On a previous episode of the Virtual Console Wrap-Up, we – and by we, I mean all two of us that played the game – chronicled an obscure Koei game – even by Koei’s standards – called Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. Even the two hardcore Koei nerds here were tepid on it, and we waited to see if Nintendo would give us a truly inspired game, or if their mediocrity streak would hit two weeks, after the March 30th release of Super Punch Out!.
After seeing our one and only game for this week, it’s safe to say that Nintendo is – to put it in baseball terms – “o-fer” for the month of April.
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Original System (this version): Sega Genesis
Price: 800 Wii Points ($8)
D.J. Tatsujin: Let me think of something to say about … Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. Shit, weeks like this are the reason I’ve completely stopped paying attention to the Nintendo download updates. Give me an hour or so and I’ll add something in here.
Editor’s note: He never did. Trust me when I say that’s an indictment of the game, and not him
Ashe Collins: One of the nice things about this one was the ability to load up the original Pitfall by finding an Easter egg in a level; we’re talking the Atari 2600 version of Pitfall. Never really got into this one much. The Genesis version wasn’t bad, but this one got ported out to everything from the PC and the Jaguar to the Super Nintendo to the GBA and Sega CD. I guess if someone didn’t already have it it’d be ok. Personally, there are better games to waste money on.
Aileen Coe: Being able to play the original Pitfall was one of the perks of this game. It starts off decently, then kind of declines towards the end. It tends to be finicky about things like swinging off of vines (which only seems to register if you grab the very end), so you’ll probably find yourself falling a lot. You also get no recovery time if you get hit, so you could end up getting knocked down and getting up only to get hit again. On the positive side, the graphics are nice and detailed and the frame rate holds up even with how busy the screen is with all the different animations going on both in the foreground and background. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not something to rush out and drop money on unless you’re a big fan of these types of games and you’re looking for an exercise in frustration. Besides, there’s a ton of versions of it, which don’t differ much from each other anyway, so you do have plenty of choices if you really wanted to play this.
Christopher Bowen: Even back in the mid-90s, when lazy, side-scrolling platformers were being shat out by the dozen, Pitfall was forgettable save for two reasons: name recognition for anyone who played the original Pitfall (read: none of Activision’s target audience in 1994), and the fact that Activision pimped this puppy out to any system that would take it. Super Nintendo, every single generation of Sega’s Genesis-based hardware, the Jaguar – the JAGUAR! – a Windows 95 port, and finally, a later port over to the Gameboy Advance, gracing us with a crappy port of a crappy game. There’s virtually nothing of note here save the vine-swinging mechanics, unless you happen to count enemies blending into backgrounds and cheap hits as notable. Personally, if you’re into this type of game, Earthworm Jim is a much, much better bet for your money… and this is coming from someone that’s on record as having not liked Earthworm Jim.
Mark B.: Simply put: this game is not very good.
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was, at the time it came out, very pretty, and to a point it still kind of is (even if it’s a bit dated), but it’s essentially, as has been noted, a less exciting version of Earthworm Jim. The controls are sloppy, the level design is atrocious, and the game itself becomes very tedious very quickly because it just doesn’t do… enough to make it worth playing if you’ve played any one of about a hundred other games from the 16-bit era. On top of that, THIS VERSION specifically is especially disappointing, considering that several of the later versions of the game contained additional levels and added content, and of all of the versions, the Genesis version pretty much looks the worst of the lot.
But, y’know. You can play the original Pitfall if you download it, if that appeals to you. That means you’re still stuck playing THIS game to unlock it, of course, which doesn’t really seem like a fair trade-off.
Universally speaking, this game drew an almost unanimous yawn from our staff. I think it’s safe to consider this one a recommendation to avoid. If you’re desperate to play the original Pitfall, pick up the Activision Anthology for the PS2; it’s about $15, comes with almost forty other games, and it’s possible that it’s a part of Gamestop’s current Gamer Days sale, driving the price down even farther.
On the WiiWare is Party Fun Pirate, a video game version of the children’s board game Pop-up Pirate, for only $5. For anyone with young (Pre-K) children, this is a good deal! It’s about a third of the price as the real board game, you don’t have to go to a toy store, and best of all, there’s no little swords to lose! I’m twenty-nine, and I’d even rather play that for $5 than Pitfall for $8.
Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, wishing they would just release a Game Genie application for the Virtual Console already.