Nintendo game?

Jason is the highlight of the game. He is the whole reason to play. Walking away from one of his roving battles is like a pat on the back. You made it. Next time you won’t, so enjoy it while it lasts. What is really hard to justify about Friday the 13th is that you actually need to kill him three times to win.

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After decades of playing this game off and on, it eventually took several friends to finish it. We passed the controller around, and after a very late night with dozens of tries as the sun rose, we killed Jason. Those are the kind of moments that make us gamers. Those critics just see a hard game, but they are missing the point. Dark Souls is called insanely hard. Lots of people love Dark Souls. I am just shocked at how many people can love the challenge of Dark Souls and then shun Friday the 13th for the same thing. I would think it’d appeal to the same type of gamers. Maybe I am just crazy for being fond of this game.

On top of Halloween approaching, this Friday is actually Friday the 13th. It might not a bad idea to find a copy. I am not sure I have ever been to a flea market where someone wasn’t trying to sell a copy. Well, that might be a little much. I think all the Friday the 13th films are up on Netflix. Watch those instead for safe measure. Next time someone calls Friday the 13th the worse game ever, ask them if they have played it for more than a few minutes? When they say, “No it is too hard,” you have my permission to call them a sissy. They deserve it.

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