Frankenstein: The Monster Returns (NES)

There really isn't a whole lot to say about the game that hasn't already been said about stomach cancer.

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  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1
  • US Release: December 1990
  • Developer: Bandai
  • Publisher: Bandai

Frankenstein is supposedly based on the novel of the same name.  I’m guessing they based it off a version of the novel that was translated into Japanese, then inexplicably translated back in English. And with an insane new plot thrown in. Just for good measure, for each new translation, they found a kid who was already retarded and beat him in the head with a hammer to do the translating.

For those of you who paid attention in literature class, or at least saw one of the many film adaptations, Frankenstein is about a scientist who re-animates a corpse made from the body parts of various dead people, with hilarious results. Among the many instances of zany hijinx is a scene where Frankenstein’s monster throws a little girl named Emily into a river, and she drowns. None of this happens in the NES adaptation.


The developers of Frankenstein took a number of liberties. For instance, the monster is now known as Frankenstein, rather than Frankenstein’s monster. Frankenstein can appear, taunt you, then quickly disappear like a ninja. Oh, and Frankenstein wears a suit in this game.

Emily is in the game, but as Frankenstein’s hostage. Emily has been kidnapped, and it’s your job to defeat Frankenstein and rescue her. Before you can fight Frankenstein, you must do battle with a series of other monsters that Frankenstein has somehow gained control over.

There are basically two types of generic sidescrollers for the Nintendo. There’s the kind where you use projectiles to kill enemies, using a combination of speed and good aim to take them out, and then there’s the kind where you use fists or blunt objects to kill enemies, utilizing a combination of luck and button mashing that never pays off because every enemy seems to have a longer reach than you when attacking. Frankenstein is definitely in the latter category.

The final boss is a giant-sized Frankenstein’s monster, who never moves, but shoots fire out of his mouth. There are no jokes here. That’s just strange.

The actual gameplay consists of making your way through four different, very boring levels. The game isn’t a particularly long one, and there’s no diversity in gameplay, so you’re basically mashing the same pattern of buttons for about an hour. If you don’t develop carpal tunnel syndrome, then the lack of fun in the game will make you want to inflict pain upon yourself. Either way, you won’t get out of playing Frankenstein unscathed.

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the game that hasn’t already been said about stomach cancer. Frankenstein eats at your insides, leaving you alive just long enough to grow weary of wishing for death.

I guess one of the worst things about Frankenstein is that there had to be at least a few kids in America with parents who actually believed that it might be a fun game for their kids to play. Sure, the kid may be into monsters, but little did they know that Frankenstein was all it takes to prove to these kids that there is no God. Or at least, if there is a God, he sure as hell is not a benevolent one.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 2 - Very Bad
4 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 104 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2005 to 2007

Zack Huffman is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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