Pitfall.... just the mere mention of that classic Atari 2600 title
brings back fond memories. Jumping over rolling logs, battling
deadly pain in ass scorpions and trying to time my jumps over
randomly opening sand pits. All this just to collect gold bars and
reach the end of the game quicker than any of my friends. I used to
spend hours roaming left and right in the cheesy 8-bit forest, using
swinging vines to take me across gaping chasms and those treacherous
hidden pathways, that would get you to your destination sooner, but
often result in a lost life or two.
Well after more than a decade of dormancy (we really don't want to
remember the 32X Pitfall game), Pitfall Harry's son, Pitfall Harry
Jr., has taken over in his dad's footsteps to adventure once more
into the deep, dark jungle... this time to try and save a rebel
leader (who's a woman by the way) from certain death. Oh, there is
also the Moku civilization and ultimately earth itself that is in
danger of being taken over by an evil Temptress and her army of vile
Can Harry Jr. save the luscious rebel leader? Can he stop the evil
Temptress from initiating death and destruction on the Moku
civilization. Does the earth as we know it hang in the balance? Will
Harry Jr. become a crocodile tidbit? Do you even care??? Of course
you do! Read on for these answers and many more in the continuing
saga of Pitfall Harry in Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle...
3D: Beyond the Jungle is a quasi 3D 3rd person adventure game in the
same mold as Crash Bandicoot. Run, jump, swing, issue a few wise
cracks and battle some bosses in an effort to save a captured
heroin, prevent a civilizations destruction and prevent the conquest
of earth... you know the story, just a days work in the life of a
graphics in Pitfall 3D are quite stunning and wonderfully presented.
If you were expecting the bright pastel colored forest of say Crash
Bandicoot, you'll be in for a surprise. The jungle scenery and most
of the levels are dispensed in a variety of muted earth tones.
Browns, sky blues, and olive greens are just a small sampling of the
color schemes used in this game. They all come together nicely to
create a moody, atmospheric jungle environment chock full of nasty
little surprises. There is also abundant use of light-sourcing to
bring the environment to life, with lens flaring and transparencies
to lend that wonderful touch of realism.
Harry Jr. and his surroundings are presented in richly texture
mapped polygons that move about very nicely. Harry is presented very
well, if not a bit blocky, and is animated quite fluidly. Depending
on what it is that you have Harry doing, there is a special little
series of animation's that go along with the character.
The backgrounds also flow by smoothly and evenly. There is very
little detectable polygon dropouts and due to the use of clever
camera angles, no pop-up! Backgrounds / foregrounds play as critical
part in this game as you are now able to swing and jump into and out
of the screen. Good thing the surroundings are presented as good as
they are or you wouldn't able to tell where the heck you where going
and may miss the occasional secret path and the goodies that are
normally hidden there.
Another nice graphics technique that is used in the game is
morphing. At any given moment, inanimate objects suddenly morph to
life and attack our unlucky hero. The way that this little special
effects trick is accomplished is really awesome. Molten lava will
suddenly begin to change into a lava fighter, while still retaining
that molten, glowing look.
And finally, what big production game would be complete without
some computer generated cut-scenes thrown in for good measure. The
CG's in Pitfall are very nicely done and for the most part does its
share of explaining and moving the storyline forward.
You should, without a doubt, like the graphics in Pitfall 3D. Heck,
if your not sure just how far console games have come in the last 10
or 15 years, just pop in a copy of the original Pitfall game (if you
can find it!) and then thank your lucky joystick that things have
evolved the way they did. Sweet!
been in the deep dark jungle and somewhere out there you hear the
incessant beating of drums? No?? Hmmmm.... ever seen a movie set in
the jungle and then listened to the background music playing? Of
course you have... well you'll be pleased to hear that Pitfall 3D
has an outstanding musical score chock full of deep bass drum sounds
and driving rhythms. They say that sound is often considered 50% of
the experience when playing a game or watching a good movie and
judging by the way the music in Pitfall gets your adrenaline
pumping, I would definitely agree. The music compliments this game
to a tee.
