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Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns

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Released: 1984

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Activision

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Pitfall and Pitfall 2 are legendary games, play them on the Atari VCS or Atari home computer series and they are truly wonderful programs. Real skill and care has gone into their production, and they look and feel like the quality that they are.

Pitfall 2 on the ZX Spectrum also looks and feels like the quality it is… sadly the quality of ZX Pitfall 2 is absolute monkey trumpets. How could life be so unfair to us humble Sinclair users, all we wanted was to play as Pitfall Harry like our smug Atari owning friends. But load up the Spectrum version and you’ll instantly see that something has gone horribly wrong.

For a start Harry doesn’t look right, he’s bright red. Now I know he’s in a hot jungle, but an intrepid adventurer like Harry would have used sun protection I’m sure. He also looks like he hasn’t got any clothes on. On top of this he walks and jumps like Mr. Humphries from ‘Are you being served?’. Now I’ve got nothing against Mr. Humphries of ‘Are you being served?’ but he doesn’t strike me as the Indiana Jones type.

Because of Harry’s girly jump, it becomes very difficult to survive the lost caverns. It’s made even harder by the strange keyboard layout of the game, which involved 2 and W to go up and down, but CAP’s to jump… something requiring some finger contortion. When you do fail to jump over a badly animated scorpion you have to endure the sight of nude Harry (who’s now turned white) strolling back to the beginning. This would be good if it wasn’t so slow, and if you are a long way down the cavern it can take up to a minute to let you start again.

If there is a good point about Pitfall II on the Spectrum then the animation of the water is quite good, with little waves lolling about. Ummm, that really is about the only good point though, the rest of the background graphics have lost all their vibrancy and detail.

The moral of this story is that if you want to play Pitfall II properly, then play it on an Atari. If you want to have a look at how bad a conversion could be then play it on the Spectrum.