Super Pitfall

A spelling error, a red Pac-Man, and a missing leg can be found, and that’s just the title screen.

Review Date: March 13, 2021

Release Date: November 1, 1987

Platform: NES

Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

Anecdotes: This flawless masterpiece was a childhood favorite in my house. We loved trying to shoot frogs and always missing. We loved jumping into random birds to enter a dungeon. We loved getting lost in that dungeon until we quit. We loved being dropped by water to the bottom and taking forever to get back up. We loved swinging on ropes without actually touching them. We loved banging on random buttons until we could select an invisible continue option. We loved hunting for keys by randomly jumping around everywhere. We loved hearing that amazing harmony that constantly played.

Description: Pitfall Harry is back for more in this glorious game. Players will have a blast as they enjoy state of the art, picture perfect graphics and high quality 8-bit music. Players will love hunting for Rhonda, Quickclaw, and a diamond knowing they’ll never actually find any of them legitimately. They will explore caves full of clever traps, unique keys, and unbelievable surprises.

Positives: LMAO

I had to show players the ropes. They’re poorly drawn, poorly animated, and difficult to connect to. Good luck getting through the whole series of them.

Negatives: Ok, I lied. There are “a few” flaws, so to entertain readers, here I go:

  1. The #1 worst thing about this game is bad collision detection. Harry will randomly fall off ladders. Harry may or may not grab the swinging ropes when he jumps toward them. (See the image above.) Harry can walk into walls without any special tricks. Harry can jump through solid floor to reach the balloon.
  2. The main map is large and the wall color changes based on the Y coordinate of the area. That helps Harry know how deep he is in the cavern. However, Harry will have to climb up some areas, and it’s just a repetitive back and forth up similar looking tunnels that may or may not lead to anything useful. Harry will make mistakes. If Harry is lucky, the mistake will just cost him a life, which isn’t a big deal with infinite continues. If Harry isn’t lucky, he will have to climb all the way back up from the bottom.
  3. Rhonda, Quickclaw, and the diamond are in clear view if Harry is close enough to them. Everything else is hidden and can only be found by jumping in the right places. Examples include door keys (themed after playing card suits), ammunition for Harry’s gun, and portals to other maps. In 1987, we didn’t have maps, so we just jumped around everywhere, but it didn’t help and we’d always just end up in Rhonda’s chamber and be completely lost. In 2021, I can just look it up, and I did.

More screenshots:

There are pyramids in the background at the start. Those backgrounds disappear quickly, leaving a solid black for nearly all of the rest of the game.
What is stopping that water from going through the bottom?
Here’s a Spade key, which will be used to open a door. For the screenshot run, I watched and followed the route of Klaige’s speed run on YouTube.
There’s the Diamond Harry is looking for, not to be confused with the Diamond door keys.
And here’s the obligatory lava area that every platformer has to have.
Harry takes a ride on a balloon.
Quickclaw’s cage is guarded by nothing.
This is the bottom of the chamber Rhonda is in. How chilling.
For someone that’s been stuck in a decrepit dungeon, Rhonda isn’t in horrible shape.

Grade: F

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