30 Years of Video Games – Dr Franken (1992)

I’m waving goodbye to my 20′s and to celebrate I’m counting down 30 games from the last 30 years.  Join me while I countdown 30 great years of game memories.

Dr Franken

I have a ridiculous soft spot for Nintendo’s handheld brick.  It was what I spent more of my childhood gaming years with under the booming brightness of a desk lamp and was home to a swathe fantastic games.  Of course there were also some not so fantastic games.   Sitting somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is UK developer Elite Systems’ (by way of subsidiary Motivetime Ltd) puzzle platformer Dr Franken.  Basically a glorified treasure hunt, the game has you playing as Franky (get it?) who is searching for the pieces of his girlfriend Bitsy (you can’t make this stuff up) which are strewn across his rather large gothic mansion.  Unlike many platformers of the day Dr Franken lets go of the player’s hand early on as you are forced to decipher sometimes incredibly cryptic riddles and clues in order to put poor dismembered Bitsy’s body back together.  Like most Game Boy platformers of the day there’s not much to the gameplay but it is far from an easy task navigating the rather large mansion to solve puzzles and find keys to unlock new areas.  It sounds simple in concept but in execution Dr Franken is quite a difficult game wrapped up in a child friendly wrapper.  

It’s certainly not as complex as a Metroid or Castlevania game despite sharing some similarities, but for its time Dr Franken was a pretty unique experience and a great distraction from the seemingly hundreds of run-right platformers that polluted the Game Boy catalogue in the early 90’s.  It’s a rather macabre tale really but the tone of the game and the fact that you’re a hulking big green monstrosity running around a mansion distract from that fact that that what you’re really playing through is a rather sinister murder scene.  

And I’m still not sure to this day why Franky could shoot lightning bolts from his head.


Have a favourite game from 1992?  Tell us in the comments below.  Don’t forget to come back soon for the next game in our countdown.  Miss a year?  Catch up below.

1991 – 1990 – 1989 – 1988 – 1987 – 1986 – 1985 – 1984 – 1983