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The Addams Family
Addams Family for the NES was released in 1991 and developed by Ocean. The game is generally seen as a timeless reference for what not to do when making a video game... The story is based on the film with the same name. As Gomez you need to free six kidnapped family members and to find items with a total value of at least 1 million dollars in order to access the last room and confront the family's evil lawyer, Tully Alford. However intriguing this sounds, it was overshadowed by somewhat clunky controls and a hit detection that is more than able to make a grown man cry. Add an insufficient energy meter and you get the explosive combination of a game that most gamers, with no hesitation on the voice, would say is both genuinely bad and viciously challenging.

 

Run (EU, Death Abuse): 0:13:54 by Dag 'ktwo' Cato

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SDA history
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05/11/2009 - 0:15:11 by ktwo
05/07/2011 - 0:13:54 by ktwo

If you feel like giving comments about the run, use the existing verification thread

If you want to share information related to speedrunning this game (tricks, strategies, ...), use this thread

Thanks to Ventuz for finding new tricks, coming with valuable ideas for the route and being one of probably only a handful of people not snickering at me for speedrunning Addams Family (or do you ?). :-)

Thanks to SDA for being around so I have a place I deem worthy enough for hosting my speedruns. :-P

Almost on the day 2 years after I recorded the previous run, I managed this improvement. During these two years, a lot of water has run under the bridge (as they say). A couple of months after the first run got recorded, I realized some flaws in the money management. By collecting more small value items, you could replace one money bag (10k). I also experimented in the chimney and noticed that you could pick up one more money bag by heavily relying on luck of the spawning location of the first bat. Even though the time gain would be only around 10 seconds, I already at that point knew that an improvement would have to come one day. Some time after that, I got contacted by a youtuber having seen my speedruns. He had found some hidden (glitch?) warps in the game (mainly in the secret rooms and in one or two other areas as well). Things started to get interesting, but it wasn't until a couple of months ago when some activity began over at tasvideos that I decided it was time pick up the game again. Ventuz (the current tas-author) had found a nice flying glitch with some potential both from a time and entertainment perspective and was working on a death abuse route. After a period of route and idea sharing (mostly Ventuz -> me), the recordings began and the result is what you see here.

Before going into the discussion about the run, there are two tricks that need to be explained.

* "Flying glitch" - If up on the D-pad is kept pressed down after having climbed a stair, the game allows you to keep some of the physical properties associated with being on the stair. You can jump normally, but when you let go of the jump button, Gomez will be stuck in the air. He will fall down if the B-button or left or right is pressed. If left or right is pressed and released while in mid-air, Gomez will start to float in the direction he was last heading. Mysteriously, Gomez is not affected by walls when in this state. The floating is not faster than walking, but not having to waste time on vertical movement can save time in some places. Note that up must be pressed down the whole time for this glitch to work, which means that as soon as you enter a door, the effect from the glitch is lost. It carries over screen transitions though. The glitch is not difficult to get to work, but if you just let go of up for a frame, the glitch (and run) is lost. With a D-pad and its limitations, that was bound to happen a good number of times (and it did).

* "Glitch warp" - In a few places (mainly the secret rooms), there are hidden warps that take you back to the rooms in the crypt. You just have to stand in the right place and press up. The warps generally take you "out of bounds", meaning that the graphics don't really correspond to how you're allowed to move. They can also lead to the game freezing up. You get "back" to the "normal" game by dying.

The new run is a 77 second improvement. For your convenience, I have broken this down into the different components (it's not 100% exact, but I think you'll get the point...)

