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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: What Did Critics Say in 1995?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 29, 2014   |   Episode 114 (Show Archive)  


Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

We continue our month-long journey through spooky 8- and 16-bit games with a look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a bizarre Sega CD game that combined the world of point and click adventuring with one-on-one fighting. Were critics intrigued by this curious combination, or was this yet another terrible game by Sony? We dig through old issues of GamePro, Video Games, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Next Generation for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the reviews. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. For more details and answers to common questions, we encourage you to read the Review Crew FAQ. There you'll find information on review guidelines, how we convert scores, magazine covers and more.)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
[ Company: Sony Imagesoft | Console: Sega CD ]

GAMEPRO (March 1995)
3.5 out of 5

"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein mixes an action/adventure game with one-on-one fighting. However, as Frankenstein knows, building something from disparate parts can produce mixed results. The lengthy treks are challenging but ultimately a no-brainer. The graphical quality is wide-ranging. The 3D cinematics look amazing, but the side-view visuals are flat." -Bro' Buzz

VIDEO GAMES (January 1995)
6 out of 10

"Frankenstein plays like a PC game; the adventure elements are good, since there are very few games of this type on the Sega CD, but the fighting is pretty poor. The interface could use a little refinement; I dislike text-heavy games in which the dialogue appears ALL IN CAPS!" -Chris B.

6 out of 10

"The movie adaptation keeps coming. This is a challenging game in the One-player Mode: however, the one-on-one fighting sequences are awkward and don't work so well. Overall, this game yields mixed results." -Major Mike

VIDEO GAMES (January 1995)
5 out of 10

"You play as the sympathetic creature. (No, it's not "Frankenstein," it's "Frankenstein's monster" or The Creature, as I constantly had to correct my non-monster-fan friends when I was a kid, but I digress.) The fight sequences aren't good enough to satisfy fighting game fans like me and the adventure game just isn't deep enough, so all you're left with is another mediocre game based on a movie." -Chris Gore

2 out of 5

"Who'd have ever thought: Frankenstein retold as a combination RPG and fighting game? From a conceptual standpoint, this makes no sense at all (we doubt Mary Shelley was much of a Street Fighter fan). However, while the control is stilted, and the puzzles are a little obscure, it has a nice atmospheric look, and the rotoscoped animation is fine. It takes some work to get into, but if you stick with it, the game has its mild rewards."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 56% - Didn't realize that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a mix of point and click adventuring and one-on-one fighting? That's okay, these critics seemed equally baffled. Although unique, none of the magazines liked this idea enough to give the game hire than 70%. The various magazines had a wide range of complaints, from bad control to obtuse puzzles to bad quality full-motion video. Very few had anything positive to say about Frankenstein, and Next Generation even gave it a 2 out of 5. Ick.

Seeing a chance to derail the review, Video Games' own Chris Gore took the time to chastise anybody who thinks Frankenstein is the monster. He inexplicably uses 27 words to explain why everybody else he knows is a big giant moron. That may not sound like much, but compare that to the 32 words that make up Electronic Gaming Monthly's entire review.

Although the idea is novel, the critics were unimpressed with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and ultimately gave the game an average of 56%. While bad, it's nowhere near as awful as Bram Stoker's Dracula, which averaged a dismal 49%. It's no wonder so many people doubted the Sony PlayStation in 1995.

ON THE NEXT REVIEW CREW: Our month-long tribute to scary games is almost over. Friday is Halloween, which means we need to come with the biggest, best retro horror game of all time. We're not going to tell you which one it is, so you'll have to come back on Friday and find out what ghoulish horror game the Review Crew is tackling on Halloween. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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