Genre: Platformer Developer: Ocean Publisher: Flying Edge Players: 1 Released: 1993
Who doesn’t know the Addams Family? Sprouted from the brain of cartoonist Charles Addams, the original cartoon with black humor has gone on to spawn movies and even video games on all different consoles.
But today we’re here to talk about the Addams Family for the Genesis/Mega Drive.
Though it seems to be based on the first movie that came long after the successful series (which ran from 1964-1966), the story doesn’t follow the same plot. Instead of a lawyer and two con men attempting to steal the family’s fortune by posing as Uncle Fester, in this story all the family members are kidnapped by the judge and Tulie the lawyer. It’s now up to Gomez (Raul Julia in his best role) to save the day, his family members, and their own home.
The game start at the mansion where you can dive right in or you can go anywhere to look for your family members. You can even go into the Old Tree searching for money and extra lives, as well as find hidden places… did I say hidden places? Addams Family is loaded with them. Even when when you die you can go to exit screen, and there is a hidden area to get three extra lives!
The action is centered on finding your family members and also finding money, which is spread everywhere, to get a big high score. Everyone but Lurch and Thing have been abducted, and the Thing aids Gomez on his quest by offering hints. Once you go into the mansion there are several doors to go through, each of which leads to a different room, all of which serve as levels, ranging from the kitchen to the garden, basement, and attic. There are also hidden doors that you can only find by pressing up on the D-pad at certain areas, just like in the Master System game Wonderboy in Monsterland. The whole adventure is primarily one big search, and there’s a lot to see and find.
To get through the game, Gomez must find and use all kinds of weapons to help him, such as a sword and jumping shoes. Additionally, enemies can be destroyed by jumping on them. These enemies come in all sizes and shapes but aren’t too hard to kill. In fact, it’s quite easy to eliminate them. Luckily, the controls are responsive, something that makes jumping on enemies the stock attack method most of the time.
And now about the bad things in the game. First off, the graphics, which are nice, aren’t too detailed. It’s not like things come off as a rush job, but I think they could have done more with the backgrounds. Sometimes they’re just bland with the same on repeating over and over again.
The music is also very repetitive. Most of the time it’s the same melody from the series and the movies, and while that’s nice if you like that particular theme, it does tend to grate after a while. To be fair, there are a few other tracks, but they’re nothing to write home about, and there’s not a single tune that’s going to make you whistle along.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Addams Family is that it does absolutely nothing that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. The typical “hop-’n-bop” gameplay that platformers all used at the time is especially dull here. The few power ups offered are unimaginative and often not even needed (golf balls? Really?).
Furthermore, the Addams mansion is huge, and offers a lot of different stages to explore, but you’re doing exactly the same thing in all of them. Since the series and movies portrayed the house as one filled with all kinds of mysterious and macabre items and areas, it would have been nice to have seen this incorporated in the game. At least there’s a password system, so you never have to start from the beginning.
I’d have to base my rating on the initial playthough, since an already easy game just becomes easier the second time you play. At least then you have the benefit of finding all the secret areas, since you’ve gotten past the learning curve. Of course, you could always use a FAQ and just find all the areas the first time, but then the fun is over, and the game goes back to collecting dust on your shelf.
Overall, Addams Family is a bland adventure that’s not a bad purchase if you can find it cheap. Yes, there’s a lot of exploration and hidden items, but the gameplay is nothing special. Moreover, when you’ve finished it and found everything there is, you most likely won’t be coming back to it. Just watch the movies if you need more for your Addams fix. They are much more fun then playing this. Heck, even part three direct to video is more fun.