The Addams Family (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Ocean |March 1992 | 8 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Ocean | March 1992 | 8 MEGS

They’re creepy and they’re kooky.
Mysterious and spooky.
They’re all together ooky.
The Addams Family.
*snap snap*

Released roughly half a year after the Super Nintendo launched in North America, players take control of patriarch Gomez as he madly searches for his missing family members throughout the mansion’s innumerous nooks and crannies. It’s blatantly clear early on that Ocean drew much inspiration from Super Mario World. But hey, if you’re going to copy someone, you might as well copy the best. But that doesn’t automatically equate to a great game. Let’s see if The Addams Family warrants a visit this Halloween.

SAVE YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS

Looking for his brother, Fester
Looking for his brother, Fester
As well as Grave Old Granny
As well as Grave Old Granny
His daughter Wednesday (shout out to Christina Ricci)
His daughter Wednesday (shout out to Christina Ricci)
And of course, among others, his wife Morticia
And of course, among others, his wife Morticia
"Ayyyy... why did I have such a big family??"
“Ayyyy… why did I have such a big family??”

It’s enough to drive Gomez bonkers, the poor sap. Rest In Peace, Raúl Juliá.

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Thankfully, at least you don’t have to find Thing. In fact, Thing even aids you by providing little tips and clues throughout your quest. Talk about giving you a hand… [SMH -Ed.]

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

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A: Game Room
B: Portrait Gallery
C: Kitchen
D: Music Room
E: Old Tree
F: Conservatory
G: Front Door
H: Pugsley’s Den

One of the nice things about this game is that it’s non-linear, unlike many other SNES platformers. Players have the choice of picking their battles by choosing any door at any time. The only initially inaccessible door is the Music Room. That’s where Morticia is held captive and she must be rescued last. Other than that, it’s your choice. Behind each door and world awaits a boss. Defeating a boss either grants you an extra heart or releases a family member. Good luck!

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Beginning the game outside the Addams’ residence, you’re free to either enter inside or patrol these ghastly grounds.

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Yep, The Addams Family is yet another hop ‘n bop on the SNES. Not that that’s a bad thing you see, especially if you enjoy a good old platformer as much as I do.

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Power-ups are scattered about, such as the Fezi-copter. Be sure to grab them as they will aid you in your quest.

Santa Claus had no clue what he was facing here...
Santa Claus had no clue what he was facing here…

It’s a rather difficult game but you’re given plenty of 1UPs.

Ah, that helpful Thing. Pay close attention to the clues
Ah, that helpful Thing. Pay close attention to clues

To say this game has some, ahem, striking similarities to Super Mario World would be quite an understatement.

Part of the fun is finding all the secret hidden rooms
Part of the fun is finding all the secret hidden rooms
Yes, pity the control. But more on that later
Yes, pity the control. But more on that later
No shame in Ocean's game. Oh well, at least it's fun
No shame in Ocean’s game. Oh well, at least it’s fun

Hey, that’s just like the flower power attack in the Mario games…

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I prefer the sword over the golf ball. What it lacks in range the sword makes up for in consistency. The golf ball sometimes doesn’t come out as fast as I would like it to, but the sword always delivers and never misses a beat. Power-ups also allow you to take an extra hit without losing a heart, which can prove to be invaluable.

You looking real classy and stylish there, Gomes
You looking real classy and stylish there, Gomes

Although you can tackle the game in any order, you really ought to clear this stage first.

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DYK: In other versions of this game, the bird will actually try to shit on Gomez. No joke. But of course, Nintendo of America wouldn’t have it so bird pooping was sadly censored. Bummer.

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It’s a HEART BONANZA, but you only get one. What a tease.

Ocean was well aware of this fact, apparently
Ocean was well aware of this fact, apparently
KA-CHING!
KA-CHING

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This is easily one of the most generous early game secrets in gaming history. You know a game’s tough as nails when they supply you with 30 1UPs from jump street.

Gomez not the sharpest knife in the drawer
Gomez isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer
You won't hold on to that sword for very long...
You won’t hold on to that sword for very long…

At the end of this hell hole lies an extra heart. To make sure you don’t get it, this world is filled with insane jumps that require the utmost precision and skill (along with some luck). And should you manage to make it all the way to the end, deadly centipedes await your arrival with bated breath.

Don't like the title of this scene, Money SPIDER...
Don’t like the title of this scene, Money SPIDER
Where have I seen those fire spewing plants before?
Where have I seen those fire spewing plants before?
I wonder if anyone ever got a crazy score like 64,000?
I wonder if anyone ever got a crazy score like 64,000?

And Jim Carrey thought HE had a penguin problem! [What is this, 2011?! -Ed.]
And Jim Carrey thought HE had a penguin problem!
[What is this, 2011?!  Mr. Popper’s Penguins :P -Ed.]
Maybe heading off to the Conservatory so quickly wasn’t the best idea, eh? So let’s try the Kitchen instead. This room is appropriately titled Penguin Problems.

Not exactly Super Mario World, is it? [Touché -Ocean]
Not exactly Super Mario World, is it? [Touché -Gomez]
The controls are a touch slippery enough on their own. Combine that now with ice and well, you know the rest.

Those silly, crazy architects...
Those silly, crazy architects…

This secret room can only be accessed by sliding through. This game encourages you to goof around as you never know where or when you might unlock a hidden room stocked full of goodies.

There are a ton of hidden rooms. Be on the look out
There are a ton of hidden rooms. Be on the look out

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The boss of this stage is the cleverly named Snowman. He may seem hard at first but he’s quite easy after you figure out his pattern. ProTip: you can bounce off the snowballs. Defeating the Snowman will earn you an extra heart.