1) Skip two money bags in the blue room (9 seconds) - Compensated by picking up more small value items and picking up one more money bag in the chimney.
2) "Flying glitch" (5.5 seconds) - Used in three places (left and right landing and once in the main hall).
3) Gallery (0.5 seconds) - By more aggressive playing, I managed to trap the polar bear without having to stop the forward momentum.
4) Umbrella manipulation (0.5 seconds) - I noticed that the umbrella only extends the very first time you jump (or drop) in a room. I therefore did a small jump at the start of the kitchen so the umbrella wouldn't extend on the way down to the freezer.
5) Freezer+furnace (4 seconds) - Improved strategy in the freezer allowed less turning around and less waiting for the ice blocks to appear in the end. The downside was that I entered the furnace with less health and needed to wait a bit in the flame section.
6) Tree (0.3 seconds) - A small tweak when passing the first bat.
7) Gomez' room (2 seconds) - I bounced off the imposter instead of the evil attorney to reach the ledge with Morticia.
8) Fester's room (0.5 seconds) - Faster route.
9) Wednesday's room (0.5 seconds) - Faster route.
10) "Glitch warp" in the secret room in the pond (55.5 seconds) - This improvement is mainly due to not having to double back all the way back through the pond. However, this also allowed death abusing in the left landing, which saved a few seconds.

Some general comments on how the run went:

- Everything went well until the attic. Tricky things include picking up items from below, without actually jumping on the ledge (Wednesday's room and just before entering the pond). Both went well. One thing to note is that the polar bear got trapped on the way to the ball room. I'd say that's a 1/10. Usually, it manages to just slip past it. It later on saved me 0.1 seconds, but is still worth mentioning considering how hard it is to pull off. The pond went also as good as can be expected (major run killer due to unintuitive swim physics).

- In the ball room, you will notice that I climbed the curtains for a brief moment before jumping off again. It is possible to jump off almost immediately. I found it to be very risky though. If you do it in all three places, I reckon maybe a second could be saved.

- By picking up the first money bag in the freezer on the way to the right (instead of to the left as in this run), you can save 0.3 seconds. This also gives you more health for the furnace, which would allow for 0.5 seconds gain there. The reason I bailed out of this time gain was because it introduces two high risk moments. The first one involves picking up the money bag and then quickly time the next jump (a precise one). The second risk is that you will arrive too late at the ice blocks at the end and not make it over in time before they disappear (they run on a global timer of that room). I used this riskier strategy for quite a while, but lost too many runs in the process and decided to abandon.

- The run's biggest mistake happened in the attic when I turned around after having picked up a money bag from below. A temporary brain meltdown is the most reasonable explanation. I didn't think I would get the money bag and prepared to reposition for a new jump. All the ducking just came from moving the thumb quickly from right to left and back again on the D-pad (this is something you can see in several other places as well). It cost 0.6 seconds, but looked much uglier than that.

- Overall, average luck in the attic. I lost too much health, which forced me to play it safely later on (~0.5 seconds). I was also unlucky with three bats triggering in unfavorable moments, forcing me to stop the horisontal movement (one even forced me to go back a bit). I'd say ~1.5 seconds were lost to an ideal run.

- Good luck with the last bat in the top right corner of the attic. It almost always triggers and forces you to jump on it. This saved me ~1 second compared to a normal run.

- Awesome luck in the chimney. First of all, if the spawning position of the first bat is wrong, there is no way to bounce off it and get the extra money bag. That's an instant run breaker, no matter how good the rest of the run is. It has happened to me more than once (I estimate it to be in the right position ~25% of the time)... The spawning of the next bat is also important. Usually, you can't avoid bouncing on it (costs 1 second). As you can see in this run, I just managed to avoid it.

- Slight mistake when saving Pugsley. The instruction "Press any button to continue" flashes. It only cost 0.1 seconds, but was completely unnecessary (you can just hold down any button during the whole cutscene to skip it at the first possible frame).

- Pretty close call in the end with the health being completely depleted...

- There is always a fixed number of frames from the moment you run out of energy to when you respawn. The last death at the evil attorney was only for show. The ending sequence triggered before the death was accounted for. The death didn't either slow down or speed up anything. But mind doing this without testing it out first. If you release Morticia and die right after, the death will be accounted for before the ending starts and you will have to redo the room (if you have any lives left that is).

