Spoiler alert! Bride of Frankenstein is cheeky, funny and over too quickly. If they could only speak American, it would be even better. I wish it were perfect, but we’ll just have to purr.
Halloween’s over and I find myself in post-holiday depression. I never realized how much I secretly loved Halloween. This must explain all the snide remarks and snarky anecdotes over the last couple of weeks. This must be why I decided to pick the worst Halloween games out there to criticize on two game day Fridays in a row.
Well, maybe they weren’t the worst. I didn’t look that hard. But there were other really good games I could have reviewed, games that I could have easily connected to Halloween. For some reason I overlooked them. It could only be denial.
Carol, realizing something was amiss, intervened and enrolled me in a twelve-step program for people who hate holidays. It’s a short program; they actually reduced it to one-step because the need for recovery is still perceived as a low priority next to substance abuse, alcoholism and gambling. Can you believe it? Even the bleeding heart touchy-feely liberals who co-opted the twelve-step movement discriminate against people with holiday-aversion addiction.
But step one—admit you have a problem and get over it—turned out to be enough for me. It was so effective, I may have to recommend it to all my friends who have to do their regular meetings when it’s time to have fun. They can tell their sponsors they missed the meeting for the HAAA (Holiday Averse Addiction Anonymous).
It was at step one that I realized how much I really wish I celebrated Halloween, not by welcoming trick-or-treaters, but by becoming one myself. Sure, I’m a little oversized, but this is the MacDonalds generation. Even twelve-year-olds weight three hundred pounds. Next Halloween I’m going to go all out. I’m going to go as a Mormon.
It will be a simple costume—white shirt and tie, dark pants, copy of the Book of Mormon which I can buy online cheap. As soon as they open their door, people won’t care that I’m not eight and cute as a button. They’ll pour all the candy in my bag just to make sure I don’t stick around.
Now I don’t want to offend Mormons. My best friend in college dated a Mormon until he realized his problem wasn’t with God, with Mormonism or even with Mormons. His problem was with her, something his friends had been trying to tell him all along. Once he realized he was rejecting Tina and not the faith, he had no need to fear his mortal soul and dumped her. Since he never officially became a Mormon, he was off the hook with God too.
Or so he thinks. We’ll have to see, won’t we?
To celebrate my recovery from holiday aversion, at least until Thanksgiving when I will face my first serious temptation to indulge, I decided to celebrate with two Halloween-related games that are worth playing. The best part is, these aren’t actually Halloween games so you can play them all year long, And since they are both hidden object games I will dedicate this week to hidden object games.
I know, I know. There are more than three that should be reviewed, but I will begin with three: HdO’s Bride of Frankenstein, Mumbo Jumbo’s Salem Witch Trials, and Amazon: The Hidden Expedition (which is in no way Halloween related, but is one of the first to appear on the iPad and has driven players crazy ever since).
Bride of Frankenstein can loosely be described as a rip-off of Rocky Horror that is just different enough to avoid a plagiarism suit. Brad has to rescue Janet from the haunted mansion. Throw in Dr. Frank-N-Furter and HdO is off to court and very likely to lose big time. But they left out Frank-N-Furter and his nine-inch spike heels, so they managed to slip under the radar.
Janet gets it together
There are several varieties of hidden object games, the most basic require players to find stuff. After they find enough stuff, they win. The games usually throw in a quest-based story line, the hero or heroine (who is the player’s persona) and cluttered rooms or locales. Usually the storyline is fairly mundane, often the storyline is almost exactly the same as the storyline for other games.
Faithful readers are already shuddering because they know the riff. How can they be the same when the characters, locations and objects to find are all different, faithful hidden object fans might ask. I will answer, because they all have the same formula: character x visits locations y and solves puzzles z before finding x1, the object of the quest.
There you have it: plug and play hidden object games. In Bride of Frankenstein you (character x) are Brad who searches Frankenstein’s castle (location y) and assembles Dr. Frankenstein’s bio-machine (z) in order to reassemble his girlfriend Janet (x1).
Reassemble Janet? Whoa, that’s a little gross. Well, not completely. The game manages to dismember Janet tastefully. All blood is pre-drained. The game contains nothing like the scenes from a Rob Zombie or Quentin Tarantino movie. You may run across a severed head during the course of the game, but that’s probably as gross as it gets.
Once you get past the severed head, the game is strictly PG13.
Oh, wait, severed heads are PG13. Sex rates an R, and there’s no sex in this game.
You actually face two quests. Not only do you have to find the scattered pieces of Janet’s body, you have to find the scattered pieces of the bio-machine to put her together. This is about as complex as the game gets. There are no additional puzzles to rack your brain and Janet doesn’t have one, although her brain is the first body part you have to find.
The game has two quests—find the body and machine.
Rather than forcing players to solve puzzles, the game sends you back and forth to the same location several times to find objects you may have missed before—a key, a phlogiston, a brass sphere. Even when you think you’ve finally won by bringing Janet’s body parts to the lab and assembling the bio-machine, you have to make a last trip to the library to look though all of Frankenstein’s journals.
Ultimately you will reassemble Janet in Frankenstein’s lab.
Bride of Frankenstein isn’t the most challenging hidden object game you will play, but it is a lot of fun. Some of the objects are very hard to find and there is a lot of tongue in cheek humor. At one point, with only half of Janet recovered, Brad can’t help but notice how hot she is.
Even though Janet’s not all there, Brad still thinks she’s hot.
The graphics are sharp and spectacular, with wonderfully garish comic book colors. You can even zoom in without losing resolution loss, which doesn’t happen with many hidden object games. Unfortunately, the images are way too dark to find many of the objects. HdO recognizes this as a problem and recommends that you set the screen to maximum brightness.
This seems like a drastic solution. Especially since maximum brightness drains the iPad’s battery three times as quickly. You would think they could just run a levels correction on the images to brighten the gamma. But, no, your iPad has to lose battery life.
The game plays quickly. You can play through in a couple of hours, which may diminish the value for some players. And the developers don’t speak American, which makes the game a little harder. Just to give you a hint at the game’s lexicon, “tub” means gas can, “catapult” means slingshot, and a “crate” is a barrel. There are other little translation problems, but I’ll let you suffer through those.
Overall, however, the game is fun and I don’t regret spending the money. I played the game last May and intended to review it, but I had to replay the levels when I gave my iPad to Carol. When iTunes says it’s backing up your iPad, it doesn’t back up data or game settings. I didn’t think I’d want to play the game again so quickly so I could get screenshots for the review. A few months later, however, it was even more fun the second time.
Jenny Manytoes rates Bride of Frankenstein
Jenny Manytoes would purr all over Bride of Frankenstein. She wasn’t too fond of Janet, but her brain looked delicious.