Monday, August 27, 2012

NES Replay: The Addams Family

Addams Family Title Screen
Developer: Arc Developments
Publisher: Ocean
Released: 1993
Stockholm Syndome: Probably Kicking In
In NES Replay, we go through each NES game from A-Z to see if they're any good. Today: The Addams Family.
Licensed games for the NES. Was there anything better?

Yes. Yes there was.

Most licensed games in the NES era (games based on an existing property, like a cartoon or movie) were plain awful. There were a few exceptions, and we'll get to some of those down the line. But by and large, most licensed games were lazy cash-ins where the minimum of effort was expended in order to get the game out the door.

Compared to most licensed games, The Addams Family isn't that bad. There's at least a semblance of complexity, as you pick up items and keys and delve into the Addams family mansion, and Gomez looks surprisingly just like John Astin. However, the controls are spongy, the music is kind of tinny, and most of the graphics look boring or bland.

Addams Family Screenshot 1
See? A little like John Astin.
And yet, The Addams Family is still strangely fun. I can't put my finger on why. Maybe it's because Action 52 has completely destroyed my personal grading curve, but maybe, possibly, it's because The Addams Family was at least trying and was at least fun at some points.

For example, there's one frantic sequence in a kitchen, where you're trying to avoid cups and knives flying at you while you try to reach an oven so you can enter it. (Yes, yes, video game logic.) You can't kill any of the flying cups and knives, so you're just trying to avoid them. It's surprisingly entertaining.

And if you do manage to get hit by an enemy, you have a huge life bar that's surprisingly forgiving. For example, if you accidentally land on some spikes, as long as you get off of them quickly it won't automatically kill you, although it'll take a big chunk out of your health.

You're also not just running from one end of the screen to the other. You're getting keys and items, which open up other areas and enable you to continue onward. It's like a homeless man's Metroid.

I'm not going to pretend that The Addams Family is some sort of lost classic, and maybe I just have Action 52 goggles, but The Addams Family is not half-bad. Really.

Final Rating:

Next week: The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt.

Looking for more NES games? Click here for more!

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