Before rounding things off, here is finally what you all have been waiting for.

MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: Will ktwo now attempt to improve the no-death run ?

ktwo: No. Normally, I prefer no-death runs, but not in the case of Addams Family. The death abuse run is a lot more entertaining and also more interesting to plan. There are also a couple of more reasons. Of all the improvements in this run, only a few could be applied in the no-death run for various reasons. I therefore don't feel the same urge to improve it. Another reason is that the game's damage system makes the no-death variation extremely cheap and not particularly fun to play. Watch out though... Nothing is written in stone... If more tricks are found, anything can happen... :-)

Run (EU): 0:16:46 by Dag 'ktwo' Cato

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The Addams Family is neither a very good game, nor one I have any particular relation to or fond childhood memories of. I'm not even a fan of the Addams Family (never watched the TV-series or the film). I mainly picked this game because noone had ran it before and because I thought it suited my gamestyle. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that...

If you're not familiar with this game, here is a small description for you to catch up. You play as Gomez and your objective is to save six family members who have been captured by the family's attorney. They are scattered around the Addams mansion. You can get to some of them directly (Thing, Granny, Wednesday and Lurch), while there are requirements for rescuing the others. Pugsley is stuck in a hole in the house (you see his legs sticking out on the left side of the house) and needs a shrinking potion to get out. The shrinking potion is composed of three ingredients (bone, blue egg and fog). You need to go a bit out of the way to collect all of them. The last family member, Morticia, can only be reached after having rescued the other family members and having collected at least 1 million dollars. The money requirement is another reason to get out of the way in this game. The game has a reputation of being difficult because of poor hit detection and unlinear gameplay. While the first is very much true (and even taken advantage of in this run), the manual is actually pretty well-written and give you good hints about everything needed to complete the game.

Thanks to sda for proving that sharing and transparency are great virtues and will lead to excellence. A huge thanks goes to Ventuz (author of the current tas) for giving me a flying start (too many strategies to mention were picked up from his tas). Thanks also to him and Walker Boh (previous tas) for trying to answer my questions about some game-related stuff. The last thanks goes to nesbozz who found this game for me.

Start - Entering the wood
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Not much to comment on except that I missed tricking the spider to go left just before entering the ball room.

Wood - Pond - Wood
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The wood is tricky to run in an optimized manner (both ways) in a no-death run. Time is obviously lost in sketchy turning and so on, but I won't even try to estimate how much. The run's biggest mistake comes in the pond, where I had to wait for the first jellyfish one extra cycle (2,5 seconds lost).

Attic
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The hardest section and also the one requiring the most luck. Triggering the bats is random as far as I can tell. This time I got lucky by both triggering the bat at 13.31 and at 14.05. They are both pretty much required for a run of the attic to look nice. I also managed to nail all the three jumps where money bags are collected from the level above (one of trickier stunts execution wise in the game).

Chimney - Treasury
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Got unlucky and bounced off the second bat in the chimney. The only other thing I would like to comment on is that I messed up entering the door to the library. It cost a second and looked pretty ugly.

Treasury-End
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A glitch made me "double-jump" on the last stair (with the evil attorney). This meant I had to jump on his head a third time and take some damage which almost cost me the run one second from the end. I think that was a near-death experience both for Gomez and me...

From what I can see, the obvious execution mistakes and/or bad luck in this run cost maybe 7-8 seconds. In theory, more time was lost due to for example unoptimized turning, waiting for falling objects, not entering doors at the earliest possible frame and it's also possible to squeeze more time out of the pond level. The unintentional hits represent a fair amount of the energy lost during the run. By optmizing this, more damage could have been taken elsewhere to save time. Personally, I don't feel tempted to go for a riskier strategy though, because some margin is needed in order to offset the more than cheap hit detection and the random areas of the game. More than one decent run has ended because running out of energy, without necessarily having made any big mistakes.

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