Review by Rydain

Reviewed: 04/21/01 | Updated: 06/14/01

A forgotten gem...

Overview

This is an interesting - and fun - cross between a Zelda clone and an item-based puzzle adventure game. If you like adventures and aren't afraid of a good challenge, you'd enjoy Addams Family Values.

Gameplay: 8/10

The Basics

Addams Family Values is more about exploration than anything else. Essentially, you'll be wandering around until you can't go any further and then finding items and characters that will help you. (There are many of both, and they're often hanging out in not-so-obvious places, so be ready to spend some time looking!) Not only will you be combing the vast overworld, you'll need to poke about in the dark corners of dungeons to find what you need. Some dungeons not only serve as item repositories, they'll lead you to otherwise unreachable areas.

Of course, you're going to have to kill whatever gets in your way. Uncle Fester has a handy lightning bolt at his disposal - the problem is that its range and power decrease when you get hurt, so when you're nearly dead and need it the most, it's practically useless. You can pick up other weapons, though - like rocks, marbles, seeds, and a bowling ball - and throughout the game, Granny will bake you cookies with mysterious and helpful powers. (Unfortunately, these are in short supply.)

The Good

The play control is responsive and easy to use - you'll have no trouble getting Fester to where he needs to be. Some of the items' uses might not be readily apparent, but the game is pretty good about hinting at what you should do with them. I noticed no problems with slowdown and hit detection. All in all, the game engine is well-oiled.

Very early on, you get a book of maps to help you keep track of your location. Although some areas have incomplete or vague maps - or aren't listed at all - this tool is quite helpful and removes much of the frustration potential from having to find your way around such a huge world.

The options menu allows you to view dialogue in your choice of English, French, and German. Not only is this fun for a change of pace, it's educational if you're learning one of those languages. This game was responsible for teaching me some tricky German sentence structures... ^_^ Unfortunately, the one and only time I beat it, I was playing in German and only understood half the ending. Ah well...

The Bad

Some things in the game are difficult to figure out by yourself. One boss in particular requires a unique strategy, and while I thought the idea was very clever, it would have been nice to see even a vague clue somewhere instead of whaling on him for hours on end without any idea that it wasn't helping and then figuring out the secret purely by accident. It is possible to ''misuse'' items by giving them to the wrong character or progressing too far in the game without finding the person to whom you were supposed to give said item first. (And no, you can't give it to them later - the item just won't work then.) While the game never permanently screws you over in this fashion, it can be annoying to miss a life meter upgrade or two, especially in a game as difficult as this.

Also, your password only saves one of each cookie, even if you had two when you got the password, so you really need to plan your ''saves'' to get the most out of your cookie supply. Once you get a good idea of the points in the game at which you can get more cookies, this isn't that bad - you can just ''save'' right before you were going to get a refill. It's still a bit irksome, though.

Graphics & Sound: 10/10

From the sharp, detailed, and colorful sprites and backdrops to the digitized photos of the actors from the movie - and the varied, well-orchestrated music that captured the feeling of each area wonderfully (with a hint of desolation thrown in) - the audiovisuals are excellent. I've found the Wetlands theme running through my head on many a rainy spring day... ^_^

Fun Factor: 9/10

Addams Family Values is challenging but rarely frustrating - once you become adept at fighting and evading (and finding good places to kill enemies for health refills), it gets easier, and there are no ''cheap shots'' to screw you over. In my experience, wandering around the expansive regions was enjoyable because I wasn't in constant danger of getting killed, there was so much to look for and find, and the graphics and music kept me amused.

Overall: 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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