Ah, the Atari 2600 classic, Pitfall. Huge in its day, nothing more than a curio now. Will this update follow the same pattern in the future?
You play as Pitfall Harry Jr., son of the hero of the original Pitfall. On a routine expedition to a Mayan ruin, Pitfall Harry Sr. is kidnapped by the “Master of Evil” (it says here), Zakelua. Guess what? It’s up to Harry Jr. to rescue his dad.
This game controls very well. Harry has plenty of skills at his disposal, and they are all put to practical use in the game’s massive levels. His momentum is quite slippery, however, and this may take gamers some time to get used to.
The level design is fun, with every level completely rammed with secrets! The traps are clever, and certain levels guarantee to raise a smile with their cunning tricks and traps. The ruins and temple levels are especially memorable. The bosses are sadly quite weak—each one is just a case of avoiding their predictable attacks and throwing all your weapons at it. Ah, the weapons. Harry is tooled up with a whip, bag of rocks, boomerangs, and bomblets. Brilliantly, the boomerang can actually be reused if caught on the rebound. If you miss it, however, it’s gone for good.
Other standout sections include the minecart level towards the end of the game—this is a fast paced ride, where Harry has to hop up and down to avoid Mayan spirits and overturned minecars. This is tricky, perhaps too much so! But it makes a nice break from the platform action.
This game has a nicely balanced learning curve. The game evolves as you do, meaning no level ever feels overwhelming. Unfortunately, certain sections are out-of-place—the giant boulder on level four, for example…what were they thinking? Also, the giant moth enemies seem to be impossible to hit without taking damage.
The music is nice, with some great jungle drums and metallic clanks for the mine level. Harry’s sampled speech is passable, which is a nice surprise. The blips and blorps the collectables make are sampled straight from the original Pitfall (included here as a hidden bonus).
The game has a very stylised look, which suits its tongue-in-cheek style. However, no elements are truly outstanding. The fire in the temples looks quite nice…but everything else is a little run-of-the-mill. And maybe just a little too dark.
The game injects replay value through the hidden original game and a side-quest involving the letters of the word “PITFALL”. Finding every letter assumedly gives you an extra ending (I’ve never found them all…). There is also a Simon Says minigame to find and play. The huge wealth of hidden items will also keep you searching.
This is a great game, a real joy to get through. Definitely worth a rent, if not a purchase.