30 Games Of April – Day 14

The Addams Family
Developed by:Ocean
Published by:Ocean
Format played:Amiga 500 / SNES

Well this is rather disappointing. I have fond memories of this on the Amiga but coming back to it now, it’s just really annoying.

Based on the crappy 1991 film, family patriarch Gomez Addams must find the various members of his family, who have been captured and hidden around the house. Now in my gaff that would be a fairly simple task, although to be fair there could be lost Amazon tribes in the pit of the girls’ room going undiscovered. But of course the Addams Family mansion is no ordinary household.

In a departure from the usual format, levels can be tackled in any order. Acting as a hub, the mansion gives you access to various doors that lead to different parts of the house, or even outside to the graveyard.

Let’s start with some positives because there are plenty of them. Graphically this is superb. Gomez is captured perfectly and brings real character to proceedings. The SNES version has a definite leg up on its Amiga counterpart here. Backgrounds are detailed with flaming torches, family portraits and other incidental details. The Amiga version by comparison is completely barren, the scrolling backgrounds of the SNES version replaced with a dull black, although the animation of enemies and obstacles is consistent across both platforms.

Musically the Amiga is king. In-game music is much of a muchness however whilst both offer a rendition of the TV theme, the SNES version sounds rather puny. The Amiga’s rich sound capabilities really come to the fore, offering a far more faithful recreation of the famous piece.

The game itself is a bit of a mixed bag. Technically it is supremely competent. Gomez moves nicely enough, jumping, ducking and even stabbing or lobbing weapons when picked up. Most enemies can be dispatched by jumping on their heads, timing crucial to avoid leaping into another just as you dispense with the first. Obstacles are fiendish little buggers, including great big swinging balls of death, spiked floors, cannon ball spewing towers and plenty more besides.

Take the licence away though and one could quite reasonably paint this as a fairly obvious Mario clone. Money to pick up? Check. 3 tiered health system? Check. Enemies you can jump on? Check. Power ups to collect? Check. Flawless, multi-layered gameplay that caters to new gamers, veteran gamers and everything in between, balancing accessibility with depth, rewarding players who want to go hunting down every last secret whilst remembering to service gamers on their first play through? Eh, not so much.

Far too many times I found myself jumping to take out an enemy only to leap straight into a different one. Or my jump coming up just short so that instead of sending him to oblivion I run straight into him, losing a precious bar of health. Or the way you have to hit pixel perfect jumps off of moving cannon balls, travelling over spiked floors that spell instant death if hit. Or, and this is a real personal pet peeve, getting past an obstacle and moving swiftly forward, only to get thwacked by a projectile or swinging ball that you had no hope of seeing until you were already on the receiving end of it, reducing the game to a Rick Dangerous esque memory test. And you know my feelings about Rick Dangerous.

It’s not a bad game by any means. It certainly presents a challenge. At its core though its just a fairly average platformer, and one that I found routinely more annoying than satisfying to play.

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