Standard platforming 101 clichés abound
Standard platforming 101 clichés abound

Now we enter the Portrait Gallery where Uncle Fester is held captive by the evil witch.

Don't you DARE think it! No turning back now [Oh yeah? Just watch me -G]
Don’t you DARE think it! No turning back now
[Oh yeah? Just watch me -G]
Hook is a slow but solid SNES action platformer
Hook is a slow but solid SNES action platformer
Live by the sword, die by the sword...
Live by the sword, die by the sword…

Those knights are tough. They toss their swords around like vicious boomerangs.

Hmmm, what if I jump?
Hmmm, what if I jump here?
Ah yes sir
Ah yes sir!
Hmm, MAYBE family *IS* overrated....
Hmm, MAYBE family *IS* overrated…
Better stock up on those extra lives
Better stock up on those extra lives

This part is pretty brutal. First, you have to rush since the power-up lasts for roughly 15 seconds. On top of that, you must contend with some evil tight spaces. There’s very little room for error here.

Yay!
Yay!

Nothing beats spotting an exit after a particularly hard bit. Whew!

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Look, it’s a bookworm. Geddit? A worm. On a book. Alright, I’ll see myself out.

"Glad I didn't eat that bacon cheeseburger!"
“Glad I didn’t eat that double bacon cheeseburger!”

The train rumbles along as deadly floating spikes force you to either duck or jump.

Clearing it definitely puts a smile on your face
Clearing it definitely puts a smile on your face
Looks like a reject from The Wizard of Oz
Looks like a reject from The Wizard of Oz

This is a unique boss fight in that you must team up with your brother to attack the evil witch. Pretty cool stuff.

Thanks for the password, bro!
These precious passwords are much needed

After rescuing your brother Fester, the old bloke urges you to go rescue your wife. Gee thanks. Didn’t think of that one, buddy!

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Only after rescuing all family members can you then save your wife, Morticia. Other than that, the game allows you to pick whichever path you wish. Find the best one! By the way, couldn’t big Lurch break the wall there instead of playing the piano? C’mon fella!

The Games Room leads you to Pugsley, the fat lad.
The Games Room leads you to Pugsley, the fat lad
At this point can't say I blame you at all, Gomes...
At this point can’t say I blame you at all, Gomes…

PASSWORD GOOF-UP, OOF!

Bloody hell
Bloody hell

CONTROL THAT TEMPER OF YOURS…

Brtual
Brutal

I’ve played some hard games over the decades and I don’t mind a challenge. But it really irks me when a game is overly difficult due to its control, which I feel is sadly the case here. The control could use some work; it’s a bit too loose for my taste. Gomez slips and slides a bit too much which can often lead to cheap hits and early deaths. Some sections require you to jump at the very last second. Failure to do so results in Gomez’s head bumping the platform above him. This could lead to you falling into a pit. Now thankfully falling into a pit doesn’t equal automatic death (it takes off just one energy bar). They had mercy there, but some of those pixel perfect jumps are just flat out annoying.

"How about a little help here, eh?"
“How about a little help here, eh?”

If you really need help, these Game Genie codes are handy.

Invincibility: 3CA7-A467
Infinite lives: DDA1-A4A7

"Maybe I'll just find me a new family instead..."
“Maybe I’ll just find me a new family instead…”

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

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The Addams Family has a fair smattering of supporters who often cites its non-linear approach and stiff challenge as the game’s highlights. EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 6 and 5. Super Play rated it 82%. The Addams Family has a pretty good reputation, especially when talking about license video games. Keep in mind that license games were often more miss than hit back in the early ’90s, and this game managed to rise above the muck.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Having read quite a few glowing reports on The Addams Family over the years, I was pretty excited when I booted it up for the first time back in 2011. I was expecting a very competent and well balanced platforming adventure. In the end, it was something of a mixed bag for me. I’m just not that big a fan of games where you have to wrestle with the control almost as much as you do with the enemies themselves. For all the cool little moments the game presents, the sloppy control left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. If only Ocean had tightened up that aspect, The Addams Family could have been a nice little gem. Of course, your mileage may vary. There are many supporters of this game, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I was hoping to. But it’s very clear Ocean put forth a good effort that just lacked a little polish.

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Yet as much as the control irked me, I enjoyed the rest of the game for the most part. It’s extremely satisfying to knock off the latest boss and earn an extra heart or rescue yet another family member. The last world sports the best graphics in the game. Boss battles are fairly interesting and you could tell Ocean put some thought into this one, rather than it being an afterthought. The final boss is a bit of a joke though, but getting to him is certainly no laughing matter. Thankfully passwords are available along with many lives. One can certainly work through the control issues with a bit of practice and persistence. There is definitely a decent game here, but I’d only recommend it to hardcore platforming fiends. If the idea of lengthy levels, taxing difficulty, freedom to roam around and random secrets galore appeal to you then there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this game. Oh and double everything I said of course if the idea of playing as Gomez gets you all wet with anticipation. Hey, I don’t judge. So yeah, decent game but could have been better. It’s a fun but frustrating Super Mario World clone starring The Addams Family. You could do a whole lot worse than that. Happy Halloween!

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 6.5
Longevity: 6.5

Overall: 6.5

To each his own. Try it out for yourself and see
To each his own indeed
Addams Family Values is flawed but fairly interesting
Addams Family Values is flawed but fairly interesting
Uncle Fester Link to the Past style!
Uncle Fester Link to the Past style!

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