lot # 3173

It's nice to see game companies trying to push the edge of the computer game industry by trying new approaches and putting new spins on old stories that have been exploited through movies and books. Unfortunately, in the case of Interplay's release of Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, the experiment falls short of the mark. The game contains little that can be favorably compared to Mary Shelley's original other than the names and location of the major characters. Speaking of characters, actor Tim Curry's portrayal of the mad scientist, Dr. Frankenstein, is the single positive highlight of the game. His demented cackling and enthusiastic appearances are all too few and far between but the game isn't really about him. Your character, of course, is the monster who wakes up in Dr. Frankenstein's lab and it doesn't take long to realize that what the good doctor has been working hard at cooking up is you! You're alive! From that point, the name of the game becomes all too obvious as you begin your search for who you are, why you died, why you've been brought back to life and most importantly, a way to stop the doctor from continuing his grizzly experiments, all from the perspective of the monster.

Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster takes a turn toward tedium fairly early on in the game. There are many puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty, some laughably easy, others diabolically hard (nearly impossible without some sort of hint or guide). Dr. Frankenstein's home is indeed his castle. But you soon discover that it's more like a house of horrors as you wander from place to place, looking at grisly, gory and strange objects that range from body parts to plants. The whole purpose of your excursion is to escape but you realize that the good doctor and his ghastly experiments must be stopped first. Your search and discovery mission is at the core of the game and it's here the game unleashes it's most grievous fault. There is very little interaction with any characters encountered in the game, especially Frankenstein, and that coupled with a seemingly endless task of exploring every deep, dark corner of the place is enough to drive you mad. What makes matters worse is the unwelcome requirement to go over the same territory over and over again until you find the right piece of a given puzzle. There is no respite from this continuous wandering and by game's end you're basically sick of the place.

The concept of the game is first rate but the first person perspective loses it's luster as the experience turns into little more than a scavenger hunt for hints. Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster does have an eerie atmosphere and creepy environment as well as a fairly smooth interface. Unfortunately, there's just not enough meat on these old Frankenstein bones to capture the imagination and brush away the cobwebs of lethargy that accompany the player throughout the adventure.

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