Atari 2600 Friday’s #44 – Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
I missed last week because I went to a 3-day weekend anime convention, but we are back this week with Pitfall 2: Lost Caverns!
The Story: Pitfall Harry and Company got lost or god knows what while exploring a cavern, it’s time to go save them.
From the Manual: “We were all pretty worried about Pitfall Harry. We sent him and his niece, Rhonda, along with Quickclaw the cat, on a treacherous journey to an underground cavern. Well, not a word was heard from him–until
today. We now present you with Pitfall Harry’s diary–the journal he’s been keeping in the lost caverns. It arrived this morning by carrier condor. Typical of Harry.”
From the Box: “A call from crane, a call to danger! …Here I am, Pitfall Harry, plummeting toward the dark thunder of rushing water below…and thinking of the night David Crane called. “I hope you’re well-rested” he had said. Too rested, I said. I was ready for action. He asked if I’d heard tales of the legendary lost caverns of Machu Picchu in Peru. Or of a roaring, uncharted underground tributary of of the Urubamba River replete with waterfalls and deadly electric eels. “Yes” I said. He asked if I knew of the infamous, cursed Raj Diamond. Or of the recent robbery of gold bars from the U.S. Gold Bullion Depository in Fort Knox. And had I heard of vampire bats? Poisonous frogs? Albino scorpions? The dreaded Andean Condor? “Yes” I said. And could I still run? Climb? Jump? Could I…swim? “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” “Good said Crane. Then you’ll do it?” “Of course” I said. If only I had known…”
The Game Play: Your goal is to find Rhonda, Quickclaw and the Raj Diamond, doing so ends the game. There is no time limit so you can take your time. For a bonus perfect score of 199,000 points you need to find Rhonda, Quickclaw, the Diamond, 28 gold bars, and a stone age rat all without falling peril to a single danger. Red crosses in the game act like a modern day checkpoint, find one and you can “respawn” there if you fall peril to a danger. Dangers include poisonous frogs, bats, condors, electric eels, albino scorpions and pitfalls of course. There is a shaft where you can grab balloons to cross the pit, but be careful you can only let go if a bat pops the balloon, make sure the bat doesn’t hit you.
The Controls: Joystick Left/Right to move left/right. Up/Down to climb ladders, control balloon speed. Red button is jump.
Post Review: This game is a horror. I had to pull up a map to know where to go, my god this game is huge. The checkpoints are a blessing and a curse, you have to watch harry run back to the last one every time you hit something….EVERYTIME! this gets old quick. The music while fun, was starting to wear one me, it’s about the same 10 or so notes on repeat. I was also having trouble getting harry to climb ladders and not just fall down the shaft, this and a few bats I couldn’t see against the black background cause me to quit. I’m sure someone on an emulator will have a better time. Oh and did I mention watching Harry run back to the last checkpoint? Thank god for modern teleporting back. I’m not entirely amused by the game, but I’m sure some people like it, I do prefer the original. I get worse at games as I get madder, and between the few note repeat grating on me and watching harry run back every 30 seconds, I was done. Pitfall 2 has some pluses and minuses. Decide how they weigh out for you.
High Score: I had 20,000 at one point, then I hit the first shaft and quit after 5-6 falls
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns was one of the games that you could win a patch by sending in a screenshot of a high score, 99,000 or higher.