Added: 3 Jan 2010
Frankie goes manic
THE CONSTRUCTION of monsters is a laborious task at best, but the job is made doubly difficult in Frank N Stein from PSS. Not only do you have to collect the spare parts before you switch on the juice, but there are numerous smaller monsters and hazards threatening your project as well.
The game bears a close resemblance to Manic Miner, in that you must leap from platform to platform to collect the objects you need, dodging the various hazards.
When the monster is assembled, alive and kicking, he goes on the rampage, and you must climb to the switch to turn him off. Unfortunately, Frank cannot endure solitude, so back he goes to construct a new monster.
Derivative though it may be, Frank N Stein is fun and well-presented. PSS claims there are fifty screens in the game, so it should keep Manic Miner fans occupied for a few weeks. The graphics are neat and do suggest a Victorian-style mansion without being over-fussy in detail.
FRANK N STEIN Memory: 48K Price: £5.95 Joystick: Protek, Kempston, Interface 2 Gilbert Factor: 7
Issue 9 (Nov 1984)
Added: 26 Mar 2017
Despite the obvious enthusiasm for this game generated by the games players in the YS editorial office, Frank N Stein was the game I liked least of the three programs.
The object of the game is to guide your two-cursor figure along platforms collecting the constituent parts of a Frankenstein-type monster - making it a little more complicated is the fact that all the limbs, etc, have to be collected in the correct order; head first, then torso, then hips and so on. To collect all the parts of the body, you have to walk over the dissected parts, while avoiding the various sprites that go through set patterns of movement around the screen.
Again, you can move left or right, but vertical movement can only be achieved by standing over strategically placed springs and hitting the 'fire' button. Small jumps are possible, but these are sued mainly for letting one of the sprites pass underneath allowing your figure to safely carry on his macabre search. There are also an number of poles which can be used to descend from level to level.
The graphics characters are mostly two-cursors, very colourful and animated fairly well, adding some welcome relief from the overall red appearance of the game. The move pixel by pixel, but they're a might bit slow - which means there are times when you're hanging around waiting for the baddies to get out of the way. This aspect is no doubt intended - especially as the game is played against the clock - but I feel that overall it detracted from the game.
PSS claim Frank N Stein ha 50 screens, but don't let that mislead you as there are only 26 different screens. After each 'collecting' screen, there's one that repeats; this special screen is slightly different from the rest in that the object this time is to get to the top platform while avoiding random graphics characters and rolling barrels (shade of Kong here).
Planning out a route through each screen is reminiscent of Manic Miner, but it doesn't work out quite as well. If you miss the opportunity to jump for something, then very often you either die or have to hang around for the same pattern of events to repeat itself - there's not much room for you to experiment with new and original ways round each screen as more often than not, there's only one way round and that's your lot!
Use of Graphics 7/10
Added: 13 Dec 2008
Frank N. Stein
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £5.95
Language: machine code
Author: Colin Stewart
Frank N. Stein is a nuts and bolts game, a question of placing the bits in the right place in the right order. You play the part of Frank himself, a cute little white scientific personage (he's presumably as white as a sheet having seen a ghost). In his mansion, with its various rooms, seven bits of the monster he's busy creating are scattered about, namely the head, shoulders, arms and legs. The object is to walk about collecting them in the right order so that the monster is slowly built up again.
Frank's mansion has rooms with several platforms in them connected by staircases and firemen's poles. Oddly, he cannot go upwards though, except by careful and strategic use of the numerous coiled springs - well, scientists tend to cultivate a batty lifestyle.
Additionally, there are a number of hazards sloping up and down the platforms which have a nasty habit of killing poor old Frank off if he's not careful. On top of that, being a proficient electrician, there are some very poor connections lying about which give him a quick thrill if he treads on one.
The first screen is relatively simple in layout, but progressive screens become increasingly difficult to negotiate. In between them comes a second type of screen which is reminiscent of a 'Kong' game. Again there are many platforms with coiled springs and hazards. The object is to reach the top and, as with all the screens, press the plunger to deactivate the monster. One extra problem with this otherwise reasonably simple arrangement is that the monster keeps dropping white balls which fall to the bottom before rolling off to the right. These, if they hit a hazard, wait for it to pass, adding an element of randomness to the timing.
This game starts out as being above average, but as it is played you soon become more interested. It has lots of little additions (like ice patches) that make it better. After a while it soon becomes a good game. A fair amount of planning is required so that the springs are used to full advantage. The graphics, although small, are well animated. Overall, a good game.
What struck me at first about this game was the cheerful and colourful graphics. Play wasn't too difficult - just right. The monster must be assembled in a logical order which is easier said than done while avoiding hazards. This is definitely among the best of platform games for some time. Addictive and great fun to play.
An excellent platform game which has neatly detailed and animated graphics, even though the sound leaves a little to be desired. The game itself is set in a creepy old house indicated by pictures hanging on the walls, lightbulbs, bookshelves and staircases. I like the idea of the 'activate' control instead of a jump button, which means you can do a lot more with less keys. The time limit on the assembling screens adds to the fun, and the ice patches are a nice touch, and a hazardous one at that. Very addictive and fun to play. I'm going to get this one!
Control keys: Z/X left/right, SPACE to 'activate'
Joystick: Kempston, ZX 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: very good layout and responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: smooth, well animated and characterful
Sound: average, could have been more for effect, but nice noises
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
General rating: a good, novel platform game that becomes very addictive in play.
Use of computer 79%
Getting started 78%
Addictive qualities 83%
Value for money 78%