|Full name: Pitfall! (Pitfall
Harry's Jungle Adventure)
Pitfall is undeniably one of the most creative, entertaining, and
challenging games ever to grace the 2600. Not only did Pitfall maintain
the Billboard charts top slot for 64 consecutive weeks, but it was named
Video Game of the Year in 1982. Not many games can boast that kind
of popularity! Pitfall is a true classic in every sense of the word,
so if you haven't played it yet stop reading this page and go buy it now!
Pitfall! is an action game starring none other than the famous Pitfall
Harry (nothing like having a game named after you to tweak your ego a
bit). You must guide Harry through 255 screens of hot steamy jungle
in order to recover all 32 fabulous treasures which just happen to be
laying around in broad daylight (isn't that always the case?). However
your journey is not without peril: deadly snakes, blazing fires, scorpions,
swamps, tar pits, and deadly crocodiles all stand between you and the
treasures. Oh did I forget to mention that you only have twenty
minutes to complete your quest?
Each screen is separated into two parts, the jungle and
the underground tunnels. The underground tunnels are a special shortcut
which will allow Harry to advance three screens for each section of tunnel
he runs through. If you're going to have any chance of grabbing
all 32 treasures before the timer runs out then you're going to need to
learn how navigate these tunnels. Unfortunately the tunnels happen
to be inhabited by scorpions which must be jumped over (proper timing
is critical). These nasty little buggers even managed to make their
way into the sequel!
Above ground Harry must avoid a large variety of enemies:
||Ever wonder what set these things in motion in the
first place? Whatever it was, it appears that it gave these
logs some kind of perpetual motion because they never stop rolling.
If Harry happens to be flattened by a log he'll only loose a
few points. This may not sound so bad, but being hit will also
slow you down for a sec, which can throw your timing off!
||These have to be the laziest snakes I've ever seen,
because they won't move a muscle to try and bite Harry. Snakes
are completely stationary and only deadly if Harry accidentally touches
one. Carefully jump over them and move on.
||Guess there are some Boy Scouts in the area, because
campfires just don't light themselves (or do they?). Either
way, fires act just like snakes and are only deadly if Harry happens
to jump into one. Harry should really douse these fires or they'll
burn the jungle down! No time for that however, Harry has a
timer ticking away.
||The absolute worst enemy in Pitfall! Not only
are these guys deadly, but time consuming too! Harry must carefully
jump from head to head as he makes his way across the swamp, but if
he's on the crocodiles mouth when it opens it's bye bye Harry (Harry
can safely stand on the head however). Careful timing will allow
Harry to quickly jump across all three crocs before they snap.
||Looks like some idiot has decided to dig holes all
over the jungle (probably looking for buried treasure). Falling
into a hole will cause Harry to drop down into the tunnels, and cost
him a hundred points. Try not to fall into the holes, that's
what the ladders going in and out of the tunnels are for!
|Tar Pits & Lakes
||Tar pits and lakes come in two flavors: stationary
and moving. Stationary tar pits and lakes are always visible
on the screen and have a vine for Harry to swing over them on (time
to do your best Tarzan impression). However moving tar pits
and lakes are a little more devious, for they open and close unexpectedly.
Moving tar pits and lakes are timed to open without warning (sucking
poor Harry down if he's caught), and close just as rapidly. There's
just enough time between the opening and closing for Harry to run
across the screen safely. Timing is crucial however, as even
a slight delay can mean death.
Collecting all 32 treasures in the twenty minutes you're
allotted is a difficult proposition, but can be done with the help of
a map and alot of practice. Unfortunately there's no special ending
for getting all the treasures, and the game will abruptly stop as if the
timer had run out. Still, being able to collect all the treasures
is a huge accomplishment and well worth the bragging rights. Most
gamers will never be able to accomplish this feat.
While most people consider Pitfall to be one of the best
games on the 2600, many people complain about its rather high difficulty
level. If you think beating the game on three lives is difficult,
just think how hard it would be with only one? According to recent
interviews, David Crane had been experimenting with making Harry mortal
(that's one life folks) only a week before the game was released!
Thankfully David came to his senses and left Harry with three lives, but
you have to wonder what the game would have been like with only one life.
Would Pitfall have been anywhere near as popular with such a high
degree of difficulty? Probably, but it sure as heck wouldn't have
been nearly as much fun.
||Late Stage WIP
to 2600 Software