Welcome to the jungle.

Review Date: January 19, 2021

Release Date: April 20, 1982

Platform: Atari 800

Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

Anecdotes: Now THIS is the game I remember going over to the cousins’ house just to play…until we bought our own copy. We even tried to turn the backyard into various Pitfall screens; you can imagine how that went. Back then, there were no walkthroughs or maps, so finding the way around could become a chore. Try walking 12 screens underground just to run into a brick wall. The only thing we knew is that there were 255 screens and that’s because one of us actually read the instruction manual. We never even came close to completing it, but that never stopped us from trying.

Description: As Pitfall Harry, your job is to find and collect 32 treasures scattered throughout the jungle. You have to do that while navigating 255 rooms, avoiding scorpions and other obstacles, using 3 lives or fewer, and obeying a 20 minute time limit.

The gold bar is one of the treasures. There are money bags and rings somewhere also.

Positives: Can I just say I really like the sound effect when grabbing a vine? I also find it enjoyable to use vines to swing over pools. Underground tunnels have a maze-like quality to them and allow players to find alternate paths, but players also risk finding dead ends. Treasures are easy to distinguish from hazards. Crocodiles are a challenge, but a fair one. Players can use timing, accuracy, or speed to cross crocodile moats. Finally, it’s great to see that Crane put details into the background of every screen instead of a solid black (or other color). The jungle setting looks great.

I’m just hanging out in the jungle.

Negatives: The 20 minute time limit cuts off any possibility of seeing every room, unless you can do each one in 4.7 seconds. Regardless of how a game ends, it just locks the screen. There is no ending or game over screen or animation. The scorpions are nearly impossible to jump over and there are A LOT of them. Without a map, you could end up jumping over five of them just to run into a brick wall. The rooms are all just variations of each other.

Ugh. I can’t stand these scorpions. Jumping over them requires a very precise jump.
I somehow jumped over some scorpions only to be rewarded with a brick wall.

Grade: B

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