Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure

Think Activision, think Call of Duty. Think Modern Warfare, think big guns, Michael Bay explosions, guns, knives, guns, helicopters exploding, guns, helicopters with guns that are exploding...and more guns. Yes, Activision is synonymous with that multi-billion dollar franchise nowadays...but it wasn't always like that. Activision was actually formed by a group of Atari employees who were tired of not getting the recognition for their game designs, and in a pretty ironic switch of fortunes, they have gone on to become one of the world's biggest publishers. Also ironic, is that their original Pitfall! game for the Atari 2600 is the second best-selling game for that system. Fast forward to 1995 and Activision released the sequel - Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure on the Jaguar (and just about every other system too, for that matter!).

So, what's Pitfall like then? Well...to be perfectly honest, it's an average-looking, average-playing, all-round-average platform adventure...and that's about it, really. You play as Pitfall Harry Jr., the son of Pitfall Harry (the protagonist of the 1982 original) and it's up to you to rescue dad from the clutches of an evil supernatural spirit hiding somewhere in the Mayan jungle. You do this by swinging around on vines, dodging rocks lobbed at you by monkeys, riding minecarts, avoiding quicksand and basically doing everything else the young Indiana Jones did. Although Indy had a cool hat - Pitfall Harry Jr. does not.

As previously stated, there's not really anything that special about Pitfall on the Jag. It looks and sounds like a 16-bit game (save for some nice multi-layered background scrolling), and while Pitfall Harry Jr.'s cartoonish animation is really quite nice, it isn't a patch on that of Flashback's rotoscoped bad-ass, Conrad Hart. Speaking of Flashback, that is probably Pitfall's closest rival on the Jag, and Delphine's game is superior in pretty much every other department as well as the animation - story, gameplay, sound effects, excitement, atmosphere...Flashback has it all, while Pitfall just seems a bit old fashioned: jump over logs, avoid enemy attacks, collect treasure...ad infinitum. Flashback at least tried to do things a little differently (you won't be trying to get a work permit in Pitfall, for example). You could say the comparison is a little unfair, seeing as Pitfall is basically a mindless platformer with a few mini-game style stages thrown in (mine cart riding is one such treat), but on the face of it they look quite similar in design so comparisons are inevitable.

There is the added bonus of the original game included on the cart (highlight 'info' on the main menu screen and press 'C' 26 times, and then press 'Down' on the D-pad), but there's very little in Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure that will hold your attention for long. It's worth a play if you can get it cheap, but it's not one of the Jag's best titles, sadly. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to COD Modern Warfare 12: Bigger Guns Edition.

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