The Addams Family

by Andrew P. Deakin, Ivan Horn, Jonathan Dunn
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 98, Apr 1992   page(s) 14,15

It's spookerama time with severed hands flying around and things that go bump in the night. Sounds a bit like working late in the haunted CRASH mill! Lucy Hickman's no girl's blouse (unlike other staff members she could mention) so she was brave enough to stay the night. (Lucy, why's your hair gone white? - Nick)

£11.99 cass, £14.99 disk

Oh Heavy Horribleness! It's time to scrunch yourself into a ball, batten down the hatches and pretend you're a very insignificant slug or something 'cos the Addams Family are comm to town! We're in trouble!

For those who've been in hibernation (didn't you know squirrels read CRASH?), the Addams Family include Gomez, a slick dude with an odd moustache, Morticia, a torture freak, Wednesday, who gets off on decapitating dolls, Pugsey, a scab fetishist, Granny who serves up strange froggy meals, and Thing, the family pet hand!

This is one weird tribe, who get their kicks from electrocution, poisoning and causing car crashes (and that's when they're in a good mood!). They consider a holiday in the Bermuda Triangle the ultimate and anyone who keeps floating hands as pets has to be a bit tapped.


The crazy clan first emerged as a cartoon, written by some fella called Charles Addams, who apparently based the characters on his own family - poor unfortunate fool!

In the mid-Sixties they landed their own TV series and their recent hit movie grossed an incredible 20 million bucks in its first two weeks (and a damn good filum it was, too).

With a film licence as big as The Addams Family up for grabs, it had to be Ocean who got their mits on it, the company that's renown for excellent graphics and sound but often bottoms out in the playability department. Not any more - this is a game that hooks you from the word go!

The Addams Family packaging should include a pair of sunglasses 'cos the game's glorious technicolour hits you like a ton of bricks. (Make that sunglasses and a hard hat - preferably yellow with pink spots.)

You play greasy Gomez, whose sole aim is to rescue his family, who're hiding in their mysterious mansion from the bailiffs out to evict them (oh dear, another bunch who didn't pay their poll tax). There's a phoney about, a hideous excuse for a man who's claiming to be Gomez's long-lost older brother - Uncle Fester - and thus the sole heir to the entire estate.

And quelle surprise, old Fester-features has brought his rock 'ard mates with him who're gonna kick your butt unless you get them first.


In this flip-screen, multi-coloured platform game, move left and right, up and down (and round and round if it takes your fancy), jump, walk, run and hop for stand on your head with a banana up each nostril for real thrills). The length of your jumps depends on the type of screen you're running along.

A multitude of unpleasant dudes are out for your blood so it's time to make like a skinhead and do some head-stomping. Some die if you land on them, some are stunned, other cantankerous swines refuse to snuff it.

Skeletons collapse into a pile of bones (but magically reform within a few seconds - awkward basts!), flashing balls of lightning give the darkest sun tans and mutated bombs determinedly hop toward you until they're close enough to blow up in your face!

There are six coloured keys to collect which open the locked doors members of the clan are hiding behind. On finding each relative, jump on their heads (this strange family's way of showing affection, no doubt) and begin a 60-second survival test.

You're walled into a particular screen from which there's no escape until time's up. Fight off or avoid all the baddies who hurl themselves at you, determined you become an EX Gomez.

There are various pick-ups along the way such as extra lives, points for stomping nasties and hearts to boost your stamina.

Being a reasonable kinda guy, your friendly neighbourhood programmer, Andrew Deakin, and his arty sidekick, Ivan Horn, have included three difficulty levels: easy (hard), medium (damn hard) and difficult (blinkin' impossible!).

Apart from the wonderful array of colours dragged kicking and screaming into The Addams Family, the backgrounds - both in and out the mansion - sprites and platforms are all brilliantly detailed, the whole thing dripping with lashings and lashings of atmosphere.

A healthy sprinkling of animation, a good dose of excitement and a cheery tune makes this the sort of game which grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you, ready or not, back before your Speccy screen for just one more go, again and again.

The Addams Family's rumoured to be the last Ocean release for the Speccy (cue the wails, sobs and squeals of inconsolable grief). If this is true (please no, anything but that!), they certainly know how to go out on a winner - this game's a must for anyone's collection.

LUCY [90%]

What first hits you about The Addams Family is the amount of colour they've crammed into each spooky screen. The backdrops, platforms and sprite. are all detailed and there's lots of great animation. It's been a long, long time since we saw a platform and ladders game like this on the Spectrum. The last good quality one was Rick Dangerous, and I must admit this bears some similarity, although the programmers assure me it's unintentional. Playing Gomez is very odd at first. He has a strange jump where he sort of hops a bit then leaps left or right. My first couple of plays were spent bouncing into skeletons and creepy-crawlies - not advisable if you want to get pest the first few screens! The Addams Family is a mapper's nightmare. There's just one BIG landscape of 240 screens, packed with traps and lots of ghosts and ghoulies. I'll certainly be playing it late into the night and I advise you to do the same!
NICK [91%]

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Presentation: 92%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 90%
Playability: 91%
Addictivity: 92%
Overall: 91%

Summary: A smash hit conversion with all the fun of the film - and more besides!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 78, Jun 1992   page(s) 10,11

£10.99 cassette (128K only)/£15.99 disk
Reviewer: Jon Pillar

I'd like to get one thing perfectly clear right from the start. This will be a review completely devoid of trendy quotes from Hammer's godawful song. Let's face it - the thing sounds as if it was written over the weekend for both a large fee and a bet. It's repetitive, ridiculously bass-heavy, and sports the kind of lyrics usually associated with the midnight people who mumble at lampposts and fall over a lot. As far as I'm concerned, Mt Baggy's soundtrack-of-the-marketing-department's-idea-of-a-film serves only as a ghastly reminder of the extent to which the pictures have become commercialised. So yah boo to him, a soulful grump to Hollywood at large and on with the review.

