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A Nightmare on Elm Street - Freddy's forgotten PC game!
by: Dr. Boogie

In the 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."

Take that, copyright information!

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.

Man, those are some red lips, Kincaid.
Vivid graphics!

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 choice quickly…

Get the lead out, sleepyhead!

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.

1... 2... Freddy's coming for you...

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.

Big party at Freddy's house!

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 party.

Boy is my face red! Nunsense!

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.

Keep that damn dog away from my rug!

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 the movie:

Come on, sit on me!

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.

Watch your step.

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 Slimer's alley.

Anyway, level 5 introduces the next, slightly more familiar level design:

Freddy killed Lassie!

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:

I suddenly feel like having liver and onions.

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.

Bring your snow tires.

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 your soul.

There's more to the game than just tearing ass through nightmarish dreamscapes.

Thanks for the help, guys.

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 machines:

Hmm, a chainsaw, or six cups of coffee...

The prices are seriously steep, but what do you expect? This is a 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:

Mmm, delicious.

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 projectiles.

Case in point…

You shouldn't have parked in that handicapped space!

That right, 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
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 game.

Commodore 64 version not pictured.

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 with Freddy!

Indiana Jones' nightmare. "We come fer yer daughter, Chuck!"


Behold! He's 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:

Dun dun DUUUUN!!!

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 original 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...

Cutting edge graphics!
...or were they?

Questions or comments about this article?
Email Dr. Boogie

You too can play this game on your PC!


note #1: 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.

note #2: As previously stated, in case you get stuck, a Word document walktrhough is included in the .zip to help you out.

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