Oh no, the entire Addams Family has been imprisoned! Well, all except for Gomez, that is. And it's up to Gomez to try to rescue them.
It gets stranger yet, though. Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Granny, Lurch and Thing have all been imprisoned in their own house! Chez Addams is a bit of a sprawling mess, frankly - in fact the house, grounds and dungeons make up a total of over 240 screens (no wonder the program is 128K only).
With a house that size, it's no wonder Gomez sometimes has trouble finding his way around. What makes it worse is that some of the doors in the house are locked. What makes it worse still is that Gomez doesn't (to start with) have any of the keys. And what makes it worse than an impossibly awful thing is that he doesn't know where any of the keys are!
Well, if by now you're thinking that Gomez is a bit thick (he is!), you can rest assured that's he's pretty agile and extremely persistent (you get nine lives plus four Continues on the Easy setting). Gomez needs all this agility because he has to jump over, onto and around various creepy, crawly, jumpy, chomping things which are infesting his house. He can kill some of these creatures by jumping on them, but others are best avoided altogether.
What we've got here is an explore-'em-up of nightmare proportions. Some 240 rooms joined (or not joined) by doors which can only be unlocked by specific keys which may themselves lie behind doors which can only be unlocked by... etc etc.
There's not much point trying to get anywhere without drawing a map as you go along. You soon become disoriented and you step through one doorway after another and without a map you'll just end up going round in circles or - more importantly - missing important exits to new rooms.
Keys aren't the only things you can pick up. A row of hearts along the bottom of the screen tells you how much life you have left. This goes down pretty slowly, though, and you're much more likely to cop it from bumping into a nasty than running out of time. However, if you stay alive long enough you may need one of the replacement hearts scattered throughout the rooms.
You should also keep an eye open for extra life tokens. These are much more useful (Yes, you need a lot of lives!). To pick up the bonuses, just jump on them.
If you persevere long enough, and get very, very good, you may actually stumble across a member of your family (we found Lurch). To rescue them you have to jump on their heads (not very sociable, but it seems to work). You're then transported to a special screen where you simply have to stay alive for 60 seconds... you'd have more luck crossing the M25 blindfolded. Your incarcerated buddy is only released if you pass this survival test.
The Addams Family is a huge, tough and frustrating game. It consists almost entirely of wickedly difficult timing puzzles. Just as you think you've got through the most difficult room possible, you come to a harder one still. What makes it worse is that the baddies don't stay dead. You can clear a screen completely, but you only have to step out of it for a moment and then step back in, and all those monsters have reappeared. This can get a bit frustrating because, as you explore the Addams mansion, there's a lot of backtracking to do.
It's the frustration, the weary plodding and the sheer, relentless difficulty (even on the Easy setting) that finally get to you. You can play for hours, searching every nook and cranny for keys, dying endlessly and getting hopelessly lost - without actually making any progress at all. This is not a game for wimps. But set against that is the enormous challenge. Add the incentive to explore ever deeper into the huge depths of the house and you've got a super-toughie that will keep you hooked for ages.
With over 240 screens, each of which has its own nasty, vicious, evil puzzles, The Addams Family is almost too big and too tough for its own good. Almost, but not quite...
If you're the impatient type, you might want to give this one a miss. It's so frustratingly difficult I ran out of the office screaming after an hour.
Colourful and atmospheric - animation is fast and smooth
The title music is great, while the in-game effects just do the bizz
Grab Factor 84%
Disappointing to find you can't shoot things! (You get over it though)
Staying Power 95%
A stupendously huge game that will drive you potty