The plot of the game is too simple to waffle on about. You play Gomez, the other Addamses have been imprisoned within the house, and you have to find them. The one noteworthy point is that when you find someone you have to win their confidence by completing a particularly difficult screen. Hmmm. Anyway, the game. Gone are the splendidly nasty elements of the film - in their place is a cutey-pie platformer which steals bits of everything from Jet Set Willy to Atic Atac. One more thing - it's massive. There are about 240 baddie-packed screens to dash around, not to mention the trial-by-fire bits that pop up when you find a character.

Tragically you've no weapons to help you in your quest - the only thing that stands between you can certain death is your trusty pair of stout walking boots. A hop, a skip, and provided you land on a nasty's head, a pummelling blow against the forces of evil. As you buzz around the mansion and its surroundings (the graveyard, the woods, the furnace, the bus stop, etc) you'll find your progress impeded by locked doors. To open 'em you have to find the appropriate coloured key. A mapper's game, indeed.


So, what have we got? Why, a blimmin' big game that's effectively split up into six smaller sections by the locked doors feature. The graphics are small, frighteningly well-animated and rippling with colour. On the sound side, the TV theme tune warbles away in attract mode, while the game itself boasts crisp, twangy effects. The gameplay is tough but vastly playable - each screen is a textbook example of devious design - and the ability to bash the nasties as well as leap over them adds spice to the proceedings. Speaking of the bad guys, they're as motley and bonkers a crew of villainous greeblies as I've seen in many a moon. Armoured knights trudge around, periodically stabbing the air with their broadswords. Rubber balls with evil grins bounce on the very spots you want to pass. Pumpkins, amoebae, nightmare bats and speed demons patrol the mansion with terribly efficiency. There are loads of snappy touches in the game as well. Some platforms start to collapse as you jump onto them - you have to be quick to get off before they drop you onto a passing nasty. And although the playing area is huge, you can't just wander about aimlessly. A line of hearts beat beneath your lives counter, and their friendly pulsing diminishes with time. If you don't replenish 'em with an all-too-rare power icon, you'll keel over. Caramba! Even more upsettingly, in some rooms you'll come across innocuous-looking clocks which disgorge mutated cuckoos when you least expect it. Even more caramba! Without a doubt, this game is fat, Megagame material.

Or a least, it would be, but for one thing. The control system is screamingly horrible. Gomez can travel at three speeds, depending on how far you've moved him without stopping. The faster you're going, the further you can jump. This allow for a greater variety of tricks and traps in the screens, with some having to be avoided at top speed, while others demand you tiptoe past in respectful terror. Unfortunately, this idea just doesn't come off. You find yourself battling the joystick as well as the baddies - the controls seem sticky, and the stop-start movement puts the boot into the pace of the game. While we're on the subject of griping, I'm not particularly fond of being sent back to the nearest doorway whenever Gomez gets zapped. Why not just restart on the same screen?

Don't despair - though the control method gives it the old college try, it can't destroy the game. The smart addictive qualities keep you coming back to the action, and the basic idea of pitting your sneaky wits directly against the programmers is irresistible. You could even argue that with three skill levels - determining how hard the trial-by-fire screens are - you've got three games for the price of one. Yes indeedy, there's definitely a good few weeks o' fun to be had with The Addams Family. It's just that the annoying, quirky bits stop it from reaching the dizzy heights of true fabdom. What a shame.

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Life Expectancy: 90%
Instant Appeal: 50%
Graphics: 90%
Addictiveness: 80%
Overall: 86%

Summary: A juicy, addictive platformer marred by incredibly, amazingly, unbelievably annoying controls.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 134, Apr 1993   page(s) 19


Following on from last month's frollicking funderland of fabbo games still available for the Speccy, Mark 'Cor Blimey Guv' Patterson gives us the lowdown on another batch of game greats from the pages of the world's most SU-per Speccy mag. The sheer number and variety of games is bewildering but since bewilderment is Marky's lot he's definitely the best man to give 'em a go...

Label: Ocean
Memory: 48/128K
Price: Tape £11.99 Disk £14.99
Reviewer: Mike Patterson

As well as being groovy, spooky and all the rest, the Addams family are now the stars of a fantastic platform game. Unlike the film, where Fester suffers from a memory lapse and thinks he's someone else, the game has Gomez in search of the family which has been kidnapped.

The graphics and sound are utterly stunning. There's only one level (boo), but it's a whopping great 240 screens big (hurrah) which makes for plenty of platform action.

Overall: 90%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 123, May 1992   page(s) 22,23

Label: Ocean
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £11.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes

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 thence 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.

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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Graphics: 93%
Sound: 89%
Playability: 90%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Addams Family is one of the most spectacularly colourful and playable games I've seen on the Spectrum for a while. I've talked before about the amount of detail and playability that can be put into monochrome games like Hudson Hawk and WWF but this is an example of the same... with full colour.

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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