Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4


If you're going to revive a franchise, you should first figure out if the new version is better then the old one. You should also conduct some focus studies to be sure that the hidden classic version isn't the only reason people are playing the update. That seems to be the main problem here on both counts. Though it ended up on multiple systems, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure didn't deserve that recognition.

pitfall_5.jpg (65897 bytes)At the least, it does maintain the spirit of the original, albeit in generic platforming form. Pitfall Harry Jr. has more moves then his predecessor, just not a better game. It hits every 16-bit platforming cliché possible, with mine carts, inane leaps of faith, and in this 32X version, an exclusive zip line stage.

All of this runs at an unacceptable frame rate. There's not much going on here, so why the game feels sluggish and overly slow is rather baffling. Where most 32X marketing teams bragged about 32,000 colors (even if they barely used 10% of them), Activision seemed content to stick with 256. The enemies can be hard to see against the dark backdrops, and Harry's speed coupled with the choppiness never lets you feel like you're in control. His animation is spectacular, but it comes at a price.

The game is also quite brutal, and for the most part, unfair. Enemies seem to be randomly tossed around the stages, if only to get into your way in situations where it is impossible to dodge them. Harry's low-arcing jump is small one, and it's aggravating to just clip the back end of a snake simply because Harry isn't up to the task. An innovative health bar is ruined simply because it's frustrating to look at as it's sapped unfairly away.

The music is suitable to each stage, and the ambient sound effects are note-worthy. It's just that everything hear sounds cheap. There's no attempt to make anything particularly noticeable, and the two or three channel audio doesn't help things.

The original Pitfall! was special because it was different. This is just another platform title without anything to separate it from the rest. If animation is something you're interested in, you can always pick up Aladdin for the Genesis. This series needs a dose of David Crane.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 04:40 PM