Bride of Frankenstein, ZX Spectrum

I’m not sure if the Commodore 64 version of this obscure 8-bit game was the target platform, or if it was the Spectrum version, but all versions of Bride of Frankenstein that I’ve played so far have been pretty awful.

In this game you’re trying to work your way through a confusing maze of locations and rooms inside a castle, looking to free your beloved monster who is being held captive. Before you can free him, though, you’ve got to find a spade and dig up five different body parts so you can re-assemble him…

There are two main obstacles in your way. The first are the chasing monsters, which can be really annoying; they can trap you in a corner that you can’t get out of if you’re not careful. And second: your other main obstacles are locked doors. Which can be unlocked with specific keys.

You can only carry one key at a time, though, but you can swap it out with other keys that you find hung on walls. These keys are needed to unlock some doors, and finding out which key unlocks which door is a relatively long and arduous task. Other special items are needed too. Like an oil lamp, a pick axe, the aforementioned spade, and a power plug to revive The Monster with a jolt from the ringmain when the time comes.

Your one and only life is represented by a beating heart and a green ‘life’ bottle, and if either of those two attributes reach a critical level the game will end and you’ll have to start from scratch again. So you have to protect both of those conditions as much as possible. You can re-fill the green life bottle by visiting certain locations (you can find out what they are yourself), and you can slow your heart rate down by hiding from monsters and waiting. Too much contact with monsters will cause a heart attack, so hiding and recovery are needed at certain points to manage your heart rate.

Bride of Frankenstein was published by Ariolasoft on its “39 Steps” label for C64, Spectrum and Amstrad CPC in 1987 and is a game that could have been great with a bit more variety and care put into it, but unfortunately turned out to be borderline passable. As it turns out, the Spectrum and Amstrad versions are the least annoying of the three available, but it’s still as annoying as hell to play… Getting stuck on attacking enemies is the biggest problem with it.

Bride of Frankenstein was re-jigged and re-released by Codemasters as Frankenstein Jnr. in 1990. That version of the game features a changed main character and a different storyline, but is essentially the same game.

More: Bride of Frankenstein on World of Spectrum

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