|Format played:||Atari 2600|
In last week’s review, I promised you an interesting story about Pitfall!. Now in truth, I can only promise to uphold one end of that bargain for I shall indeed recount a story, I’ll leave it for you to decide if it is interesting.
When I were a lad, both us and the neighbours had an Atari 2600. We had the funky looking black, plastic model whilst they had the badass wood veneer, 1970s-sofa style version.
There was one game in particular that they had that we didn’t that I remembered fondly and for many years, I had assumed that it was Pitfall! A chance conversation with my brother recently revealed that the game in question was actually Jungle Hunt.
The hazy memory is understandable on a superficial level. Like Pitfall!, you control a hardy adventurer who swings and jumps his way across the screen. However that’s where the similarities end, the games differing considerably in playing style.
Where Pitfall! was a long-form, against the timer adventure, this is more of a pure arcade game. Broken down into four component parts, you must guide your intrepid hero through the game to rescue your kidnapped lady.
Scrolling rather unusually from right to left, we start with some vine swinging. Echoes of Tarzan are in full effect here, a fact that would cause some legal issues during development. In truth there is little to it; as long as the vine you are jumping to is visible on screen, press the button at any point in your swing and you will reach your target. Swing your way to the end and it’s on to the next level.
This time we are off swimming with snappy crocodiles. You can simply navigate through them if you prefer, some holding a stationary line, others bobbing up and down to create an obstruction. For extra points, you can bash them in the face as you go although ensure that their jaws aren’t open first. Finally you need to make your way to the surface periodically to gulp in lungfuls of air or you’ll be permanently swimming with the fishes.
Next up we get all Indiana Jones as a set of boulders come bounding along the pathway at us. There are dinky little ones that you can jump over and dirty great big ones that you have to duck out of the way of.
Successfully negotiate these and its onto the final level. Battle your way past a set of dubiously cast cannibals, timing your jump to sail over their heads until you find your girl and live happily ever after. Well, until the game loops back round again.
It’s all fairly simple stuff and once you get the hang of it, there is little in the way of challenge. Still, it’s reasonably good fun, especially if you grab a mate or two and treat it as a time trial.