Frankenstein: The Monster Returns, NES/Famicom

Frankenstein: The Monster Returns was developed by TOSE Co. Ltd. and published for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Bandai, in North America only, in 1991. It is a side-scrolling platform game with beat ’em up elements, in much the same style as the early Castlevania games.

Set some time after the original Frankenstein story, The Monster has returned from the dead and has amassed a supernatural army of mythical monsters that has destroyed several villages and has taken a young woman, called Emily, hostage, with The Monster intent on making her his bride. You play a young swordsman who is determined to stop this evil army, rescue Emily, and destroy The Monster once and for all.

You start off with just your fists and feet as weapons, but can pick up and use clubs and swords dropped by enemies. Later on you can find magic power-ups that allow you to shoot fireballs. It’s also possible to do a jump-kick, although it’s not very powerful, so is only useful in certain circumstances.

Frankenstein: The Monster Returns is an unusual Japanese/American co-production, but isn’t very good either in terms of aesthetics, or gameplay, and is also relatively difficult to play. The hit detection is pretty extreme and the monsters are relentless.

The game has four stages, each with multiple boss and sub-boss battles, and of course you get to face-off against The Monster at the end. Whether you’ll persevere long enough to make it that far or not is debatable, but there is at least a password system for you to carry on later if you want to.

In truth: Frankenstein: The Monster Returns is a pretty bad game and has been derided by many over the years. I didn’t enjoy playing it that much. The sprites are bland and flicker a lot; the scrolling backdrops are not particularly interesting; the boss battles aren’t that great, and the gameplay is unforgiving.

Overall, this is a poor adaptation of Mary Shelley‘s novel with some silly dialogue and badly-formatted cut scenes. Frankenstein: The Monster Returns doesn’t really have much going for it, unless you like old, difficult, half-baked Metroidvania games.

More: Frankenstein: The Monster Returns on Wikipedia

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