Halloween is tomorrow, and who better to celebrate it with than two icons of horror, Freddy Kruger and Jason Vorhees? This weekend we’ll have a special Lost Classic and Maximum Letdown. Oh yeah, and we got the $20 Game of the Week too.

Lost Classics: Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)
Loosely inspired by the franchise’s third film , Nightmare on Elm street on the NES had players attempting to dispose of Freddy Krugeur’s body by gathering his bones and destroying them, similar to Castlevania 2. All the while, players are attempting to stay awake by grabbing coffee cups. If they fall asleep, they end up in Freddy’s dream world, where enemies are tougher. If they stay there too long, they just might meet Freddy himself. If players collect one of the dream warrior icons however, then they gain special powers in the dream world. What was interesting about this game was that it was one of the few NES games to support 4 players, using either the NES satellite or the Four Score. It’s graphics and sound weren’t spectacular, but they were pretty solid for their era, and for a game published by LJN, it was actually pretty good. While it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was head and shoulders above most of the other games LJN put out, and if you had three friends with you, it was a fun co-op game.

Maximum Letdown: Friday the 13th (NES)
When the box art features Jason Vorhees surrounded by some shitty looking neon-tie-dye pastel paint job, you know trouble is ahead. The game itself pretty much gets worse from there as Jason wears an all-purple jumpsuit and a turquoise mask, as if he wants to be a mascot for the Charlotte Hornets. You play as one of several camp counselors, and you are tasked with surviving for 3 days and hunting down Jason before he kills the children or the other counselors. You can give the other counselors weapons and switch between them, and that’s a good thing too, as these guys must be some of the most stupid motherfuckers ever. When you’re not playing as them, they’ll simply stand there blankly and wait to get slaughtered by Jason. Oh, and you spend a good part of the game wandering aimlessly while throwing rocks at zombies too, and somewhere you have to do battle with the disembodied head of Jason’s mother. When Jason is closing in on one of the kids or counselors, then you’ll get a loud warning. When entering one of the cabins, you wander around in a pseudo FPS view until you find Jason, and engage him in what is essentially a poor man’s punch-out. I’m surprised that this game even got Nintendo’s gold seal of quality at all. Oh, not because it’s crap mind you (there were plenty of crap games that were given the gold seal after all), but because it features the wholesale slaughter of children. Friday the 13th, like most of LJN/Acclaim’s licensed titles, makes a complete mockery of the source material that’s barely unplayable. Licensing issues will most likely keep this game from being available on Virtual Console, and it’s not like you’d want to play it anyhow.

$20 Game of the Week: Silent Hill Homecoming (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Silent Hill Homecoming is the latest game. It is developed by western developer Double Helix games rather than Team Silent, and it makes a number of significant departures from previous Silent Hill titles. While it is far from perfect, it does a admirable job of bring Silent Hill to the current generation of consoles. You play as Alex Shepard. after coming home from his time in the military, he discovers that his father and brother have gone missing, his mother is in a catatonic state, and there are strange monsters roaming around town. It’s up to him to find his family and discover the truth about what’s happening to the town.

His army training makes combat more fluid than it has been in past Silent Hill titles. You can pull off strong attacks, weak attacks, combos, and even dodge maneuvers. To me however, this takes away from what made Silent Hill special. You usually played as a normal person caught up in abnormal events. You weren’t a special soldier, you didn’t have any special training, you were just an ordinary Joe (except maybe with Silent Hill 3’s Heather, but even considering her origins, she was still a normal teenager). Be that as it may, there is a bigger focus on combat here than in past entries. Level designs are a bit of a pain, as save points tend to be far and few between, although there are checkpoints, so if you get killed, you don’t have to repeat the last half hour of gameplay.

Being that this is an outside developer, you get the feeling that this is more of a fan-developed project than a full fledged Silent Hill title. Homages to earlier games in the series are everywhere, there is even a plot twist at the end reminiscent of Silent Hill 2, but even this feels forced, as it just doesn’t have the impact of James Sunderland’s actions in Silent Hill 2. One thing that the developers have got right is the mood. Akira Yamaoka, long time Silent Hiss composer is on board with the sound, and surround sound makes things sound disturbingly realistic. The shift into Silent Hill’s otherworld is handled different this time around. Just like in the movie, walls and ceilings peel apart to reveal the horrifying imagery beneath the surface. This may very well be the only time that a video game takes something from the movie that is based on said video game and makes it work in a way that improves the game. The Havok physics engine makes object behave realistically when you bump into them. As with any Silent Hill title, the way to play this game is late at night in a dimly lit room with surround sound speakers. Well, that is the way to play, but you’ll have trouble getting to sleep for a long time afterward.

While Silent Hill Homecoming is far from perfect, and die hard fans of the series will take issue with it, it does a good job of supplying gamers with classic horror action.