Hello Retro heads, I hope your week is going well. I have picked a SNES adventure today, a game that has a legacy traceable back to the Atari 2600. That’s right folks, today I am looking at…
Pitfall:- The Mayan adventure on the SNES!
It’s not often you load up a game, start playing and your first thoughts are, DAMN that looks good! This is exactly the reaction I got when I loaded up this little gem of a game today. The plot of the game is very simple and goes as follows.
You control Pitfall Harry, Jr., son of the protagonist of the original game, as he attempts to rescue his father from a Mayan jungle setting. As seen in the intro:- Father ( Original Pitfall Harry ) seen only as a shadow at the mouth of a cave, and Pitfall Harry Jr find a treasure inside. Just as Junior is about to reach up and take said treasure, from outside the cave a roaring and scuffle can be heard and Senior is whisked away by an unknown entity. Your task now, is to find whoever did this and rescue your father.
Very Indiana Jones isn’t it? But I am guessing that’s where the inspiration came from for this game anyway. One of the first things you’ll notice is how well drawn the sprites are, the main character animates beautifully and has so many actions under his belt that each one will make you stand up and pay attention. Harry Junior has a variety of actions that are accessible right from the start, such as a whip ( Indy reference right away ), a sling and a boomerang type weapon. You can jump, climb, swing, hand over hand, zip line and much more, each with it’s own amazing animation. This to me is the highlight of the game, it’s just done with such care and attention. Reminds me a lot of the animation work that went into Flashback on the Amiga. The setting of the jungle has been done very nicely as well, with glowing red eyes flashing through the dense undergrowth with snakes, monkeys, spikes, poisonous foliage and more. Most enemies can be whipped or sling shotted to removed them from your path. Spikes can be navigated around by using ropes to swing across or tree branches to climb up onto. Hazards from the scenery can also be found here, such as snapping branches to keep you moving, and quick sand that will swallow you up if you touch it.
Your life meter is represented by a picture of Harry Junior being pursued by a crocodile, each time you take a hit, the crocodile will move closer to Harry, eventually eating him. For such a small detail, this has been done incredibly well and adds a small comic relief when you do bite the dust. Health gain can be found in the form of hearts, that are scattered around the levels, and these have been designed around real hearts, not your Mario type ones which makes a change. Coins and treasure are also present in the game for you to collect along the way to increase your score and to grab big cash bonus’s. At the end of the levels you will meet an enemy that will have to be defeated in order to move on to the next level, these range in difficulty and would probably cause frustration to the younger player. However, the game is so nice to play that you could over look that, but again that’s only going to get you so far.
For fans of the Atari 2600 classic Pitfall, you are in for a treat too as the original game has been hidden somewhere inside this one, so there’s another reason to play this thoroughly and find it!
Graphics:- Nothing short of stunning presentation, absolute joy to see the animations in action, the climbing vine animation is fun to watch, the swinging, running, bouncing are all fantastic. A truly great effort to the visual effects team for this. The level design is great too, full of things to see and nothing too overwhelming at the same time. Great job all round.
Sound:- The music is subtle and very Jungle like in it’s tones, it’s nicely put into the background as to not over shadow the sound effects which are also very good indeed. All the sounds are relevant to the settings you find yourself in, and they are also not over powering or badly sampled. Another great job here.
Overall:- It’s refreshing to put such a fine review together on a game and be genuinely pleased to have played it for the full effort that has gone into it. My only gripe is that some of the jumps do need to be spot on to progress, but once you have that down, it’s second nature. If you can get hold of this game, I suggest you give it a try, Platform enthusiasts will lap the game up and fans of the original will want to give it a go as well. Great effort, only reason it’s not 5 stars is due to the slight difficulty for the younger players, as you can see by the graphics, it will appeal to them in a big way.