Interplay’s Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster is a mixed bag. It’s a solid Myst clone with good graphics, story, and puzzles, marred by bad voiceover acting and a designer obsessed with mazes.
This first person point-and-click title opens promisingly: you awake on a slab in Frankenstein’s laboratory, with Tim Curry as the mad doctor looking down upon you and uttering the classic (or cliche, depending on whether your in a generous mood) words: "He’s alive! Alive!"
Yes, your character is the actual Frankenstein monster. Great idea, huh?
Unfortunately, this very premise adds considerable silliness to the plot right away. Why? Well, what do you do at the beginning of any adventure game? Explore, explore, explore, of course. Check out every nook and cranny, every room, every hallway, every greenhouse.
And, yes, that’s what you begin this game by doing. What’s silly about it? Well . . . can you imagine a Frankenstein scenario in which, after successfully reanimating the dead body, the good doctor simply shrugged, turned his back on this miracle of science and went on with his paperwork, and allowed the creature to stumble around the castle unchaperoned?
He'd rather be playing scrabble... Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happens in this game. Frankenstein fusses over you for a minute, then basically dismisses you. It makes you want to scream, "Hey! Please tell me what’s more interesting in your life right now than a DEAD MAN come to LIFE?!?!" Very very silly. Not to mention the security issues of having a monster stumbling around free in a huge castle.
A castle, it seems, with absolutely NO servants, domestics, or assistants of ANY kind. Also very very silly.
However, if you can get past this odd premise, there is a reasonably chewy game here. There’s lots and lots to explore and a diabolical mystery to uncover.
The storyline of Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, is quite good. Who are you? Why are you the subject of Frankenstein’s experiment? What is your past? What can you remember? All this is pretty good stuff.
Tim Curry is solid, if uninspired, in the role of the doctor. He had a lot more fun playing this same role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
And if you like mechanical puzzles, this game has them! Particularly involved and challenging are a series of puzzles involving heavy equipment in a mine, and of course, there’s the doctor’s laboratory to figure out and make use of.
Also on the plus side: the game has very nice graphics, a smooth, intuitive and facile user interface, and very smooth performance. Not a bug or a glitch in sight. The game even has the terrific feature of giving the player the option of turning on or off the "smart" cursor. Great idea! Why don’t more games give you this choice?
The game has two big problems which severly hampered my enjoyment of it. First, the voiceover of the main character is truly terrible. Who go to the trouble of hiring a pro like Tim Curry to play Frankenstein and then use some bargain basement chowderhead to voice the main character? Big mistake, because you have to listen to him CONSTANTLY.
But the flaw that really undoes this otherwise solid game is the design team’s OBSESSION with mazes. Now, I don’t think I know a single adventure gamer who actually LIKES mazes. Why do designers use them so much? [Answer: LAZINESS]
I usually cringe when I realize a game includes a maze. This game is ONE BIG MAZE AFTER ANOTHER. The castle is a six-level maze with hallways, stairways, and hidden passages galore. Then there’s the hedge maze. And did I mention the huge mine tunnel maze?
Maze maze maze maze maze. Ick.
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