Zeppelin Games‘ 1992 Amiga release of Frankenstein is basically the same game as the C64 and MS-DOS versions that I’ve already featured, but with some fundamental differences. The main difference, though, is that this is a relatively poor game in relation to those other versions.
You play as Egor – Dr. Frankenstein‘s hunchback assistant – and must explore a variety of connected screens, looking for specific items – and then body parts – to return to his master so that The Monster can be built. Egor’s health is measured with a ‘panic meter’ at the bottom of the screen. As he collides with enemies and takes damage he becomes more and more scared, until he can no longer take any more and runs back home to his master, who reprimands him (and you lose one of the three lives you’re given). A timer also starts ticking down when the game starts and you have roughly an hour to complete the game before the electrical storm that’s needed to revive The Monster begins, so you have to get a move on.
The graphics are mixed. While the backgrounds are nicely designed in places (also awful in places too), the sprites are really poor – in particular the main character Egor. The gameplay is also unforgiving and poorly-designed, and playing Frankenstein is an equal balance of frustrating and annoying. The main reason for this are the sound effects, which are brash and – frankly – excruciating, and they are indicative of the naivety of (some) game developers from the 16-bit era. In fact, the whole game is juvenile in the way it is presented, and I get the feeling that the developers were so desperately trying to inject their immature humour into it that they actually forgot to make the game fun to play…
You get stuck on branches trying to jump; you fall into lower screens that are a nightmare get out of; you lose energy – and therefore lives – far too easily; there are too many platforms that you should be able to stand on but can’t (which is the cause of a lot of frustration); the behaviour and placement of enemies just seems unbalanced and unfair, and when you lose a life you’re sent back to the very beginning again… There’s just so much wrong with this stupid game that anyone who plays it will probably kick it into touch after just a couple of tries… That said: there is one thing that almost rescues Amiga Frankenstein, and that is the way that Egor moves. His jump physics are actually really good, and controlling him is fun. This almost cancels out all of the game’s faults… Well, almost.
Overall, Frankenstein is a pretty poor conversion of an already average platform game, and the move from from 8-bit to 16-bit hasn’t really resulted in a particularly enjoyable game. Initially I thought that it was one of the worst Amiga games I’d ever played, but after forcing myself to play through the game a number of times I did start to enjoy the movement of the main character, and learning where all the objects were that you have to collect. Honestly: Frankenstein is a hard game to like, but if you persevere with it, and forgive it of its ills, then you might just enjoy it.
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