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39 Steps
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

33
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Hey, I know I like a man with guts, but I'm not too keen on having to dig them out of the ground myself! Kidneys, liver... it sounds more like a fry-up than a dating agency.

Ooh, this is scary. I've been pinned to the wall by the ghoulies... and I'm not refering to Gwyn! Help mummy... or is it a skeleton. I never wanted to be a bride especially when my wedding night's going to be spent picking up the pieces of my marriage. All I want is a man with all his organs.

This is a wander-round proggie, so start humming bits and pieces - it's the sort of experience that could make you crack up in fear. From the highest tower to the dankest crypt (at least it smells like somebody's crypt) you have to search for the bits and bobs and even the brain that'll make Frankie feel like a new man... and hopefully a honeymoon night of whay-hey-hey.

You start by wending your way through the chamber of Castle Frankenstein in search of the exit. You can carry just two objects, one of which is a key. It's fairly easy to find one to start with, but later on it becomes a classic case of match the Yale to the latch. You either find the fitting mortice or end up mortified.

Fear plays a big part in Frankie as ghosts and skeletons attack... and I don't just mean sneaking up on you. I mean heart attack. Bridie is a sensitive soul who can only take so many shocks, and too much stimulation will get her pumping away so hard she expires. There's just time to dodge the supernatural pests, but only if you know what you're doing.

With one hand taken up by keys, you'll need the other for things like the spade and pickaxe that let you cut the graveyard sod. Yes, it's Frankie all over and you just dig him. Then there's a lantern - what would an adventure, either text or arcade, be without one? The Bride's scared of the dark and needs it to explore the arches in the garden.

Once you've collected the catalogue of wobbly pink bits it's time to cart them all up to the Big F's penthouse apartment and undertake a little electrical work to get the big guy juiced up because you'll need plenty of volts if you're to indulge in some pole vaulting.

I reckon that Bride Of Frankenstein is going to appeal to traditional adventurers as much as arcade players. It's got exactly the same feel of puzzle-solving but without any of those finger-flummoxing text inputs. There's not too much dodging though - brains are more important than reactions. You'll need your own grey matter to locate Frank's.

But the things that really appealed to me were the graphics. They're cute and funny and very atmospheric, just like one of the old movies that inspired the title. I actually began shouting encouragement to my heroine as she fled from the various nasties.

Not the most original release of the year, nor the most sophisticated, but a lot of fun with enough knotty problems to keep you tied up for a good while. Now what's that cold chill along my spine? Gwyn, have you dropped an ice cube down my dress again?

A competent thriller as Mrs F goes in search of her man's missing bits. Giggles for adventuring guys and ghouls.

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