Bride of Frankenstein

by Antony M. Scott, Paul Smith, Steve Howard, Richard Edington
39 Steps
Crash Issue 43, Aug 1987   page(s) 83

Producer: 39 Steps
Retail Price: £8.99
Author: Paul Smith and Steve Howard

Tough luck. Night has fallen on Castle Frankenstein and its grounds. Within this foreboding stronghold lies an inactive Frankie, the organless monster of an evil creator, awaiting revival.

To make this imperfect brainchild whole, you must collect his essential parts - lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and brain.

The castle consists of 60 flick-screen rooms, dungeons, corridors, laboratories and courtyards. Wandering through its terrifying interior reduces energy levels, shown as elixir in a bottle which you must refill.

And within these nightmarish confines lurk floating ghosts, ghouls and skeletal monstrosities. Contact with these evil entities increases your thumping cardiac rate, shown by the pulsing heart at the bottom right of the screen - and you risk terminal heart failure.

Some doors are locked; there are seven different keys hung upon the castle walls, though. A spade and pickaxe can be found and used for excavating graves, and a lamp provides illumination for exploring darker areas.

Further complications arise in the castle's dungeons where distraught prisoners beg for release, and in the tower where electrical repairs may be required before Frankie can be stimulated into action.


Control keys: O left, R right, Q back, A front, SPACE to pick up/swap/use objects, SPACE and 0 or SPACE and P to dig/axe
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: monochromatic
Graphics: cute
Sound: spot FX, unattractive title tune
Skill levels: one
Screens: 60

The appeal of Bride Of Frankenstein wears off soon. It has good presentation, and quite pleasant graphics (most of the characters are amusingly drawn). But it lacks content. And most annoying is the way in which, on some screens, you leave by the top exit and emerge in the next screen's top exit - an unprofessional and disorientating effect. Though there are some good ideas, such as the heartbeat meter, Bride Of Frankenstein could have been much better.

It's the middle of the night, the lightning is raging outside, and you're all alone. Can you revive Frankie? I think this type of game, where you have to hunt around a building searching for keys to get into other rooms, went out years ago. The graphics are above average, though there's jerky animation. And the ghosts and ghouls don't move in set patterns but home in on you, so if you stay still for a couple of seconds you die, which makes it quite frustrating.

Someone's actually done something original with a 3-D adventure game - the graphics in Bride Of Frankenstein give the old theme a new dimension. Action is fast and accurate, but the game is slowed badly when lots of people appear on the screen. Some of the backgrounds are very detailed and help the atmosphere tremendously. My only gripe is the strange way the character flicks from location to location - it's very distracting and off-putting. Bride Of Frankenstein is out of the ordinary, and definitely worth considering.

Presentation: 68%
Graphics: 71%
Playability: 51%
Addictive Qualities: 58%
Overall: 59%

Summary: General Rating: Good graphics and atmosphere, but uninteresting gameplay.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 21, Sep 1987   page(s) 33

39 Steps

Hey, I know I like a man with guts, but I'm not too keen on having to dig them out of the ground myself! Kidneys, liver... It sounds more like a fry-up than a dating agency.

Ooh, this is scary. I've been pinned to the wall by the ghoulies... and I'm not refering to Gwyn! Help mummy... or is it a skeleton. I never wanted to be a bride especially when my wedding night's going to be spent picking up the pieces of my marriage. All I want is a man with all his organs.

This is a wander-round proggie, so start humming bits and pieces - it's the sort of experience that could make you crack up in fear. From the highest tower to the dankest crypt (at least it smells like somebody's crypt) you have to search for the bits and bobs and even the brain that'll make Frankie feel like a new man... and hopefully a honeymoon night of whay-hey-hey.

You start by wending your way through the chamber of Castle Frankenstein in search of the exit. You can carry just two objects, one of which is a key. It's fairly easy to find one to start with, but later on it becomes a classic case of match the Yale to the latch. You either find the fitting mortice or end up mortified.

Fear plays a big part in Frankie as ghosts and skeletons attack... and I don't just mean sneaking up on you, I mean heart attack. Bridie is a sensitive soul who can only take so many shocks, and too much stimulation will get her pumping away so hard she expires. There's just time to dodge the supernatural pests, but only if you know what you're doing.

With one hand taken up by keys, you'll need the other for things like the spade and pickaxe that let you cut the graveyard sod. Yes, it's Frankie all over and you just dig him. Then there's a lantern - what would an adventure, either text or arcade, be without one? The Bride's scared of the dark and needs it to explore the arches in the garden.

Once you've collected the catalogue of wobbly pink bits it's time to cart them all up to the Big F's penthouse apartment and undertake a little electrical work to get the big guy juiced up because you'll need plenty of volts if you're to indulge in some pole vaulting.

I reckon that Bride Of Frankenstein is going to appeal to traditional adventurers as much as arcade players. It's got exactly the same feel of puzzle-solving but without any of those finger-flummoxing text inputs. There's not too much dodging though - brains are more important than reactions. You'll need your own grey matter to locate Frank's.

But the things that really appealed to me were the graphics. They're cute and funny and very atmospheric, just like one of the old movies that inspired the title. I actually began shouting encouragement to my heroine as she fled from the various nasties.

Not the most original release of the year, nor the most sophisticated, but a lot of fun with enough knotty problems to keep you tied up for a good while. Now what's that cold chill along my spine? Gwyn, have you dropped an ice cube down my dress again?

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: A competent thriller as Mrs F goes in search of her man's missing bits. Giggles for adventuring guys and ghouls.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 65, Aug 1987   page(s) 69

Label: 39 Steps
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: John Gilbert

Which came first, The Monster or The Bride? According to the 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein starring the recently departed Elsa Lancaster, it was the monster, but 39 Steps has taken a bit of ghoulish licence and made The Bride the first creation in its pretty good 3D arcade-adventure style release of the same name.

You get to direct the figure of the bride building up the monster from parts of recently buried bodies she finds in the cemetery near the castle. She needs lungs, kidneys, a liver, a heart and a brain. Butcher's offal won't do, so remember, when you start her digging in the graveyard the first part you unearth may not be the best!

Before you start digging, though, you've got to find a pick-axe or a spade, as well as a host of other useful accessories, all of which are hidden in the 60 rooms in and around the Castle Frankenstein.

The Bride looks like a sleep walker in night cap and gown, and her innards are just as dodgy as her outward appearance. She's equipped with a heart monitor and globe bottle, which contains her green life elixir. Her heart-rate increases when she meets ghosts and skeletons, speedy creatures who can easily trap her in a corner or trap her between their bodies until her heart races and bursts.

Fear also drains the elixir from her veins, and once it's gone she loses her one life (?) and you have to start again You top up elixir from a bottle in The Sanctuary, but first you've to find this rest place. Not an easy task because most of the castle's doors are locked.

Collect the organs and, if you've unlocked all the necessary doors in the first two game phases, you can zombie-walk your way up to the tower where your lover lies.

Despite reliance on plot concepts and graphic style from games such as Ultimate's Pentagram, The Rocky Horror Show and Nosferatu, The Bride of Frankenstein is a fabulous romp.

You don't get many clues and may have to rely on blundering luck rather than logic. That may put you off to start but, if you stick with it, Bride will reward you handsomely.

Overall: 8/10

Summary: Addictive horror-arcade-strategy-spoof. A mixture of re-animated plot and 3D graphics combined to good effect.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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