If you're old enough to have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theaters and you could hold a game controller at the time, chances are you're among the more than four million people who snatched up Activision's Pitfall! for Atari 2600. The game's lead character, Pitfall Harry, was everything you wanted to see in an Indiana Jones-style videogame hero: He swung on vines, leaped over giant scorpions, jumped onto crocodiles' heads, and collected treasure. Pitfall has had a number of follow-ups since it first hit in '82, and the latest version is due for current systems later this year. Just don't call it a comeback...call it a remake.
"It's not a sequel to the previous games," says Chris Hewish, Pitfall Harry's senior producer. "It's actually a relaunch of the brand--a retelling of the whole thing."
So, say goodbye to Harry Jr., the main character in the last two Pitfall games. In Pitfall Harry, you'll play as the original article as he delves deep into South American jungles to rescue the members of a failed expedition and foil a rival campaign intent on plundering the area. You'll spend most of your time swinging on vines, leaping onto crocodiles, engaging in quick battles with enemies, exploring, and solving puzzles--as well as picking up the occasional artifact dropped by the enemy expedition along its way.
Besides new versions of the crocodiles and giant scorpions of old, you'll also face piranhas, alligators, jungle cats, monkeys, and renegade natives who throw stink bombs, spin into bladed whirlwinds, or hide in bushes and sneak up behind you when you're not looking. You'll acquire additional moves and items along the way, such as a sling, dynamite, ice picks, and stink bombs, to help you combat these enemies. And you'll need the help. "We have creatures and encounters in the game that require certain items in order for you to defeat them," says Hewish. "In the case of the bush ninjas, you have to shoot them with a sling while they're in a bush. That causes them to try to find a new bush to hide in, and while they're running, you can hit them."
To make the combat easy and painless, Harry will automatically lock onto an enemy once it's near. Unlike the similar z-targeting found in games like Nintendo's Legend ofZelda series, this feature doesn't require a button press, and Harry will also snap out of it once he's a certain distance away.
The game will also have numerous extras, such as secret areas and the ability to trade artifacts for extra items. But will it have one of the older Pitfalls hidden inside? "We're talking about that right now, but no decision has been made," says Hewish. "We're going to have to see how things come down.
Download Pitfall Harry
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP