Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
Box Shot
Frankenstein: The Monster Returns
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Publisher: Bandai
Designer: Bandai
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1990
Reviewed by: Jorge Romo

Frankenstein was one of those games that was quickly forgotten by the players, although it was one of the decent titles available for the dying NES at that time. With minimal touches, the game could had been a hit, but in spite of all its flaws, it is a very good game to play.

The plot begins with a cinema involving Frankenstein's resurrection, and the havoc is causing in a nearby village where he kidnaps the town elder's daughter, Emily. So once again you play the role of the hero who must face save the damsel in distress and put an end to Frankensten's reing of terror for good. You start in the village, armed just with your punches and kicks, sooner you will find a club (it looks as an ice-cream or chicken leg to me.) that can shoot energy beams once you find a crystalball power up. During the game you will find different characters and creatures that will start a conversation with you; some of them request you help, others provide you with a treasure or advice and of course the creatures just taunt you before the battle starts. There are some buildings to explore where special items are located in chests (potions that increase your life meter or hearts that can be stored to recover your strength when you are in trouble), some of the items can be only found by defeating the creatures you meet during your quest.

At the end of the first area you face Death and then your first boss, a bizarre monster with a torso of a pegasus and reptilian appearance. The second area is located in a forest, facing goblins that provide you with your second weapon, a mace, and two mid-bosses, the she-and-he monsters. The last boss in this area is a Medusa, using her tail as her primary weapon when dealing with you. After you had done enough damage, she shows her second face, a big floating Medusa head, attacking you with her asp tongue. After defeating her, you are provided with a sword. The third stage starts in a graveyard, plagued with living tombs and a group of gargoyles (they carry crystalballs of thunders that destroy all enemies on screen if you kill them!). Once you beat their leader, you are granted access to the castle, where you have the option to explore the dungeons in the search for special items (potion, hearts and three direction fire for your sword). In the middle floor you are attacked by living statues armed with slings (you can fight them for this weapon but I wouldn't recommend it). Here you meet another boss that is just an ugly floating head with a nasty claw.

Once you beat it, a new stairway appears giving you access to fight the master of the castle, a huge knight with a sword and some living statues as the ones that you met before. If you vanquish him, he grants you the chance to go after Frankenstein in the Evil Dimension where Emily is held captive. There you will face a huge selection of monsters and mid-bosses, a werewolf ( giving you three direction fire if you beat it), a vampire ( rewarding you with a bomb that delivers a fair damage to an oponent) and the huge knight again (for a heart to recover your life since you are about to have your final battle). Then you face Frankenstein himself, using his brute strength and powerful punches to crush you. Once you beat him, you meet Emily and has the awful news that to defeat the Monster for good you should use fire to kill, which she happily provides it to your sword (from where? don't ask me.)

Now you must face a gigantic Frankenstein that attacks you by spitting energy beams that are pretty hard to avoid. Once you manage to deliver enough damage to him (watch for the wounds in his body) his head will remove from his neck to pursue you, a few more shots of fire and he is done for good. You are rewarded with a big hug from Emily and her eternal gratitude.

Back to the criticism, the graphics of Frankenstein are good but not outstanding. The music is decent and the control is OK (the flying kick is your most useful movement available). What really hurts this title is the lack of special items and weapons for the character. Most of the enemies you face are somewhat dull and the worst part is that every time you are hit, you lose the special item you found (the three way fire for example) or your new weapons (club and mace). The conversation with the bosses at the beginning and the end of the battle and with Frankenstein when a stage is finished, is a nice touch. The cinemas are chessy but at least acceptable. The game is not too long and it is not terrible difficult (there is a password option included), so you must have a little of patience to beat this cart. I would rate Frankenstein as an average title, in the best of the cases above average.

If the game could be longer with more special items, weaponry, more enemies and a little more attention in the music and in the graphics of the cinemas, it would had become one of the best adventure games for the NES. But anyway it is fun and worth a try.