Jason Voorhees is one tenacious bastard, isn’t he? He has enjoyed one of the most successful post-mortem careers in showbiz, with countless sequels and remakes. Hell, even his mask is now arguably more famous as his visage than any connection to the actual sport of hockey. His mama would certainly be proud. His videogame career is a bit of a different story, however. Despite his career coinciding with the birth of the industry, he has barely been adapted successfully. Namco’s Splatterhouse ripped him off nicely but where’s the genuine article? Where is Friday the 13th?
Enter IllFonic. Through one of the most dedicated fan projects of all time, they have adapted the films ingeniously in this title. One player taking the role of the killer and four others becoming potential victims creates a tense and captivating recreation of the original’s slasher scenarios. Think Left 4 Dead’s survivor versus special infected mode except the infected are replaced by an armoured tank dedicated to butchering teenagers.
Eight maps based on the series locations are included, lovingly recreated and full of fun ways to execute teens. A selection of costumes based on Jason’s various appearances are wonderful incentives to progress in Friday the 13th. The original composer returns with some brilliantly atmospheric work. Pamela Voorhees commenting on your killing sprees? A truly beautiful touch. Jason’s various powers work with the logic of movies monsters, allowing you to appear out of nowhere and have an almost omnipotent ability to find your prey.
Jason Goes to Hell
Although rivaling Rasputin in terms of avoiding death, Jason has finally met his greatest weakness: glitches. Indeed Friday the 13th is host to a huge selection of bugs and imperfections, small and large. Making the leap to the Switch from stronger hardware has been a rough trip. The hardware’s lack of built-in ethernet port is fatal for online play, let alone the handheld component.
Affecting the game further are issues like slow-loading textures, harsh audio and an overall lack of visual clarity. The frame rate can tank completely in close quarters scenarios leading to inevitably hugely frustrating moments. Even playing against bots these issues seemed prevalent, the game’s inherent jank even messing with the plans of AI.
Offline challenges are a more stable playground for murder and survival but this game was clearly intended as a multiplayer bonanza. A lot of these issues are due to legal issues behind the scenes but such rough edges are hard to excuse.
The Final Chapter
Devotees of the series are sadly already used to inconsistent quality and may have enough patience to push past these issues. However, its faults make it impossible to fully recommend. Clearly much love has been poured into this and hopefully one day the chance to polish it to perfection should arise. The last we saw of Jason was in dream limbo with Freddy Kreuger and maybe that’s where the big fella should stay for now. Quietly dreaming of the chance to kill again, in peace.
(Unless we’re counting Jason X‘s ending but who has time for that eh?)
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