Thursday, May 28, 2009

Addams Family (Mega-Drive, 1992)

I've already written about the C64 version of The Addams Family, so why not take a look at the 16-bit version as well? It's quite a different game, so let's start with the similarities. This is still a platform-game, and you still play the part of Gomez who's on the look for his family that are scattered here and there in the gargantuan Addams residence.

Also, it still takes it's cues from the ancient Jet Set Willy, meaning that basically, as you roam around the screens, there's enemies galore that are moving in set patterns and which you must either avoid, or kill by either jumping on them, or shooting them - if you got the necessary power-up.

The major difference is that this is not a flick-screen affair, but a fully scrolling environment moving in all four directions. Also, the levels are completely different to the ones found in the 8-bit game. It pretty much is a different game altogether. Now, seeing as the good ol' C64 coped admirably well with conversions of such 16-bit classics such as Sleepwalker and Chuck Rock, I don't see why they couldn't do a proper conversion of this as well, but oh well, what can you do about it.

Like I mentioned before, basics apply here. You run around, jumping on platforms, jumping on enemies etc. There's also switches to activate, which in turn activate platforms, walls etc. The levels don't follow a linear pattern, meaning that you don't start in Level 1, proceed to Level 2 etc. Rather the game offers a more interactive environment, whereas you start outside the mansion and you pretty much choose where to go. A doorway leads to one level, another doorway to another etc. The levels feel more like different areas of one bigger landscape in that respect.

The atmosphere is special, what with such fairy-tale environments like the catacombs and the ice-world, and with a batch of decent tunes to accompany the action. I'd say it's a great game, if it wasn't for one major fault: it's hugely difficult and frustrating. Gee, I swear, in later levels the frustration-o-meter hits red as you die in the same spot, time and time and time again. Who would blame you if you played this with save states? I wouldn't.

This game is so difficult that even power-ups can be a nuisance, like when you get the shoes, with which you run faster and jump further. Cool, eh? Well, no, because apart from running faster, it feels as if you're sliding on ice, making those pixel perfect jumps nigh on impossible. I pretty much made a habit of avoiding this power-up as altogether.

So there you have it, the silly difficulty curve spoils this gaming experience. Bah.


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