They’re creepy and they’re kooky.
Mysterious and spooky.
They’re all together ooky.
The Addams Family.
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
It’s enough to drive Gomez bonkers, the poor sap. Rest In Peace, Raúl Juliá.
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
A: Game Room
B: Portrait Gallery
D: Music Room
E: Old Tree
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!
Beginning the game outside the Addams’ residence, you’re free to either enter inside or patrol these ghastly grounds.
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.
Power-ups are scattered about, such as the Fezi-copter. Be sure to grab them as they will aid you in your quest.
It’s a rather difficult game but you’re given plenty of 1UPs.
To say this game has some, ahem, striking similarities to Super Mario World would be quite an understatement.
Hey, that’s just like the flower power attack in the Mario games…
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.
Although you can tackle the game in any order, you really ought to clear this stage first.
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.
It’s a HEART BONANZA, but you only get one. What a tease.
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.
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.
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.
The controls are a touch slippery enough on their own. Combine that now with ice and well, you know the rest.
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.
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.
Now we enter the Portrait Gallery where Uncle Fester is held captive by the evil witch.
Those knights are tough. They toss their swords around like vicious boomerangs.
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.
Nothing beats spotting an exit after a particularly hard bit. Whew!
Look, it’s a bookworm. Geddit? A worm. On a book. Alright, I’ll see myself out.
The train rumbles along as deadly floating spikes force you to either duck or jump.
This is a unique boss fight in that you must team up with your brother to attack the evil witch. Pretty cool stuff.
After rescuing your brother Fester, the old bloke urges you to go rescue your wife. Gee thanks. Didn’t think of that one, buddy!
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!
PASSWORD GOOF-UP, OOF!
CONTROL THAT TEMPER OF YOURS…
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.
If you really need help, these Game Genie codes are handy.
Infinite lives: DDA1-A4A7
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
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.
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.
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!
3 thoughts on “The Addams Family (SNES)”
Ocean Software’s Nintendo 16-bit foray, their video game adaptation of Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 directorial debut The Addams Family, is a very endearing game =) Sure, it takes several liberties, but it retains the macabre charm of the license which is the more important thing, and of the three Addams Family games in the console I consider this one to be the more manageable of them all
I like that you get to control of Gomez Addams (RIP Raul Julia), it’s a neat subtle touch how press either shoulder button makes him inch over to one side, and I appreciate how his sword, arsenal of golf balls, and speed shoes act as a health supplement so you don’t lose a heart when you’ve got one of those on hand (until the next time you sustain damage)
I like the various location settings, like the warm-colored oven and the picture gallery room as well as the chain room and Wednesday’s hiding spot with the creepy faces in the backdrop, and I like how the cast in the credits are represented as caricatures. I really dug how engrossingly atmospheric and occasionally catchy Jonathan Dunn’s soundtrack was (he even did a good job adapting the Addams Family theme music), and Dunn’s a pretty good composer for I also like his music in Ocean’s Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues on the Game Boy as well as his own take on Raphaël Gesqua’s original SNES Mr. Nutz music on the Game Boy)
I played this game again recently for the first time in four years, and I still found it to be fun even if it really required that you make carefully judged leaps, heightened jumps, and movements given the enemy patterns and placements (I might have lost a little practice in the years of not playing it, but I managed to overcome these areas again in the end… after several tries); the thing I love the most about this game, just like one the things I love the most about Ocean’s subsequent platformer Mr. Nutz, is the cornucopia of secret rooms, nooks and crannies you discover upon searching thoroughly (like Pugsley’s den and certain walls that you walk through) that winds up making it all worth it… something that was a bit lost in Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt which I looked up was deliberately made more difficult because apparently the people at Ocean were informed that people were dissatisfied(?) with The Addams Family’s overall difficulty–yeeeaaah, ’cause the thing about this game was that it just… wasn’t… hard *enough*… o_O It is a bit hard, yes, but not Namco’s Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai hard though it’s not exactly Nintendo’s Super Mario World easy either so I don’t know how they got to that conclusion (it’s manageably challenging if you stick with it). At least this game had a simple five-character password system and was relatively short when all was said and done whereas Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt doesn’t have one at all and feels overly long because of how laboriously difficult THAT game is to try to beat in one sitting while sustaining mandatory hits; I mean, comparatively speaking, there was nothing wrong with The Addams Family’s difficulty level
Of the movie licensed platforms on the Nintendo 16-bit I consider this to be one of the better ones, honestly, alongside Capcom’s Disney’s Aladdin, and it’s my second favorite Nintendo 16-bit Ocean title behind Mr. Nutz, as I find it to be endearing, macabre fun =)
To each their own
Yeah, this game has a lot of fun little touches as you said. Nuanced stuff that clearly you can tell the programmers had a lot of fun making (and they themselves have said so in the past).
I’ll have to try Mr. Nutz! It’s been on my shelf 15 years, lol. Maybe I’ll finally play it thoroughly in 2021!
Hope you have fun playing it whenever you get to it, Mr. Nutz is one of my favorite Nintendo 16-bit platformers of all time and holds a special place in my heart! =)
And Happy Belated New Year, Steve! =D