|Minorly enhanced port of
the 2600 game
Pitfall is undeniably one of the most creative, entertaining, and
enduring games of the 80s'. Not only did Pitfall sit in 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.
The Atari 8-bit version is very similar to the 2600 version
in almost all respects, but the graphics have been updated in a few spots.
The background bushes and trees have a bit more detail, there are
now several different shapes of branches sticking out of the trees, and
the floors of the tunnels now sport some nice looking brickwork.
Some of the colors have been improved (the sky behind Harry is no longer
green), but not much else has changed. These changes were most likely
done to show 8-bit owners that there was at least some difference between
the Atari 400/800 and the 2600 versions, but in all fairness there wasn't
much one could do to upgrade Pitfall. It appears the Activisions
philosophy when it came to porting its award winning 2600 games was "Don't
mess with success".
to 8-Bit Software