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Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure

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Reviewed by David Ruocco Retro gaming is the latest fad. Countless early 1980s gaming classics are being re-released as a massive nostalgia wave crashes over game players and publishers. I've even bought a second-hand Atari 2600 so I can play gems such as Asteroids, Frogger, Space Invaders and Defender all over again. Pitfall was another legendary early 80s Atari game. Swing on vines over crocodile pits, leap over barrels and scorpions, and collect gems as you go. There wasn't much to it, but gee whiz it was fun. But can Pitfall Harry (or his son, to be exact) make it as a sensitive new age hero in the 90s? The original game was a tough act to follow, but this game is a fitting sequel. Old Pitfall Harry has been kidnapped by an evil Mayan warrior spirit, and it's up to you to help Harry Jnr rush off and save his Dad. The animation on Harry, created by the animator of Fern Gully and Tron, is magnificent. The memory required to make Harry run across a single set is more than the whole original Atari game required. There are 10 huge worlds plus two bonus levels to explore. The platforming action is very similar to games such as Jungle Book, although Harry's excellent range of moves saves the game from being at all repetitive. There's also variety provided by rides on runaway mine carts. The controls are perfect and Harry can perform all sorts of acrobatic feats such as bungee jumping, crawling and swinging on vines. Attacking moves include sling shots, whips, boomerangs and super shots. With the sprawling levels and heaps of bonuses and surprises, there is plenty in the game to keep coming back to. Icing on the cake is that the entire Atari 2600 game is hidden in the Mayan jungle, if only you can find the white scorpion to access it. The SNES and Megadrive versions are almost identical, except as usual the SNES game has sharper graphics and better sound. The Mayan Adventure is a fabulous game. Nostalgia freaks will love it.

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