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Pitfall! (Atari 2600)

Genre
Perspective
Theme
89
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37493)
Written on  :  Dec 07, 2008
Platform  :  Atari 2600
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Pitfall Harry's adventures in the jungle

The Good

Don't you just love playing games that were released in the early '80s? There was no plot or storyline to worry about. All you had was a simple objective, such as getting from one side of the screen to the other or see how many targets you can shoot in a limited time. Pitfall! is just one example, with the object here is to try to collect as many treasures as you can without losing one of your three lives or running out of time.

These treasures are scattered across multiple screens. As usual, there are several dangers that the player needs to worry about, including crocodile-infested swamps, tar pits, quicksand, snakes, fire, and scorpions. You can swing across the first three dangers, Tarzan-style.

Although quite poor compared to today's standards, the graphics were good at the time. The background consists of trees joined together to make you feel you are walking through a jungle. Pitfall Harry is animated nicely as he walks under the player's guidance. He swings across dangers in a smooth way. When Harry does lose one of his lives, one of his backups falling down from one of the trees is really neat. The sound is excellent. A basic sound is heard when Harry jumps or falls down the hole to reach the underground caverns. What I like are the tunes when Harry swings and picks up one of the treasures. And who could forgot the dreaded tune when Harry loses one of his lives?

As I mentioned, there are scorpions that you have to avoid, and these are located in the underground caverns. They are difficult to jump over, but there is a trick to this - by preparing the jump. You can participate in the Scorpion dance, which is mentioned in the trivia section. This dance is good fun, especially if you are listening to some music. I recommend I Like to Move It by Reel 2 Reel.

The Bad

Underground caverns are good to navigate, and you are encouraged to explore them fully. What I don't like about some of these are the brick walls that you crash into when you usually enter a new screen. Crashing into a brick wall means that you have to backtrack to where you entered the cavern and go up to the surface.

The Bottom Line

In Pitfall!, the object is to guide Harry through the jungle, searching for treasures and avoiding many dangers before the twenty minutes are up. There are underground caverns, in which the player is encouraged to navigate.

The graphics are good. Harry is animated nicely, as he walks and swings across dangers. The sounds are great, blending well with what you are doing. The controls are easy to get used to; the player only needs to worry about changing direction and jumping.

There are at least four other Pitfall games, but it is the original that really stands out. It is fun and addictive. If you have an Atari 2600 but haven't got Pitfall! yet, you don't know what you're missing out on.