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Before Christopher Lloyd brought Uncle Fester Addams to the movies in The Addams Family, Sunsoft took the Fester Addams character and crafted a NES game around him in 1991 in The Addams Family: Uncle Fester's Quest. Players take on the role of Fester has he discovers a UFO landing in town. It's up to Fester (with some help from his family) to battle the aliens and drive them out of town.

The game takes place in a top-down viewpoint, much like The Legend of Zelda. Fester explores two different sets of main levels, an overworld (the city) and an underworld (sewer), which are structured as a maze. Paths and corridors dead-end for no reason from a city planner's point of view, but as a game the maze is all part of the challenge. Fester's primary weapon is a gun that can be powered up (and powered down if he's not careful) with a whip serving as a secondary weapon. Most each alien enemy requires multiple shots, meaning that it's smarter for Fester to run away from danger most of the time.

Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Thing are all on hand to give Fester new items and weapons. Each family member is locked away inside houses that are along the paths, and if Fester has a key he can open the door and acquire a new item (such as missiles, vice grip, lightbulbs, and other such things). These items are then used in play both as offensive and defensive weapons.

In addition to the family houses, Fester will find office buildings dotted around the city. Inside the view switches to an early Doom-type interface, albeit one with no weapons or enemies. At the end of these office mazes is an alien boss. Defeating these bosses requires several minutes of constant shooting, and poor Fester only has two health units (expandable to four if the two secret units are discovered) and one life. There are unlimited continues, but losing during a boss fight sends Fester back to the beginning of the level. While the game is fun, it can also be quite tedious.

The graphics and sound in the game are quite average, although there is a kick-ass rendition of The Addams Family theme that plays during the title screen. One of my key complaints about the Fester character (besides his low health and single life) is that he moves too slow. The character creeps along as faster enemies prey upon him. Another drawback is that the gun typically shoots at a wide angle, and in the sewers these shots hit the wall 99% of the time, totally missing the intended enemy target.

Despite the negative qualities to the game, something about it keeps me coming back for more even after all these years. I wonder if anyone has ever completed the game because it is quite long, difficult, and offers no save game skills or passwords. It must be completed entirely in a single sitting. If you want to experience the addictive tedium that is Fester's Quest, I advise checking out used game stores, online auctions, or the Internet where the ROM hides out. I also advise finding some good Game Genie codes for invinciblity.

I still have this game.

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