#8 Addams Family (SNES)
Addams Family was an early release for the SNES and being a licenced game I avoided it at the time. That was my loss as this is a really solid game that would have really impressed me back then. This is a straight-up platform game but it has been blessed with a fair bit of attention to detail and overall effort by the developers which is refreshing to see. Even at the time of launch (the early 90s) loads of identikit licenced games were around - mostly poor Mario ripoffs. While this game does steal some ideas from the Mario series it is different enough to deserve some attention.
This isn't a linear platform game - you can tackle each of the game's goals in any order you like. You control Gomez Addams who must rescue 5 family members secreted around the house. Gomez is wonderfully responsive and "slidey" and has had some graphical attention paid to him. The character artwork mostly resembles the cast of the early 90s film, not the original film series and a pretty good job has been done here.
Gomez has a health bar represented on-screen by a heart meter. Initially you have 2 hearts meaning you can be hit twice before losing a life but there are 3 meter extensions to be found in the house too. In all then you have 8 goals to achieve each guarded by a boss - and I recommend you go for the extra hearts first as this game is tough.
Gameplay is centered around a hub area in the Addams mansion. There is a main landing area from which you can pick a door which leads to a long tortuous course through many rooms to your goal. Each room is packed with weird enemies that usually just follow a predetermined path and you can either avoid them or stomp them Mario-style. Enemies will only respawn if you leave the room (with the odd - very annoying exception).
The graphics are very good indeed - the game has a great look even today because the design is very good. Rooms are grouped into areas and are uniquely themed. Some courses have short cuts and alternative routes and there are tons of secret areas to find. Enemy design is excellent and can look very weird - in fact some areas remind me of the surreal Brit 8-bit platformer Jet Set Willy. Sounds are good as is the music which can become a but repetitive due to the limited repartee - no doubt down the the limits imposed by the cartridge size.Having said that you can "click" along with the theme tune at the title screen using the L and R shoulder buttons!
The game feels huge and the levels are really tough - especially early on when your health meter is small but once you get that built up and find some secret rooms that have piles of 1-UPs in them, the game starts to feel manageable. The boss battles are a bit of a disappointment as they are nowhere near as tough as the actual levels which prove to be pretty imaginative.
Not only have I notched up another game-entry this week, I have actually completed a game too. I sat with the kids over the last fortnight and finished this. Progress is saved via password - good news for gamers on a time budget - and the password system only requires a 5 character code. The kids found this quite novel being used to games with backup built in. GAMEFAQS has an excellent article on this password system detailing how to roll your own from scratch and also explains a bug in the password system that sometimes loses the number of lives saved.
The hub style play means this game won't get old - you can always try a different course if you get disheartened. The kids are still playing this despite seeing the ending. I put this down to the charm of the game and the fact that there are piles of secrets to find. Its a pity that many licenced games don't get the attention this game had lavished on it - this is highly recommended.
I agree that this game feels huge. I like the fact that it is non linear. It sports very nice graphics. All in all a good game. Great stuff Davy.