Retro Review: “The Addams Family” (SNES, Festival of Dread Special)
Hey! That’s fun!
Did anybody else snap to the theme of the old TV show?
*snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap*
Ahhhh! That was satisfying!
So, starting up The Addams Family for Super Nintendo (SNES) for the umpteenth time seeing as how there is a new movie for my favorite, kooky, mysterious, and ooky family. I always enjoyed this game based on the 1991 film starring the late, great, Raul Julia as Gomez Addams, who is on a quest to save his family. You know, I wonder if Raul Julia was a gamer? I mean, he had this game starring his likeness, and then he went on to star as M. Bison in Street Fighter: The Movie. (We won’t hold that against him… well… Charlie Blanka might! HA HA HA!!! Sorry.) So starting off on the right foot, right there on the title screen, you can use the L and R buttons to snap along with the song!
As for the game itself, it is your standard action-platformer from the early 90’s. You bounced around on the heads of your bad guys to not just attack, but also to reach higher platforms collecting money symbols, which give you extra health after collecting 25, and an extra life for 100. There are a few weapons and items you can pick up to help you along the way, such as a sword, a golf ball, and a fez that lets you fly temporarily. One of the cool things about the weapons in this game, is if you have one, then when you get hit, instead of losing a life bar, you instead lose your weapon instead.
Oh, speaking of life bars, if you decide to play through this game, then do yourself a favor and seek out the life expansion hearts FIRST! This will greatly help you in the rest of the game! You can get the first one by defeating the bird at the top of the tree. (Watch the game’s intro to see exactly how to get there) The second heart is from the boss in the freezer, which can be accessed via the kitchen. The final expansion is through the Conservatory via a series of switches that unblock doors to other areas where you have to beat the centipede boss for the heart.
As expected, the enemies in the house are strange, but quite colorful! While they may look harmless, you can count on plenty of hits from carefully placed enemies just as you land a jump! This can be a bit frustrating, but like most games of the day, it simply takes a little learning to get through it. If you get all those hearts, then… OH WAIT!!! I forgot to tell you about the secret room! DAYUM!!!
OK, this game is seriously FULL of secret rooms and such! Pretty much exactly as you would expect from The Addams Family residence! As soon as you enter the house, go directly to the left, underneath the door upstairs and hit “up,” just as if you were going to enter a door. You’ll find a hidden door here that takes you to Pugsley’s Den. Grab the few power-ups here and go to the edge of the yellow “stop sign” above the door you came in. If you hit “up” here, then you will be behind the stairs with TONS of awesome rooms!
OK, to make this short, find the room with the sword and grab that first. After you have the sword, grab the speed-up shoes in another room by thrusting your sword upward as you jump, and then quickly head to the room with the fez. As SOON as you get the fez, run out of that room and into the one that has a door you wouldn’t be able to reach normally and fly up to it. You have to be QUICK, as the fez will disappear after a few moments, but if you nail it, then you will have TONS of lives stockpiled to take on the rest of this, fairly challenging game!
I say fairly challenging, but it really isn’t that bad if you just take the time to learn it. But, I imagine a lot of you are like me in the sense that you are going to try and BLAZE through each room as fast as you can, so count on quite a few hits coming your way if that is your play style. While you do have infinite continues, you will always start over at the entry to the house, so make sure you utilize that secret bonus room to stock up on lives! If you do manage to lose them all, then if you walk left (off the screen) on the continue screen, then you can get a few extra lives before you continue too! I did mention that this game is FULL of secrets, right? It’s awesome!
Overall, the game is lighthearted, colorful, and has a peppy, yet somewhat haunting soundtrack playing as you traverse the various rooms in your MASSIVE mansion! (How do you even fit that level inside a furnace?) It’s about what you would expect from the quirkiness of The Addams Family. I would have liked a little bit more variety in the music, and perhaps a few more enemy types, but since this is 1991 we are talking about right now, it really is pretty dang good for a licensed game… Which were generally to be avoided at all costs!
So much fun!
Thanks for reading!
You can check out more of our Festival of Dread content here, and please consider following The Splintering on social media or bookmarking the site for more independent entertainment news, views, and commentary!