It’s the pits.
PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating
RELEASE DATE: November 1987
How does one usher in the most influential Atari series into an newly constructed 8-bit gaming landscape? Start by scrapping plans for Super Pitfall. Two grievances here: first, where’s the much-needed exclamation mark at the end of Pitfall? It’s like I’m playing a whole different series (to be fair, Pitfall II didn’t have one either… but it should have)! And second, I shouldn’t need to draw a map on graph paper to play through any version of Pitfall ever. Micronics, if you’re gonna make Pitfall Harry look and act like Mario (right down to mustache and superhuman jumping ability), perhaps you should have just made Super Pitfall a Super Mario Bros. clone instead of a complicated underground adventure.
Super Pitfall takes you deeper underground in (according to the instruction manual) 270 screens infested with all manner of crazy critters. Shoot frogs and bats in the face with your rowdy fun-gun, recover a blood diamond, and rescue your niece: Pitfall Harry’s upgraded to the mid-Eighties nicely, it would seem. I have two additional complaints: 1) you can literally wander around the underground for hours without knowing what to do; and 2) Pitfall Harry’s only line of defense against the numerous cave creatures is his gun, which has a limited amount of bullets, and is impossible to use on creatures that are shorter than Harry’s torso. Jumping over the enemies is doable, thanks to Harry’s Mario-like calves, but exploring Harry’s drab surroundings is decidedly less enjoyable. Attempt to play Super Pitfall by charting a map for it, or turn off the NES and ponder Harry’s glory days; the days when muttonchops were king and Styx was the coolest band in the world.