past, we've mentioned the Nightmare on Elm Street NES game in a big list of
Freddy's merchandising tie-ins. It's a great game, if you like
collecting femurs and beating up vermin. However, the grisly master of
nightmares was hardly content to limit himself to just one console. While
Nintendo owners were shaking their fists at giant spiders and satyrs
alike, those who had a PC or a Commodore 64 were treated to an entirely
different Elm Street experience. A "New Nightmare," if you will.
It was based off of the third film in the series, but despite that, it was
still given the less specific title, "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
Cutting edge graphics, no? By the way, this is all using the PC version.
The C64 version is kind of crummy-looking by comparison, and doesn't have
the same "vivid graphics" that the PC version boasts. Freddy would've
wanted it that way.
Anyway, the first step in your adventure is to pick which one of the
doomed teenagers you'd like to be. Except Joey. The game always starts off
with him in Freddy's clutches. Still, you do have five potential dream
warriors to choose from, each with a special power: Kincaid has a power
punch that allows him to "tunnel" where applicable; Kristen has her power
kick, which is a lot like Kincaid's power punch, minus the "tunneling";
Will has "Wizard Master" lightning bolts; Nancy can freeze time; and Taryn
can fling deadly knives. Of these abilities, the worst has got to be
Nancy's time freeze. It freezes the enemies in place for almost two
seconds, which is just enough time for you to switch over to a useful
weapon and maybe get a hit in. It's too bad really, because if she could
freeze some of the traps you run into later, I'd say she was the MOST
useful character. Oh well. Whoever you go with, you need to make your
If you wait around
on that character selection screen for too long, Freddy will start offing the other teens until there's
only one left for you to choose. Hopefully, not Nancy.
Once you've made your decision, you'll need to find Freddy's house
somewhere in scenic, densely-populated Springwood. And no, there's no "Elm
Street" signs anywhere on the roads. People must get lost in Springwood a
lot. Freddy will be hot on
your heels, but since this is only the first level, he'll be taking it
easy on you.
His house is
in a different place every time, but you'll recognize it immediately as
the one with the skeletal trees and the strobe lighting. Freddy likes to
Once you find Freddy's house, you'll get a short mission briefing from
Sister Mary Helena, aka Amanda Krueger, aka Freddy's mom. She appears
again throughout the game, dispensing cryptic hints, boosting your "soul"
(health) meter, and in general being a much better person than her son...
not that such a thing is hard to do.
The first floor is simple enough. You learn the basic mechanics of the
game while fighting off skeletons and avoiding small fires. Sure, there
are some odd decorations here and there, like the blinking area rugs, but
other than that, standard fare for your average haunted house. On the next
level, Freddy adds spike pits to the mix, as well as a familiar sight from
Even more sinister than the threat of impalement is the mere notion of
being repeatedly run over by a pack of marauding wheelchairs! Possibly the
only movie-related enemy in the game, apart from Freddy, they only show up
on this level, and once or twice on the rest of the levels. Speaking of
levels, level 2 marks the last of the haunted house styled ones, and
level 3 brings you the next style.
I don't quite remember the part in the movie where the teens journey
through corridors of green slime, but it works nonetheless. There's large
fungus growth all over the place, and here and there, you can spot some
dangerous whirlpools (or portals, depending on the situation). You also
get attacked by ghosts and globs of living slime as well, but it's hard to
get excited about that when you take into account the numerous bodies
covered in slime on the walls and floors. It's enough to make you forget
that brightly-colored ooze was never really Freddy's forte. That's more up
Anyway, level 5 introduces the next, slightly more familiar level design:
Levels 5 and 6 have a kind of skyscraper feel to them. Or maybe it's
supposed to be some sort of generic scary catwalk or the upper levels of
his boiler room. Whatever it is, it's
chock full of spikes, fires, and even some holes in the grating that open
and reseal themselves. Even worse, it also sports a few bothersome
button-pushing puzzles. What really caught my eye about these two levels,
though, were the scattered piles of writhing viscera:
For the most part, all they do is slow you down a little, but some will
heal you when you step on them. Mostly, though, they just creep you out
with their erratic wiggling.
The final two levels, prior to your showdown with Freddy, take on an ice
cavern motif. They still have bodies in the walls, as in the slime levels,
but in lieu of huge mushrooms and stagnant pools, the ice levels have
bloody footprints and snowmen with Freddy hats. Also on the level are
electrical beams and pits that open and close by themselves, just like the
spike pits and the holes on level 5, only these pits are really hard on
There's more to the game than just tearing ass through nightmarish
The other dream warriors prove themselves to be completely inept, and are
captured before the game even begins. You, whoever you choose to be, are
bestowed the task of recovering these pheebs because, as Our Lady of the
Perennial Horror Icon reminds you, you'll need their power (among other
things) in order to take Freddy out for good, or at least until his next
game comes out. Fortunately, you know which level each one is on, so it's
merely a matter of negotiating whatever tricks and traps are in store for
you in that particular part of the dream world.
To combat Freddy's army of ghosts and oozes and such, you'll find a number
of weapons spread throughout the levels. And, if you're not finding the
weapon you want, you can always swing by one of dream world's many vending
The prices are seriously steep, but what do you expect? This
nightmare, after all.
Instead of the normal melee weapons such as daggers, baseball bats, and
fire axes, the vending machines sells a couple specialty ones: the pick
(well, the pickaxe, not one of those small combs), and the chainsaw. What
do they have in common? Well, apart from having the same attack animation
(one shared by all the melee weapons except the dagger), they can both be
used for tunneling, just like Kincaid's power. Except that they can break
when you try to burrow through that pesky wall. Still, what do you expect
from a chainsaw that runs on batteries? You think Freddy's gonna stock
gasoline for a chainsaw in those vending machines? He already learned his
lesson with gasoline a while ago, thanks to some angry parents.
