Review

Addams Family, The: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt

Reviewed by Stan, Posted on 2007-12-05

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Developer: Ocean Publisher: Ocean
Release Date: 1992 Also On: None

Oh boy, here's a good one to kick in the crapper. I wanted to say something else there, but I have to watch out for the kiddies. The Addams Family was a decent 8-Bit title. It had its flaws, but it worked rather well in certain areas. Ocean, figuring they'd milk what they could out of the then active Addams movies, released another title based on the animated cartoon series that was on television at the time. This game is interesting in that it's one of the few licensed hacks I can think of offhand. See, The Addams Family for the NES and SMS was a totally different game than that for the SNES and Genesis. Ocean, figuring what the hell, decided to release that version on the NES in a different form to make as much money off of the code as possible. Essentially, it's nearly the same game as the SNES version, just with a number of alterations and removals. Overall, it's one of the most failed hacks I've ever seen. I've seen better hacking coming from illegal phreaks in China.

To start off, Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt comes at you with some awful visuals. The majority of the backgrounds from the SNES version have been completely removed, leaving only a lifeless, drab black, blue or brown color. Talk about bleak. Details are lacking pretty much everywhere and the color scheme seems to use less colors than the first Addams Family game, which is pretty hard to believe if you've played it. This one seems even more drab because the colors are so constant. Some bosses, for example, are totaly half-assed, colored in using only a single color. The detail is there, but their entire body is the same shade, even the eyes? What? You mean you couldn't even make at least that part a different color? Most of the animations are fluid, but I could care less because sometimes you're not even sure what in the hell you're looking at. In the conservatory you have these red blob things with wings, I suppose they're flies but look so terrible I haven't a clue the programmer's intentions. Pugsley looks fine, they did a decent job of lifting his image from the cartoon, but regardless there is so little detail and color to be had in this game it's simply uncalled for. I've seen hackers take a 16-Bit title and throw it into 8-Bit with much better results than this.

The sound, ah yes, here we go. Now, I've heard some hideous soundtracks so grating you'd want to puke and sounds so infantile you'd swear they were lifted from Pong. But at least in these cases there was sound to begin with. Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt has a decent opening, which is of course the same damn track they used on the first game albeit a little worse, but then you get to the game proper, where there is absolutely no music at all except for some very short blurbs when you die or beat a boss. I'm not sure if you can even call them songs though, they're more like sound effects. Speaking of sound effects, there are about five in this game. You get the same beeping noise regardless of what enemy you land on, this really odd sound for the doors, a little shuffle for Pugsley's feet and you know what forget it, just let me say this, everything sound wise in this game sucks, there's nothing here, it's clear to me they could have cared less what this game looked like and didn't even give a damn if it sounded like anything. There was nothing more depressing to me than the goblin boss I mentioned above (all colored in), floating with no sound effects other than the pfff for a split second when he moved his arms and let loose a few flying blade things. Make that sound out loud and that's what it sounds like. Pretty much all that needs to be said right there.

And then the gameplay. I almost stopped playing this game before completing it, I really did. It was hardly worth the time I put into it but I was forced to out of this bizarre obsession of completing any game I review before I review it. Anyway, sadly this game is little difference from the first and it's essentially the same idea. However, instead of finding objects in addition to family members, you only need to find your family, so calling this game a 'scavenger hunt' is a misnomer. Basically, it's just a platform title with a slightly non-linear set-up because you enter the Addams' mansion and then select which door you want to go into. You just run through one level and then run through another. Behind each door is an extra life heart and a family member, both of which are guarded by bosses. So really there isn't that much to do when it comes down to it: jump around, kill enemies, pick up sweets (which give you extra hearts and lives), find one-ups and so forth. It could have actually been a pretty fun game, but along with the terrible graphics and nonexistent sound there are a ton of gameplay issues to deal with.

First off, the controls are responsive, but Pugsley's actions are oftentimes hard to gauge. He slides a lot and when you're trying to jump some hard to navigate platforms, he has a tendency to go further than you'd like. You'll get used to it, but it becomes doubly annoying if you pick up the only power-up in the game, the running shoes, which simply make you move faster and give you an extra hit. You usually end up losing this extra hit as soon as you pick it up, because he begins to move erradically. Second, this game is incredibly tiresome due to the lack of sound and the repetition of what effects remain. Every level, though different in appearance, doesn't really offer much since the backgrounds have been stripped, so you essentially through the same platforming level over and over again. In addition, enemy positioning is atrocious and requires quite an amount of memorization on certain levels, which is more than you'll be willing to endure. You'll be all the way on the left and moving right and suddenly get struck by an enemy's shot, which only came flying at you when you were too close to avoid it.

Third, the levels are absolutely senseless. In the one, you have to jump on top of what appear to be badly rendered gnomes inside of spinning mugs on top of saucers. What? What does this have to do with anything? Why am I killing rabbits and flies? Why are there monkies on unicycles? What the hell is this? The bosses add a bit to the mix, but are generally so pathetic you won't have to fight them more than once. You've got this parapalegic snowman, a face, some sort of gremlin thing and who even cares about the others. When you've finally found them all, you'll realize the majority of them throw the same blade-looking shot as everything else in the damn game and make the same damn sounds. Fourth, because of some issues already mentioned, you end up getting struck way too much, even when you have a good idea of how the levels are laid out, which leads to you dying more often than you'd like since the game is such a bleak experience to begin with. Luckily, they included a password feature so you can calm down and come back to it in a year or so, unless you're pressed to see the bland, one-screen ending. I can't even believe they bothered adding little secret areas to this sludge, which hide secret little stashes of absolutely useless 'sweets' and running shoes. No direction, no innovation, simply no attempt to really do anything with this other than reuse the original to make some extra cash. Anyway, all in all Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt is a poor, awful platforming title with little to offer. You're better off playing the first one if you're interested in puzzle/platform/adventure type games, because this is simply a hack.

As you can already assume, I'm not going to give Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt the single, tiniest point in creativity. It's a hack. Ocean wanted to make more money, so they crammed as much of a 16-Bit title on the NES as they could, removing so much from the original that it's dismal beyond belief. Awful graphics, awful sound, oh wait, no sound, but awful all around all the same. They didn't even try with this one, which makes sense in a way because the NES' life was almost over. Still though, give the fans some credit and at least try a bit. Absolute zero in this category.

Replay value? What? No, I wouldn't never, ever play this game in my life time after doing this review. I'm not even sure why I tried after I played five minutes of it. Though I'm of the opinion that a game can go from bad to spectacular by the end, this is a clear case of something that's awful the entire way through with no let up. I can assure anyone who plays this that you'll never play it again. As for game length, I have to cringe but yet give a few points. For a platforming title, suckness aside, this actually has a nice set-up in terms of how long it takes to complete. Each level will probably take around an hour or so to finish, and the password feature makes it nice to come back to the rest of it in the nil chance that you're actually enjoying it. I'll give Pugsley this much.

The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt is a perfect example of a company trying to take advantage of consumers and their children. What you have here is something that should be made illegal and as far as I know doesn't exist anymore because no one's stupid enough to buy anything this awful. Hacking is best left to hackers, enough said, they seem to be able to do it better and you at least expect them to suck and have a good laugh in the process. This game was simply a blatant attempt at making a little extra money by cramming another game into a format it wasn't made for. Shame, Ocean, shame on you. Not like they were making the best games around this time anyway, most of their titles pretty much blew by 1993, being generous to their legacy, of suck.

Graphics: 3.5
Sound: 1
Gameplay: 5.5
Creativity: 0
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 2.8
Written by Stan Review Guide

Reviewed by Stan

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