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Kill Them – Kill Them All, Jason

Jason always starts the match in his shrine. There is a map available, but it doesn’t show the locations of any of the victims. As he gets further into the camp, he uses his sense ability to hone in on noises being made by the counselors as well as being able to detect anyone whose fear is on high (maybe they just saw a dead body or find themselves alone and in the dark). All of his abilities – morph, stalk, sense, shift, and rage – have warm-up and cooldown times. You are immediately able to morph at the beginning of the game, but being able to ‘stalk,’ which allows him to sneak up on his victims mostly undetected, and utilize ‘rage,’ which allows him to break down doors and some walls, take time to build, creating a nice sense of climax in these short 20-minute matches.

Things like ‘rage’ and ‘stalk’ are quintessential Jason. Every film is divided between those first kills, where neither the audience nor his vicim sees what’s coming (a knife enters the screen and slides across a throat before the poor soul knows what hit him), and the final kills, where Jason goes into full ‘rage’ mode, loudly bashing in doors and making his intimidating presence known. Jason also has the ability to set traps for the campers to fall into. One of the more effective and diabolical maneuvers is finding a cabin with a few scared counselors and setting traps underneath all of the windows. There is a playful trickery in the way that Jason operates in this game that really brings what could have been just a bloody version of hide and seek to life.

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Almost Unbeatable

One of Jason’s weaknesses is getting stunned. As nothing can seriously injure him, counselors rely on the fact that Jason isn’t necessarily the brightest bulb in the crayon box. Firecrackers, flares, and swift hits with various scattered objects stun Jason long enough for them to get away. In these stunned moments, Jason cannot move, but the voice of Pamela Voorhees comes to his aid, sharing with him various psychotic motivational phrases to get him moving again. The mere proximity of this massive killing machine to counselors can raise their fear levels, but even with brute strength and almost no way to die, Jason is still our favorite momma’s boy.

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But is it Really Friday the 13th?

Upon loading up Friday the 13th for the first time, you will get hit with a massive nostalgia bomb. Between the purposefully low-quality opening credits and the perfectly recreated settings, you immediately feel like you are getting ready to watch one of your favorite slashers go to town on some sin-filled camp counselors. Friday the 13th manages to walk the line between making you feel like you are actually at Crystal Lake and making you feel like you are roleplaying a Friday the 13th movie. With the occasional, strategic wiggle in the picture and the escalating score as Jason hones in on his target, this game manages to offer a cinematic gameplay experience without excessive cut scenes and dialogue. Running, screaming, and slashing – it’s the true Friday the 13th way.

With the return of make-up master Tom Savini to help create the iconic kills for the game, the next box to check to take this from general horror game to Friday the 13th is Jason himself. Leaving nothing to chance, and in the interest of maintaining authenticity, Kane Holder, who played Jason in four films, strapped on a motion capture suit and made Jason feel like, well, Jason.

Where Freddy Kruger had his wit, Jason had his stride and his size. Jason is a shark. He is emotionless, extremely hard to kill, and murders without hesitation. But this monster is also a strangely empathetic villain. You wouldn’t think it possible to empathize with a man (zombie?) that can nail people to a door frame or crush a skull with his bare hands, but Jason’s unique origin story makes you look at him as a sad (albeit disturbed) puppy that was never given his opportunity in life. As a disfigured child, Jason was ignored and bullied, and would have likely (in that era) never been given a chance to really find something he was good at. So, in a way, you have to be kind of proud. He found his niche. He is like crazy good at killing teenagers. Top notch.

So how does that empathy tie into the game? Through the narration of Jason’s psycho revenge-fueled mother. If Jason manages to kill all of the counselors, he returns to his mommy dearest’s shrine, complete with sweater, candles, and decapitated rotting head, and the soothing words of Pamela Voorhees telling him how proud she is. It should come as no surprise that one of the badges players can earn as a counselor, and one of the only known ways to kill Jason in the game (I still haven’t seen it done), is to distract Jason with his mother’s sweater, as seen in Friday the 13th Part II.

The badges available to the counselors and Jason, offer not only motivation to keep playing and trying new methods to win, but also offer more little nuggets of nostalgia for those of us that want to see a highlight reel of the series come to life.

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Final Thoughts

With patches on the way and single player coming out later this summer, this already fantastic game can only get better. After countless matches of three days, Friday the 13th has proven itself to just be a really great survival horror game, appealing to both fans and non-fans of the movies alike. It is what video game adaptations should be, building on the core of what makes the movies work. Maybe one day, we will get Pamela Voorhees as a playable character or the upgraded Jason from Jason X as playable characters. With 10 movies and one remake to choose from the possibilities are limitless.

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