You can also buy batteries for said chainsaw and a couple other
energy-based weapons like the Ice Blaster and the Taser, or if you into
more conventional weaponry, you can get ammo for your pistol and/or
shotgun, and maybe a grenade or two. More importantly, though, you can buy
a magical map (which works on every level) and extra keys for use when the
game stops giving you keys for every door. Plus, you can grab a cup of
coffee to heal your soul meter a little. I assume it's Fair Trade Coffee,
as regular coffee is made by poor farmers like Juan Valdez as he gets his
head kicked in by that stinking mule while he tries to harvest those
beans. That sort of coffee can't be good for your soul, right? If coffee
just isn't enough, though, you can always go a step higher and get a
bottle of everyone's favorite dream-suppressing sleep medication, Hypnocil.
Grenades, chainsaws, and experimental drugs.
All this sounds pretty fun, right? You run around, pick up a key, open a
door, grab some coins, maybe throw some magic knives at a skeleton as you
run to pick up your chainsaw and tunnel through a wall to rescue your
captured friends with just enough time left to balk at a squirming pile of
red goo, right? Well, you'd be right, for the most part. Still, take a
look at this:
That's the game over screen; you die, Freddy licks his claws and taunts
you with one-liners like, "Thems the breaks, kid! Ha ha ha ha!" Why show
you this? Because playing this game, you'll be seeing this screen a LOT.
The first few levels aren't so bad, what with fighting off a few skeletons
and ghosts and such while avoiding the occasional possessed wheelchair.
However, around level 4, you'll start to notice that the difficulty is
scaling up rather quickly. Suddenly, you won't be dodging just one or two
traps, but whole rows of them, and soon, those dangerous pitfalls that
opened and closed will stay open, and you'll have to scramble across
during the split second when they're almost closed. Plus, skeletons and
oozes mysteriously gain the ability to shoot you with surprisingly deadly
Case in point…
the wheelchair was shooting grenades at me. Really, it was my
mistake in choosing to go investigate the source of those mysterious
explosions occurring on the other side of the wall. That said, I was
completely caught off guard. If you had asked me what I thought would
making such explosions, I can safely say that my answer would not have
been, "a heavily armed wheelchair."
click to enlarge
On the back of the box, where it lists all the features of the game such
as its "vivid graphics," the game's creators state that "Freddy cheats,"
that is, he teleports you into nasty traps, switches items around as you
approach them (in one scene, transforming a chainsaw into a pile of
batteries), turning out the lights on the level, and at times, he even
attacks you directly, materializing out of thin air or popping out of a
crate that you thought was full of goodies. Sure, a couple shotgun blasts
will send him packing temporarily, but as he leaves, he says that he'll go
have a talk with one of your friends, and then snatches some of the soul
away from one of your captured buddies. This might be the first game game
that proudly admits to cheating in order to make things harder on you.
Of course, all this is saying nothing about the puzzles themselves. Early
on, you'll just have to worry about finding keys for doors, but by the
end, you'll be facing puzzles where you pull levers to create invisible
warp zones, others wherein you must pick up nondescript objects and place
them in obscure locations, and a host of complicated mazes, none of which
can be tunneled through. In short, you'll feel just as doomed as those
poor bastards in the movie.
That said, I suppose I should show you the final battle with Freddy, if
for no better reason than to keep you from pulling out your own hair and
eventually suing me for making you bald because of a frustrating old PC
So here you are in the boiler room. It's the last level, and you've
rescued all your friends, and you've had the foresight to bring a
crucifix, so you aren't completely screwed. You've got until midnight to
get the crucifix, along with Freddy's hat and glove to the respective
spots around the level. Freddy's glove, by the way, is not a melee weapon,
although it will attack you if you pick it up and aren't carrying the
crucifix. Getting the hat and glove in the rights spots isn't too bad, but
the crucifix requires you to get through a hellacious maze of
lever-pulling and walking across spikes. With that done, all that remains
is for you to arm yourself, have one last chat with that nun, and face off
in his giant snake form just like the movie. Well, not just
like the movie, as he's got an even red and green-striped pattern, as
opposed to his greasy blood-and-slime coating in the movie. Also, he's
wearing the hat that you just ditched in some far off corner of the level.
It's just as well, though, as without the hat, he'd look like some sort of
festive Christmas earthworm. Provided you can survive the machine gun-like
stream of pellets fired from his mouth and slip in a few hits of your own,
you'll defeat Freddy, and you'll get to see the game's spectacular ending:
Oooh, aaaah! Granted, my humble gif can't bring you the scariness of the
eerie, PC speaker diddy that plays when that light comes on, but I think
you get the picture.
Despite the many, many deaths I suffered, and in spite of Freddy's
"cheating", the game is pretty fun. I wasn't having quite as much fun
toward the end when I was getting my ass handed to me every other minute,
but still a fun game. For those of you who want to experience the game
firsthand, I've included in the zip file a walkthrough that I found after
much searching online. Unfortunately, none of the pictures from the
walkthrough were included with the file, and the author's web site only
leads to a Star Wars fan site. It's almost as if… they were only a dream...
...or were they?
Questions or comments about this article?
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play this game on your PC!
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We strongly recommend downloading
DOSBox or some other DOS emulator to run this game with. It will make
the game run much better - especially with the sounds.
As previously stated, in case you get stuck, a Word document walktrhough is included in the .zip to
help you out.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
FREDDY'S 10 BEST KILLS!
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