It’s that time of year again, eh? Scary things, ghosts, goblins, bats, and so on. We’re gonna travel back in time for this next entry to the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Developed by Rare and published by LJN, A Nightmare on Elm Street brought a simple but fun experience to gamers back in 1990.

The plot of the game is a simple one similar to the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Freddy Krueger is on the hunt and killing kids as their sleep all throughout Elm Street. You (and possibly up to three other friends in-game) are to search for Freddy’s bones and burn them. Just be careful to get this all done and not fall asleep like the poor kids who did beforehand. We all know what happens when you fall asleep when Freddy Krueger is around.


  • Ability to play with up to three other players (if you have a 4-player adapter)
  • Various level to explore while collecting the bones of Freddy Krueger
  • Different character abilities at night mix up the gameplay
  • Horror theme is consistent throughout the game
  • If you happen to fall asleep and have to fight Freddy in your dreams


  • Accessing each level one by one can be a chore
  • Day-to-night transitions
  • Daytime combat is boring in comparison to your options during nighttime


A Nightmare on Elm Street is a simple game in which admittedly didn’t do all that well and most people viewed as a bad game, has its own charm to offer, even if not done the best at times. The game is a simple side-scrolling platformer in which you control a generic character who fights through various part of Elm Street. The “street area” is where you access every level. The game quickly shows some flaws here. You can press up to go into various doorways from here and/or go up a flight of stairs. Even if you know the layout of the entire street, that very first staircase isn’t necessarily where to go to get to the first level and the order always changes. To make things a bit more confusing, you can sometimes go through what appear to be closed doors.

In each level (as well as the street area if you take long enough) you collect bones and get to an exit. You cannot exit any given screen until you collect all the bones, making the game not just a simple, run to the right and proceed ordeal. The game has a timer known as a “sleep meter” throughout your adventures. This goes down even quicker as you take hits. If it turns into nighttime, the enemies (generics ghosts, bat, and so on) become stronger to kill. In exchange, you also get access various abilities, depending on the level you are in, via dream tokens. This gives you access to three different abilities you can use that have range so you don’t have melee your enemies. Within this time, you must keep yourself awake by collecting cups of coffee (giving you more time) or getting a boombox which will put you back in daytime. Failure to do so will put you into a fight scene with Freddy Krueger himself.

The game is relatively short and simple, with semi-challenging boss fights at the end of each level to keep things exciting. It is a limited experience for sure, but one that can be enjoyed if you accept it for what it is. “B-rated movies” aren’t exactly top of the line films. The same can be said about this game. Not spectacular but enough to enjoy to keep you interested.


Cover image via


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Categories: Video Game Reviews

Author:Victor Vellon

Victor has been gaming since his early childhood and plays many games. From retro to modern, his gaming knows no bounds. When not writing or playing games, he can be found engaging conversation on the Twitterverse as well as managing Video Gaming Hard Corps and it's many outlets.

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