One of the challenges of attempting to review Retro Games is the ability to take off your own nostalgia glasses. Just because you loved a game when you were 8, doesn’t mean that you have to still like it. And just because you thought a game was good, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a steaming pile of Sonic Adventure.
I think I first played the Addams Family game in early 1993 at a mates house, and while the memories were good, the game is not.
The game ties in with the film that was released in 1991 in that the character design is based on the actors from the film, however the story does not follow the film.
The evil Lawyer, Tully Alford, has imprisoned the Family within the Addamses Mansion, and she wants to steal the Addams Fortune. It is up to Gomez to go and rescue them, since Lurch just sits there playing piano like a useless twonk.
The Addams Family is a platformer, but it is fairly open. You can complete levels in whatever order you choose, and there are many secret passages that’ll take you elsewhere in the Addams home and Garden. The problem is… The game is a little too big.
The game is roughly an hour long if you are fantastic at the game, if not, then it’ll easily take you several hours to beat. And… There are only 5 proper levels.
Levels drag, and you feel like you’re not progressing. When a level containes 15 different sections, and around 25 checkpoints, you know the level is too long. If it was Mario Bros style and had 8 worlds with 4 stages it’d make more sense. Hell, even if it was like Mega Man, and had 8 tough stages you would feel like you’re progressing. But here you can literally spend 30 minutes on a level and not get anywhere near the end.
The open hub world is a problem for me too, as I can often struggle to find the actual level! The staircase contains 7 doors, meaning there are two more doors than levels. Yes there are 3 bonus levels to give you extra health/lives. But not knowing where the hell to go is the resounding feeling when playing the Addams Family.
As levels have multiple routes, and secret passages, you can ruin a 30 minute long level by taking the wrong door. If you go through a door that leads to another section, and you don’t know it, you can very often find yourself “back in the graveyard” when you were 2 meters away from the boss on a level.
I guess the Addams Family can be counted as difficult. Not Mega Man 2 hard, where it is tough but fair. But Mega Man 1 hard, where it is a little broken. The controls are a little too slippery and Gomez is a jittery in his movement, but you get used to that. It is the endless blind jumps, the occasional shonkey checkpoint, the door that fucks you over, or the infuriating narrow jumps that send you flailing to your death. There are even several annoyingly difficult jumping sections, that have timers attached to them. It moves a frustrating game firmly into the “FUCK RIGHT OFF YOU CUNTING CUNT BASTARD FUUUUUUUUUU” level of annoyance.
Addams Family looks decent, Gomez looks cool, the pictures on the walls and cutscenes look like the film actors, and the music can be good. The difficulty comes from annoying game design and cheap hits that simply frustrate you. Games are allowed to be hard, I relish a challenge, but the Addams Family often falls into the unfair and annoying difficulty category too much for me to like it.
For a film licenced game it isn’t terrible, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a cash grab but I don’t know who the game is aimed. It is too hard for kids, and anyone older than 10 will probably see it for what it is.
I honestly couldn’t recommend this to anyone, but the game isn’t broken and if you have the patience to learn the frustrating levels then you might find some joy.
Pros: The Theme Song. Some people like it.
Cons: Fuckity fuck fuck fuuuuuuuuu!
Back in the day:
Another seriously mixed response game Addams Family scored anywhere between 25 and 95%, the praise seemed to focus on the art style and way the film has been adapted make it stand out as “not just a Mario clone”.