Poor old Charles Addams, eh? Charles is the man who created the Addams Family cartoon in the early thirties and he reportedly based it upon his own family (hence the name). You really have got to feel sorry for anyone who's relatives like nothing more than a spot of poisoning, torture and decapitation haven't you?
Still, I bet his real family never had a disembodied hand for a pet like his famous made up one! They probably had a goldfish or something. Still, Addams' warped cartoon family proved so popular that in the early 1960s a whole television series was devoted to them. This series ran for quite a while, and more recently, a megabucks all-star cast big screen version of the series was brought out to wide acclaim.
Just as happens with most successful movies today, a wide range of merchandise has become available. There's T-shirts, badges, mugs, and now a Speccy game. Ocean are the people behind this, being so endowed with money that obtaining the rights was no problem for them.
You are now given the opportunity to play Gomez, leaping and bounding his way around his way around his platform mansion in a desperate bid to rescue the rest of the family, who have locked themselves away to hide from the bailiffs (ooh noo, not the bailiffs!) On his travels, Gomez must also collect what he can find of the family fortune, in order to pay those selfsame bailiffs off. But that's not all! There also an impostor pretending to be Gomez's brother Fester also claiming his share of the cash, and he's brought an army of undead cohorts to help "persuade" Gomez! To save the day, Gomez must free the real Uncle Fester and prove the usurper for who he is is (a fat baldy slaphead).
To rescue his kin, Gomez must procure six specific keys - one of which fits each relative's door. These keys have been carelessly scattered around the Addams mansion, and once Gomez has found a key, he then has to take it to the correct door before the prisoner is released.
Along the way, Gomez must be careful not to run into any of the pretend Fester pals, as doing so results in him losing energy. However, he is far from defenceless. By jumping on the heads of certain baddies, Gomez can squash them into a pulp (although some really hard ones are only stunned). Not only this, but laid around the mansion are a number of Gomez's favourite weapons - fencing foils - with which to stave off the evil undead.
Graphically, The Addams Family is very impressive. The backgrounds are varied and detailed, and convey the comical-yet-spooky atmosphere very well. The sprites are of a similar quality, each family member and enemy being depicted by a fantastic and wonderfully animated caricature. What really makes the graphics special, however, is the sheer amount of colour splashed all over them. The shades are rich and varied, and most surprisingly, there's very little evidence of colour clash. Not surprisingly, the overall effect is nothing short of stunning. The sounds for Addams Family are pretty good too, featuring some decent effects and a suitably eerie tune.
That said. Ocean have acquired something of a reputation for giving lots of attention to the presentation and not very much to the gameplay. To begin with, I felt my worst fears were to be realised, as The Addams Family doesn't really fall into my definition of originality - it is just a platform game after all. Fortunately The Addams Family is a particularly good example of a platform game. The action is very fast and the controls are responsive. There's always plenty to do and the map is huge. There's only one level, but it's 240 screens long! Then on top of that, there's a bonus stage every time you rescue a family member!
The combination of fantastic graphics, atmosphere, playability and a long-term challenge makes The Addams Family one of the best games to have come into the SU offices in ages. Ocean say that this may be their last Spectrum game, which would be a real shame, but if it is it would certainly be a great epitaph. Alright, so it's a bit expensive and there's any number of decent platform games available at budget price, but this is probably one of the finest examples of its genre on the Speccy. Make no hesitations and buy this right now.
Price: £11.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
STEVE: It's been a long time since I've seen a game that looks as good as this. Ocean have really produced the goods gameplay-wise, making it as good to play as it is to look at. Highly recommended.
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