Saturday 13 November 2021

The Addams Family (NES review)

Developer: Ocean
Publisher: Ocean
Released: 1992

The Addams Family is an adventure title that's loosely based on the 1991 film of the same name.

As Gomez, the mission is to rescue Morticia, Lurch, Granny, Pugsley and Wednesday, and save your home from Tully Alford who is seeking the family fortune. A total of one million dollars must also be collected to complete the game and enemies can be bounced on to help you gain extra height. Unlike many games in the genre, the answers to each puzzle aren't obtuse and I like how the solutions can be figured out by using logical methods; for example, in order for Wednesday to assist you first need to help her thaw by visiting The Furnace room. What's also great is how players are guided from the very start and given hints that give clear objectives. There's plenty of secret rooms to locate too and a big part of the fun comes from exploring the house and seeing all the different rooms / themes that the game has in store. The property has a sense of intrigue that's also seen in Maniac Mansion (1990, NES) and the further you delve into it the more you become invested in seeing everything it has to offer. The hit detection is extremely questionable though, resulting in many unjust hits despite you clearly landing on top of an enemy sprite. Additionally, you'll often enter a room and be immediately attacked by an enemy or falling object with no time to react. The Pond area is easily the worst part of the game, as you're expected to continually tap the A button in order to swim; this might not sound too punishing, but it needs to be pressed so rapidly and so often that it's a sure-fire way to develop repetitive strain injury! The game is also short, but the music is memorable and each track suits the room theme perfectly.

The Addams Family is an all-too-brief adventure with some technical hiccups in tow, but these criticisms don't ruin what is a likeable title that's suitable for newcomers to the genre. The stage design and layouts are excellent too and the puzzle elements shy away from convoluted solutions to keep you progressing.

Random trivia: Another game in the franchise called The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt was released on the NES in 1993.

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