Review of Frankenstein Slots
These days it’s quite rare to find an online slot based on a vintage movie…and not to mention that the vintage movie was actually an adaptation of a novel first published in 1818! That’s not to say that the 200 year old story hasn’t aged well, it’s just that it’s refreshing to see new slots games based on classic literature, and not on a big budget action movie.
I think that we can all agree that out of the group of classic horror characters, Frankenstein is the most lovable. Dracula is too needy, the Werewolf sheds too much, and the Mummy’s bandages always get filthy no matter how many times a day you change them.
“Frankenstein” or “The Modern Prometheus” was a book that I think most people my age had to read in high school, and it was certainly a movie that everyone over 40 has seen at least once. There have been a few different interpretations over the years so I came into this game not knowing what to expect, or what version of Frankenstein we were going to get.
I was pleased that NetEnt chose to base the game on the original film from 1931, but they didn’t put enough effort into incorporating the suspense and drama of the movie into the game. The bonus features are basically nonexistent so there’s very little fun and excitement. This will be a huge disappoint for fans and it’ll probably have most of you running for the hills.
So grab your pitchforks and torches because we have a monstrosity to hunt down and kill…
This game has a funky retro vibe mixed in with a modern control panel, and the resulting look and feel is pretty unique. They did a good job on the overall design thanks to the sharp images on a classic background, and you can click on the screenshots below to see exactly what I’m talking about.
Young scientists should always have someone keeping an eye on them, and Dr. Henry Frankenstein is no exception. This is because he and his hunchbacked assistant, Fritz, like to go on midnight walks together in search of human body parts…that are freshly stolen from nearby graveyards. They want to play God and patch together a new “person” that will be brought to life through surgery and bizarre scientific equipment.
Stuck in an old watch tower, Dr. Frankenstein toils away at his craft, hell-bent on creating life to satisfy his God complex. One night during a lightning storm his girlfriend crashes into the lab just in time to see “the monster” come to life and climb off of the operating table. Unfortunately Fritz grabbed the brain of a criminal while they were grave robbing and this gave their subject a very irritable temper, which they quickly realize can flare up unexpectedly.
The Monster then goes through his short life being misunderstood by those he comes across, who judge him based on his appearance. We watch as his lack of intelligence leads him to make the wrong decisions, sometimes resulting in fatal errors. We revel in his innocence as he experiences the simple joys in life like watching flowers float, but we’re reminded of the beast within when he doesn’t understand his own strength.
This game from NetEnt attempts to capture the complexities of Mankind and our internal struggles with human frailty in their online gambling version of Mary Shelly’s classic tale. Unfortunately we do not get to experience the plot in any great detail due to the lack of a proper bonus round and game features, which is very sad to say the least.
The mad scientists over at NetEnt should have stayed in the lab a little longer since they ended up using a “9” as a symbol in this game, and there of course is absolutely no need for this. They could have easily included Mae Clarke’s character of Elizabeth Lavenza or John Boles as Victor Moritz. I would’ve even settled for Lionel Belmore as Herr Vogel, the Burgomaster!
If you’ve read any of my other reviews you will already know that I am of the firm opinion that if a software company doesn’t show any imagination with their unique symbols, chances are they didn’t use too much imagination when they designed their bonus rounds and reel features. Where there isn’t any smoke, there isn’t any fire.
At the end of the day, there simply aren’t enough unique symbols in Frankenstein Slots and when you’re spinning you always have the feeling that something is missing from the game. The reels look bare and the few images they did include don’t have enough animations when they’re used in a payline win.
On the bright side, NetEnt used the actual actors from the 1931 film so they deserve a few points for staying true to the original movie.
- J (Jack)
- Q (Queen)
- K (King)
- A (Ace)
- The Brain
- Fritz (Dwight Frye)
- Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive)
- The Monster (Boris Karloff)
- Lightning Wild
- Fire Wild (Only in Free Games)
- Burning Mill (Scatter)
Of course The Monster is going to stomp on the reels with the highest paying symbol in the game with 1,500 coins for five in any one spin. This is followed by Dr. Frankenstein, Fritz, and The Brain which pay 1,200, 700, and 500 coins respectively for 5 of a Kind.
Unfortunately for jackpot hunters Dr. Frankenstein spent all of his time in the lab creating monsters and didn’t have time to sew together huge cash prizes. Therefore, there isn’t a jackpot to be won in this game.
