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Pinball / Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Sega Pinball creates a monster hit!

The Creature

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a Physical Pinball Table designed by John Borg and illustrated by Paul Faris. Based on the Tri-Star film directed by Kenneth Branagh, it was released in January 1995 as the debut pin from Sega Pinball.

As expected, the game revisits key scenes from Victor Frankenstein's experiments to reverse death. Travel to Ingolstadt, collect body parts from the Graveyard, then raise the Voltage to reanimate The Creature. Lynch Justine, start Geneva Multiball, and endure the Stoning, and try to pick up an Extra Ball or Frankenstein Millions along the way. Players who can get to the Ice Cave in the North Pole might be able to complete the Creation and discover the game's final secrets — but watch out when the Creature begins throwing pinballs at you...

Among pinball players, Frankenstein is considered a difficult but impressive first table from Sega, with a feel that sets it apart from other manufacturers' games. Although the rules aren't too complex, the placement of targets and lanes require very precise shooting skills, and completing some scenes becomes very hard as a result. The audio/visual package also gets lots of praise, from the great use of animation on the oversized LED screen, Paul Faris' detailed artwork, and having both the movie soundtrack and Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" as theme songs. If there is a downside, it's that the Creature on the playfield is underutilized, but the game is strong enough in other areas that it becomes moot.


A digital version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is available on The Pinball Arcade and Stern Pinball Arcade, the latter being available for free. Following the removal of all Bally/Williams tables in July 2018, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has replaced Tales of the Arabian Nights as the free table.

This pinball demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: Averted for the most part, to the surprise of many players. There are NO grace periods of any kind anywhere — not with the ball saver, the Scene awards, or the multiball jackpots.
    • Played straight for very poor players; if a player has been doing badly, the game will set the next Scene to "Light Extra Ball" (or even light the Special) at the start of the last ball.
    • Notably, if the ball goes into the left outlane immediately after the ball is plunged, it won't deactivate the Kickback.
  • Big Electric Switch: The ball launcher is this.
    • One appears during the Skill Shot; throwing it collects the indicated reward.
  • Cap: The score caps out at 9,999,999,990.
  • Credits Gag: One of the messages during the Attract Mode asks players to become an organ donor, complete with phone number.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fastball Special: Done by The Creature, who throws pinballs at the player.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress/Of Corsets Sexy: The playfield is decorated with various shots of Elizabeth (and other ladies) wearing elegant Victorian dresses with laced corsets.
  • Incendiary Exponent: On the lower playfield, the resurrected Elizabeth is shown framed by fire.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: The Creature has large, visible scars.
  • Mythology Gag: Sonic the Hedgehog appears on the display during the Attract Mode. After the display loops several times, Sonic sports scars like Frankenstein's other creatures.
    • Adapted Out: Sadly this was removed from the Pinball Arcade version, for obvious copyright reasons.
      • However, another nod to Sonic The Hedgehog that wasn't edited out (possibly because no one caught on) appears in the form of the sound heard when a jackpot is scored on any of the multiball modes. It may be difficult to spot amongst all the other noises going on at the same time, but if one listens closely, the noise heard is the sound from Sonic the Hedgehog CD when travelling to the Future or Past versions of levels.
  • Nintendo Hard: Completing most of the creation scenes as intended is an exercise in futility due to the requirements in most of them and the extremely tight time limit. For example, in "Creature Feature", the ramp must be shot a total of eight times in 30 seconds. If you mess up even once, you might as well call it quits. Most players instead opt to start Creature Multiball while the mode is active, which automatically counts the mode completed for all but a few select scenes (the aforementioned "Creature Feature" being one of the exceptions).
    • Averted with the "Light Extra Ball" scene, which awards a CREATION letter simply for activating it.
  • Painting the Medium: The ball launcher is also the doctor's Big Electric Switch.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The game allows players to choose either the movie soundtrack or Edgar Winter's rock anthem "Frankenstein" as the theme music.
  • Say My Name: All over the place: the game even quotes the trope directly at times!
  • Secondary Adaptation: Based on the Kenneth Branagh-directed film, which itself was based on the book of the same name.
  • Shirtless Scene: There's a (relatively) small shot of a shirtless Victor on the backglass.
  • Skill Shot: Throw the Big Electric Switch to collect the currently-flashing reward.
  • Spelling Bonus: Hitting all of the F-R-A-N-K-E-N-S-T-E-I-N letters starts a Creation Scene, and shooting the scoop spells G-E-N-E-V-A to start Geneva Multiball. During the "Creature Feature" scene, shooting the ramp spells C-R-E-A-T-U-R-E. C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N itself is spelled by passing a score threshold for each Scene.
  • Wizard Mode: Creation Multiball is available after finishing all eight Scenes. The player gets 100 million for each CREATION letter collected, then a one-minute six-ball multiball starts. All targets are worth 1 million points or more, and spelling FRANKENSTEIN nets another 100 million. After the minute is up, the game goes dead while all balls are drained, then the game loads up another ball to continue.

Frankenstein: "Electricity is the key!"