Frankenstein: Master of Death
Year Published: 2015
Publisher: Jetdogs Studios
Developer: Fineway Studios/Jetdogs Studios
I appreciate what Jetdogs Studios does. Their hidden object games are always filled with fantastic scenery and artwork, and while the animation of their rendered characters is not quite perfect, the effort to have people and monsters that actually move about their environments is commendable. It's just that...there's always something that seems to be missing.
Frankenstein: Master of Death is similar in many ways to Jetdogs's Cursed, released a year later in 2016. It feels like the protoform of that game: Similar graphics style and a horror theme, with the major differences being that Frankenstein does have true hidden object scenes and it's based on a story that needs no introduction.
Like most Jetdogs games, Frankenstein has some pretty artwork going for it.
As a hidden object game, Frankenstein is passable. Though I concede that it's most intriguing element is how often you reuse many of the items you acquire early in the game. I can't count how many times HOG protagonists have ditched a crowbar, knife, or screwdriver after one use, despite seeming like it could come in handy again. Here, those items (and then some) will be with you for almost the entire game.
One warning I might be obliged to mention is that if you care about Steam achievements, you may want to play the game on the Expert mode and be careful not to skip any dialogue or cutscenes, as this will prevent you from getting their related achievements unless you find and delete your save file to try again.
Zombie tigers and gargoyle statues are cool, but don't make up for the extreme liberties taken with the source material.
As a story based on Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, Frankenstein is far less successful. The plot takes major deviations from the book, and although the same could be said of almost all movie adaptations, this version is so far removed it feels like it should've just been about something else. After dealing with an annoying Igor character in Frogwares' Dracula: Love Kills, I'm presented with another incarnation of "Igor", even though he does not exist in the novel and it's not entirely clear how this character became a thing. Igor in this story is an assistant to Victor Frankenstein, but is the one who actually creates the Monster (as well as a reanimated rat and tiger) in a scheme for world domination. You're an old friend of Frankenstein and he's asked you to come help him stop Igor, I guess because he's not capable of solving hidden object puzzles in his own mansion.
Victor Frankenstein is not the only one to have been watered down. The "Monster" is typically portrayed in other sources as a giant hulking being, which is consistent with the novel, but here it looks like a run-of-the-mill zombie with some mummy bandages. I could also mention that Elizabeth was Victor's sister in the book, but is his wife here, but at this point, I'm feeling like it doesn't really matter.
A random mummy, er...the "Monster" knocks over a tree.
This is the second time Jetdogs made a hidden object game with an inanimate villain who was given life by humans, the other being 2012's Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends, which centered on the Jewish folklore of the Golem. While neither that game nor Cursed are in the upper echelon of HOG's I've finished, I would still recommend them before Frankenstein. Much like the Frankenstein Monster itself, this game doesn't feel fully-formed.