(Review archived from January 15, 2018)
The Addams Family was one of the earliest ‘modern reboot’ films that I can recall in my memory, so much so that the movie even predates the term ‘modern reboot’. I’m sure there were other earlier ‘rebooted’ franchises (I mean how many times have the classic Universal monsters been rebooted?), but the amount of hoopla surrounding this film was considerable, and that’s probably what makes it stand out in my mind. Anyone remember MC Hammer’s timeless classic The Addams Groove? No? Well then thank your lucky stars, because it sucks. The output of the marketing blitz surrounding The Addams Family movie wasn’t all bad though, and The Addams Family game released for SNES is indeed … not half bad. In fact I’m willing to go on record to say it’s “fully decent”. How’s that for a box quote?
At its core The Addams Family is a fairly good Mario clone, possibly even one of the better second-string Mario clones I’ve played on the SNES. From the onset, it’s fairly clear that the developers actually put some effort into this game rather than regurgitating some half-baked licensed turd for a quick buck. The Addams Family is a game that wears its Mario inspiration proudly and it actually does so fairly well. From the cutesy character models, to the bouncy well executed music, to the clever level designs, it’s a game that instantly feels familiar. As Gomez, your goal is to rescue the various members of the Addams Family who have somehow been taken captive and are being held at various locations throughout the labyrinthine Addams Family manor. Each ‘level’ branches out from a central starting hub room, though there are several branches of the house that are interconnected either directly or through hidden shortcuts. The level design is a real highlight of the game. The music is also very well done, and the digitized version of the Addams Family theme is every bit as kooky and catchy as one might expect.
There are some aspects of The Addams Family game which are altogether ooky though. Despite the fact that it tries really hard to feel like a Mario game, it never quite gets there especially in terms of control (and really if you’re trying to feel like a Mario game this seems like that should be priority #1). One of the first things I noticed is that forward momentum is tricky to manage. It’s a very ‘drifty’ feeling game. Couple this with the fact that edge detection can be hit-or-miss and you have an artificial sense of difficulty which could have been managed if only for more finely tuned controls. And The Addams Family isn’t just artificially difficult; it’s a full-on ball buster in certain areas. It’s a game that takes great delight in trolling players through off-screen enemy and trap placements. This often requires some highly precise platforming, which the game struggles to facilitate due to the aforementioned control issues. I also hate to say it, but the graphics are just sort of … meh. They’re entirely passable, just not super impressive. Graphically I’d say it feels on the level of NES 1.5 if that makes any sense.
When all is said and done, The Addams Family is a fairly good game. It’s certainly challenging and often in ways that feel not-quite-fair, but much like the Mario games it seeks to emulate, The Addams Family has that hook that keeps you coming back for more. Recommended for diehard fans of side-scrolling platformers, and Addams Family junkies (assuming that they exist). Now just try to get that theme song out of your head. <snap, snap>