Ok, sure – a lot of online slot games don’t have jackpots, but very few movie-themed slots don’t have a bonus round, which is why I was so shocked the first time I played this game. I have no idea how Frankenstein was released without a proper bonus feature, but it was definitely a grave mistake, (pun intended).
At the very least they could have had a Pick Em’ style bonus feature that had body parts for The Monster laid out over an operating table that the player got to pick from them until they hit a “Collect” symbol. I mean, how hard would that have been? Spoiler alert: not hard at all.
There is a very small game feature of “Linked Wilds” which travel across the reels to turn 2 or more symbols wild as it spreads. This linking occurs with both the Lightning Wilds and Fire Wilds, but it’s a tiny consolation for the exclusion of a proper bonus round.
Since there isn’t a bonus round in Frankenstein Slots you’ll want to be on the hunt for the free spins mode, which is really the only break you’ll get from the regular game. I think the feature is fairly average and they again missed an easy opportunity to create some excitement for players.
Three or more Burning Mill Scatter symbols will give you a flat 10 free games every time, so don’t get too happy if you see five Scatters blaze across your reels since it’s always going to give you 10. However, you can re-trigger free games and they’ll get added to your remaining total, with 2 Burning Mills giving you an extra 5 spins, and 3 Burning Mills giving you an extra 10.
During your Frankenstein Free Games you’ll want to keep an eye on reel 5 because every time the Multiplier appears there your multiplier amount will be jacked up by 1x, up to a maximum of 5x. Also, the Fire Wild will swap in for the Lightning Wild and can light random symbols beside it on fire to make them wild as well.
As I’ve already complained about in the above sections, the big issue with Frankenstein Slots is that there simply aren’t enough moving pieces in this game and there really aren’t any fun symbol animations of note. That’s not to say that the game design itself isn’t nice, because it is – it has a unique feel and the graphics that were included look good. It’s just that there’s not enough going on to keep things interesting.
The best visual effect we get in this game is the creepy grave digging intro that plays as its loading, which does an excellent job of getting you to sit straight up in your seat and pay attention. Gathering corpses for scientific experiments is serious business, after all.
Another graphical highlight is when you trigger the free spins mode and chase The Monster with pitchforks, which leads to a different background and changes the mood from “creepy” to “violent”. The video is well done but it obviously doesn’t make up for all of the other omissions in the game.
Audio & Soundtrack
Thunder crashes as windmill symbols fall, and electricity sizzles and cracks when you hit the Lightning Wilds. Also, a scary orchestra blasts out short bursts of music depending on what symbols have fallen on the reels, and believe me when I tell you that these audio clips are quite jarring and unnecessary. They’re very loud and abrupt so they blast you out of your seat every time.
Sadly there isn’t a soft, creepy soundtrack that plays in the background of this game. NetEnt could have easily added a dark symphonic number that played throughout the regular game to better set the mood. Another miss in a long list of easily-avoided errors.
The audio each time you press the “Spin” button is kind of funny because it sounds like pulling a lever in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, but it does get annoying after a while. However, if you keep it on auto-spin the audio is not activated, so you can get a break from the noise.
The story of Frankenstein will always be relevant while Mankind strives to play god and create artificial life where there wasn’t any before. As long as people continue to choose to pass judgement on those who they know nothing about, The Modern Prometheus should be required reading in every school across the land.
The other major themes in Frankenstein are fear and anger, so it’s ironic that I’m afraid that most of you are going to be quite upset with NetEnt for releasing a slot game that feels 75% complete. Fans of the original movies or novels will be excited at first with the intro video and graphics for the regular game, but then that excitement will quickly turn into boredom, and eventually anger.
With no bonus rounds, no jackpot, no flashy effects, and no in-game features, Frankenstein Slots is going to disappoint more players than it pleases, and probably by a very wide margin. It’s just not that much fun to play.
I think that NetEnt should either bury this game in the graveyard or put it back on the operating table for some upgrades because this current version is simply incomplete.
Yes – they have created a monster…and it will destroy both you and your bankroll!
Crazy am I? Well go play it for yourself and see whether I’m crazy or not…
Bonus Video of Frankenstein
After a depressing review about a lacklustre game, I think we need to raise our spirits a little bit. So here is Huey Lewis and the News at the height of both their popularity and their narcism. You really have to think highly of yourselves to release a music video with a massive 3 and a half minute intro skit.
So here’s their take on the classic Frankenstein tale with “Doing It All For My Baby“. Enjoy?