A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - USA.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1990
Developer: Rare Coin-It, Ltd.
For other games in the series, see A Nightmare on Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is an action game developed by Rare and published by LJN. While it is not based on any particular film from the series, it borrows elements from the third movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The game was originally developed with the player controlling Freddy as he murdered as many children as he could. However, this idea was rejected by Nintendo, so Rare went back to the drawing board.

In the game, you play as an unnamed protagonist, though he appears to based on Joey from the film series. Freddy Krueger's bones are scattered throughout many areas of Elm Street, and you must obtain them all and burn them in the Elm Street High School furnace. The game starts the player off on Elm Street. This area acts as the main hub, though the player must dodge numerous obstacles such as Deathwings, Shamblers, falling rocks and boulders, and giant rats. The player can only find which house to enter, as only one is accessible. Inside each place, a bunch of Freddy's bones are scattered throughout the place, and the player must collect in each section to enter the next area. Each building/area consists of one to four segments. At the end of each place is a boss that must be defeated. The bosses range from a giant Freddy glove attached to a chain to a ghost version of Freddy.

The game takes place in two 'realms'; the awake world in which the game starts, and the dream world. At the top of the screen is a bar which instead of indicating the health of the player, is actually the sleep meter. It goes down progressively, but moreso if the player takes damage or stands still. In the awake world, the player can collect what are called power icons. Collecting one of each will allow the player a powerup they can use in the dream world. These include the Shadow Warrior who can attack enemies in the air with their jumpkick and attack with shurikens. The Acrobat can jump higher and throw javelins. The Necromancer can jump longer and can fire powerful magic orbs at enemies. While in the awake world, the player can collect cups of coffee to restore the sleep meter. In the dream world, the player can wake themselves up back to the awake world by touching the radios scattered throughout the stage. However, this removes the ability to use your dream powers. The boss fights always take place in the dream world, so the powerups can always be used. Additionally, the powerups are infinite, so you can use them in the dream world as long as you like. You can also switch between any of the three you've collected with the Select button. If the player spends too long in the dream world, they are approached by Freddy, and must defeat him in order to stay alive.

The game is also one of the few to support the NES Satellite and Fourscore adapters, which allow up to four-player co-op. The other three characters include one male and two female characters.

The game received mixed-to-positive reviews. Many praised the game for its graphics and music, but shunned the game for its lack of complexity, as well as Freddy himself being an easy boss, and the gameplay structure being too derivative of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES). However, it was noted by many to be one of the better NES games released by the infamous publisher.


A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Elm Street.png

Walking down Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Junkyard.png

The Elm Street Junkyard.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Elm Street Cemetery.png

The spooky cemetery.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Freddy's™ Coming!.png

The game is probably best known for this image.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - Game Over.png

Game Over.


A Nightmare on Elm Street features eighteen songs by David Wise, Rare's main composer at the time. Many have praised the music for fitting the atmosphere of the game. While none of the music from the movie made it into the game (save for one track), there are many creepy undertones to some of the songs. The LJN Defender even said that he could see this game's music being used in the films. While there are eighteen songs, there are a few songs that are extremely short loops; The boss music is only four seconds long, as well as the song that plays when you battle Freddy. The Elm Street track is probably the best known song from this game, and it has been covered by many fans.

The one track in the game that's taken from the movie is One, Two, Freddy's Coming For You, which plays when the player spends too long in the dream world and is being approached by Freddy. The song plays in its entirety, and even matches the syllables that are sung in the original song. The song does not loop, however, as it immediately proceeds to the boss fight with Freddy Krueger, as well as the accompanying music for the fight.

An unused song is also present in the game. Due to its short loop, it was probably meant for one of the areas, or probably the continue countdown when the player loses all of their lives.

Wise explained that for most games he worked on at the time, he was only given one week to do the game's music, regardless of the deadlines set by the publisher. To create the game's music, Wise wrote his music in the traditional way, by entering hex numbers as notation in the Rare sound engine.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen David Wise 2:14
02 Elm Street David Wise 2:45
03 House 1-1 David Wise 1:49
04 House 1-2 David Wise 0:18
05 House 2-1 David Wise 2:32
06 House 2-2 David Wise 0:37
07 House 3-1 David Wise 2:39
08 House 3-3 David Wise 0:16
09 Junkyard David Wise 2:52
10 Elm Street Cemetery David Wise 3:11
11 Falling Asleep David Wise 0:06
12 One, Two, Freddy's Coming For You Charles Bernstein 0:29
13 Freddy's™ Coming! David Wise 0:22
14 Waking Up David Wise 0:10
15 Boss David Wise 0:18
16 Game Over David Wise 0:03
17 Ending David Wise 0:15
18 Unused David Wise 0:16


(Source: Verification from composer; game lacks credits.)

Game Rip




Audio Devices

The game uses the 2A03 of the NES. The game uses Mark Betteridge's variant of Chris Stamper's sound driver.


  USA.svg   USA
A Nightmare on Elm Street - NES - USA.jpg
Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Platform: NES
Released: 1990-10-??
Publisher: LJN Toys, Ltd.