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In Atlantis no Nazo, you play a nameless archaeologist who must descend into the dangerous caverns of the lost continent Atlantis, and eventually find his way to the inner sanctum with the legendary treasure. The game plays like a standard action-based platformer. The levels feature plenty of enemies and gaps you must jump over. Your only weapon are sticks of dynamite. When you throw a stick, it will bounce off the floor and explode only after a couple of seconds, so very precise aiming and timing are needed to defeat the enemies. Many levels contain optional treasure chests as well as hidden doors that lead to bonus levels. Sometimes level progression is non-linear, i.e. you can jump straight to a high-numbered zone if you find the correspondent door on the level. All the levels are timed. The protagonist dies when he falls into a pit, touches an enemy, or runs out of time.


Atlantis no Nazo NES Outside again. The dragonflies look friendly
Atlantis no Nazo NES Bonus level. get the treasure, what are you waiting for?
Atlantis no Nazo NES Cavern level. Be careful of those snails
Atlantis no Nazo NES Wee! I've jumped over the door to another level, straight into the abyss! The ultimate cure for gaming frustration!

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Alternate Titles

  • "アトランチスの謎" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Super Pitfall II" -- Canceled US NES title

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Game Center CX

Atlantis no Nazo was featured on the Japanese television show Game Center CX. It was the weekly challenge game played by host Shinya Arino for Season 2, Episode 1 (Nov. 20, 2004). It was the first title featured in the challenge-centric format introduced in the second season.

References to the game

Sunsoft referenced this game several years later in the game Gimmick!, but in a rather unusual way: the copy protection! If the Gimmick! ROM is modified to remove or change the copyright information, when the player reaches the final stage, the game will hang on a black screen with the text "BLACK HOLE". This is a reference to the "42th Zone" in Atlantis no Nazo, which is just a bottomless pit with the words "BLACK HOLE!" that cannot be escaped.


The Japanese title, Atlantis no Nazo, directly translates as Mystery of Atlantis. The Japanese title uses an unconventional spelling (アトランス "atoranchisu" rather than アトランティス "atorantisu"), and would sound more like "Atlanchis" when pronounced. This quirk was the subject of multiple jokes when the game was featured on Game Center CX.
Contributed to by GTramp (78607), Michael Cassidy (21109), Rik Hideto (468247), gamewarrior (5040) and Unicorn Lynx (181419)
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