Frankenstein’s Monster is a relatively obscure game for the Atari 2600 and was developed and published by Data Age, Inc. in 1983. It is one of the earliest video games to use the famous Mary Shelley novel as the basis for its story and gameplay.
In the game the player must attempt to stop Frankenstein’s Monster from coming to life by building a barricade around it. Building the barrier prevents The Monster from absorbing energy from an electrical storm.
To build the barrier the player must climb down the screen, into the castle dungeon, to collect bricks by jumping over hostile creatures, avoiding pits of acid, and other obstacles, then take the brick back to the top of the screen and onto a second screen where you then have to reach The Monster at the top, by dodging bats that will push you back down to the bottom. If that sounds convoluted: it isn’t. It’s very simple really.
With each successful trip, the hazards become more numerous and difficult to avoid, and the bats on the second screen start moving faster and diagonally (which makes them much more difficult to complete). Contact with spiders, ghosts or bats will deduct points from your overall score, and when the timer reach zero – or you lose all three of your lives – it’s game over, and The Monster will break free and walk toward you in a menacing manner.
To win the game the player must make six separate trips into the dungeon to collect bricks, and successfully place them next to The Monster on the second screen.
Frankenstein’s Monster is a simple, two-screen action game that is challenging and playable, but is no great shakes in the realm of Frankenstein adaptations. The first screen is a kind of Pitfall clone, and the second screen is a cross between Galaxian and Frogger, but without the shooting. If you’ve never played Frankenstein’s Monster before and are curious: it’s worth a look, but don’t expect anything too sophisticated.
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