The Snake Becomes The Key

Retro Gaming Humour

Friday the 13th: If you go down to the woods today, make sure you turn down the volume.

Words:Stuart Hunt

We take a quick trip to Camp Crystal Lake, disturb the infamous hockey loving weak swimmer, and then try and organise a Parish Council meeting.

When I was younger I distinctively remember only playing this game with the lights on, the volume rammed down and at least one other person being within screaming distance. To say this game scared the bejesus out of me is no slight exaggeration.

Domark’s trouser destroying retelling of the Friday the 13th story basically plays out like a game of, wink, wink you’re dead, but deployed with strange subliminal scare tactics. The game’s surreal use of the chirpy tune, the teddy bears’ picnic, suddenly shattered by a digitised, high pitched scream and an image of a horrific, pixel-loaded, mangulated, machete introduced face, was enough to turn even gang land bosses into blubbering pant peeing wrecks.

Another poor showing for service this Sunday

In the game, you took charge of one of the camp’s ten co-ordinators and ran around a bright looking Crystal Lake trying to determine which one of your friends Jason was deviously doppelganging. Occasionally (if you were really unfortunate) the aforementioned sadomasochistic screenshot would flash up, coupled with a horrific heart-hurting scream, that would shoot you up out of your seat and shatter every nerve in your body.

To save your friends, you had to find the ornamental cross, deposit it in the church and then run around the campsite telling everyone to head inside for an emergency meeting. Once inside, over sweet tea and malted milks, the doomed sprites brainstormed ideas on how best to stop the black pyjama killer. Stupid suggestions such as ‘bake him a cake’ or ‘buy him a pet’ get bandied around the church hall and there is always one cocky counselor that tries to move the discussion towards the lack of facilities around the campsite; one archery board.

Anyway, everytime I played the game the meeting always closed with the same answer:
Wield one of the many yellow weapons scattered around the campsite and put a stop to the pale-faced prowler before he reaches the church, kills everyone and you’re left the arduous task of running a whole campsite alone. Jerkfaces.


February 14, 2007 - Posted by | Movie Tie-Ins, Stuart Hunt


  1. Well, this game was trashed in the magazines, IIRC. Yet – and despite my inability to progress far into the game – I, too, found it to be scary in a way that only 8-bitter games could be – sparse gfx, low-level sound and some cues (atmospheric settings, the scream) that would finish you off. The memories…

    Comment by Gryzor | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hey buddy!

    Yea it’s a wierd one. I too actually dug the game; I was a fan of the movie so that prolly helped. It was kind of cool running around the camp trying to work out who was the killer. The 464 game was a port from an earlier Atari game (I believe) which might explain the poor graphics I guess. There’s a NES version I played a while ago. It had better graphics, but I prefered this version.



    Comment by thesnakebecomesthekey | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. I never played this, but the idea of the random fright sounds fantastic. I guess it’s not the same knowing about it, but I can’t imagine how scary it must have been the first time it happened.

    Comment by Sean | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hey Sean,

    Check out this link. This guy includes a sound file of the music and that horrific scream. I’ll try an find you a pic of the horrific pixel loaded, mangulated, machete introduced face lol. If I can get hold of one, i’ll post it up for you.


    P.S I’ve changed the post slightly It wasn’t finished when I posted it before…must stop doing that really!

    Comment by thesnakebecomesthekey | February 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. The loading screen can be seen here (sorry, don’t know how to hot-link):

    Not as scary as I remembered it, but heck, I’m 30 now 😀

    Another game that had me scared during loading: Trantor. I remember the first time I had loaded it up, alone at home, had left the room; and then, out of nowhere, a loud mangled 8-bit voice: “TRANTOR – THE LAST STORM TROOPER”! Mind you, this was well before sampled speech became usual, so it had quite a startle factor…

    Comment by Gryzor | February 16, 2007 | Reply

  6. Heeeey where’s some new review?? Huh? 🙂

    Comment by Gryzor | March 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. Hey Gryzor! Should have a new post up today, Stu’s been in hospital with kidney stones and i’ve been lazy + revising, you’re right, time for an update.

    Comment by chris | March 7, 2007 | Reply

  8. Arghhhhh that hurts like hell! Hope he gets over it soon – wish him well from me 🙂

    Looking forward!

    Comment by Gryzor | March 8, 2007 | Reply

  9. Hey Gryzor!

    Sorry for the poor show of posts recently, Chris I believe mentioned that I’ve been in hospital with Kindey stones and I can confirm the jerks do hurt like hell. Thanks for the well wishes – I’m feeling better now.

    I’ve just posted a new review today and Chris is putting one up sometime this weekend. Chris mentioned that we’re nearing our final exams at the moment so we’re really busy at the moment with revison. We are going to try and get at least one new post up a week between us but things will get back to normal quite soon.

    All the best mate.


    Comment by thesnakebecomesthekey | March 10, 2007 | Reply

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