Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sega CD

The Sega CD version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is completely different to the platform game of the same name developed by Bits Studios, although it is still based on the 1994 film starring Robert De Niro as The Monster. This game was developed by Psygnosis and published as a double pack, alongside Bram Stoker’s Dracula, by Sony Imagesoft in 1994. As far as I know it wasn’t released as a stand-alone title.

The game itself is an action adventure with beat ’em up sections, and the fighting elements – which occur whenever you encounter someone or something hostile – are a bit bizarre in a supposedly serious Frankenstein game.

Most of the time you’re wandering around a maze of locations, looking for useful items that are either sustenance for The Monster or have to be used in the right place to allow progress or avoid a fight. The beat ’em up portions are borderline laughable, but they’re thankfully not too difficult. If you use The Monster’s block, shoulder-charge and headbutt moves you can counter most of what an enemy will throw at you. Personally, I would’ve preferred the game without the beat ’em up elements anyway, so being able to blunder your way through them is a blessing in disguise.

Graphically, the game is not too bad in places. Backgrounds are mostly pre-rendered CGI, with 2D animated sprites layered over the top. The lack of colour makes everything look a bit subdued, but they – in combination with the music – do at least evoke a reasonably atmospheric tone.

The Sega CD version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein isn’t a terrible game, but it’s not a very good one either. It’s just a weird oddity that might appeal to players who like unusal action adventures. The FMV cut scenes are pretty bad, and the overall gameplay is disjointed. The puzzles are also obscure but ridiculously simple, and solving them can be frustrating unless you know the solution. The game is also very short and if you know what you’re doing you can speed through it in less than an hour.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein might be of interest to fans of the film, or to anyone who likes obscure adventure games, but it’s unlikely to appeal to anyone else.

More: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on YouTube

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