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Game Profile
Edge of Reality
GENRE: Adventure
February 18, 2004
Pitfall: The Lost Expedition

Pitfall: The Lost Expedition

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure

 Written by Ryan Genno  on March 23, 2004

Full Review: Get lost all over again.

The name Pitfall should be instantly recognizable to old school video game fans everywhere. When the original Pitfall first premiered for the Atari 2600 in 1982 it made millions for the then new third party company: Activision. Gamers loved the simple yet challenging adventures of a blocky hero called Pitfall Harry and his quest to survive the harsh jungles filled deadly creatures and tricky hazards. After its success many years ago, Pitfall sequels have either been good (like Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure or Pitfall II) or downright awful (Super Pitfall on the 8-bit Nintendo). Activision is giving the series?another shot with their latest game: Pitfall: The Lost Expedition. The latest Pitfall is now completely done in 3D and it sports a new cartoon look as well but even with all the cool additions here, the game doesn't really delivery anything new to gamers looking for something radically different in their platform titles.

The game begins when Pitfall Harry and a team of explorers go on a little expedition to search for lost treasure from around the world but they end up crash landing in the dangerous Peruvian jungle instead. The very cocky Harry must now search for the other missing explorers while fighting his way through some of the hostile locals and many of their booby traps so they can manage an escape. The story helps move the game along as you're playing but most of the characters are very one dimensional so don't expect anything too deep.

If you are familiar with the old Pitfall game then you will see the return of those huge man eating opening holes, scorpions, and killer crocodiles so Harry's quest isn't going to be an easy one. Fortunately, not all of the inhabitants of the jungle are unfriendly either because it's possible to buy new fighting moves or secrets from helpful Shamans plus there are also a few other characters who may decide to help you as well.

Just like in the original Pitfall, the game requires quite a bit of jumping to get where you're going but that brings me to the one of my biggest problems I had with Pitfall LE. A lot of the terrain in this jungle is very bumpy and Harry can slip off these rough platforms way too easily. The game also demands that you have to jump on the back of a moving crocodile sometimes (sadly I'm not kidding) and if you miss them they will try to eat you. It's not really difficult to pass certain levels but it can get tedious when you're always falling from some of the smallest platforms I ever seen. Turning the original Pitfall game play into 3D sure sound like a good idea but that doesn't always mean it is going to translate well.

I was fairly disappointed by Pitfall's graphics. The cartoon-like characters are well designed and I like how you can see all their emotions, but the wild jungle environments love to block your view of the action causing a lot of headaches. I also noticed the frame-rate isn't very smooth in some places and the Xbox can do better then this. I wasn't very impressed by the sound too much either. The music tries to set the right mood whether it's a jumping, fighting, or story scene but neither soundtrack is anything memorable. Although most of the characters talk throughout the game, Harry doesn't even yell like Tarzan anymore when he grabs a vine like he use to.

Bottom Line
The game is not the best looking or sounding title on the market but with its colourful bunch of characters, easy to learn game play and constant action, its still worth a try if only just to see how far games have come since the days of the Atari 2600. When it's all said and done, however, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is a solid but, very typical, 3D adventure game.

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