The sound effects are brilliant as well... from the subtle
skittering of a scorpion approaching from somewhere off-screen, to
the metallic "chink" of Harry's ax connecting with an
object, you will never be disappointed. Heck, the game even throws
another bone to you. Activision signed up Bruce Campbell to do all
of Harry's voice-overs. The blend is perfect and the overall result
is a finely honed character with one-liners that will have you
laughing and not reaching to turn off the sound volume.
was what the original Pitfall game was all about. Control was
spot-on and although the game was only a left/right scroller, it
offered players underground areas to discover and explore, pesky
creatures to avoid or destroy and enough deadly traps to keep
players attention spans active throughout the entire game. All in
all, a pretty tough act to follow. Enter Pitfall 3D: Beyond the
Activision really took their time bringing this title out to the
public. The game was delayed and pushed back several times, which
usually means the game sucks and has to be totally re-done or fresh
new ideas have formed in the developers mind and they take the time
to implement them and tweak the game accordingly. I am pleased to
say that the latter was obviously the reason for the delay on this
puppy. To get right down to it, Pitfall 3D takes all of the basic
game mechanics, traps, monsters and thrills from the original title
and melds it nicely with today's technology.
All of your favorite, frustrating stuff is back; Harry (well Harry
Jr.), the pain in the ass scorpions, the perfectly timed alligator
and pit jumps, the vines and the gold bars discover and collect.
What has been added is a new point scoring system that rewards
players for their achievements, great graphics, awesome sounds and
music, and Harry now has a voice.
The point scoring system rewards you for how many crystals you pick
up, how many nasties you exterminate, finding hidden areas, and
picking up gold bars.
The game does a pretty good job imitating a "go anywhere"
environment by offering many branching areas and non-linear paths to
follow on each level. In reality, besides choosing to go left,
right, up or down at the start of most levels you pretty much have
to cover all of the non-hidden areas to complete the level missions.
This actually works out quite well in this game though because it
gave the developers a few key ingredients to focus on: Where to
place the key items; how to place the key "hot-spots" and
ensure that the gamer will pass through it and the most important
part of all - implementing the camera angles.
The camera tracks your on-screen persona almost flawlessly. When
traveling left or right the camera nicely centers Harry on the
screen and gives away just enough of your surrounds... travel too
quick and you may end up missing a floating platform or an obscured
path. When traveling up or into the screen the camera shifts
effortlessly to an over-the-shoulder view... again keeping Harry
firmly centered on the screen. If you turn around and begin to run
down or out of the screen, the camera pans back just enough to give
you the reaction you need to make jumps or to do battle. Without
exceptional camera control a game like Pitfall would just plain
stink. There are very few times when your field of vision is not
optimal for the given situation. Again, excellent camera work.
Pitfall 3D also uses three completely different game engines that
kick in depending on your whereabouts. The main or ground engine
that is used through most of your gameplay, the boss engine for
intense one-on-one boss encounters and finally the bonus engine
which emphasizes high-speed movement and lightning fast reflexes. It
seems that a lot of effort was put into this game to make sure the
controls are as perfect as possible and it really shines through in
The levels are also very creative and varied with a good ramp-up in
difficulty as you progress and become more familiar with controlling
your character. Tomb Raider is another game that comes to mind that
perfectly implemented this process. You are easily (pretty much)
able to get through the first few levels without undue frustration
and embarrassment and before you know it, your hooked in and pushing
As I had mentioned, the level design is very nice. On one level you
are traversing a rain forest riddled with traps and scorpions and
the next level you are battling through an underground cavern, each
requiring Harry to pull off some serious acrobatics to survive.
Littered about you will find various power-ups, health tubes and
assorted goodies to help you persevere through another level.
Overall to say that I liked this update to the original Pitfall
would be an understatement. All of the classic gameplay and game
design elements are present with just enough embellishments to show
off the power of the Playstation perfectly. It ends up being a
perfect balancing act that is sure to please a vast majority of game
as always, the major drawback with games of this type is the replay
value. Usually once you finish it, it sits on your shelf collecting
dust. Pitfall 3D tries to counter this problem with a good amount of
non-linear levels (24), lots of hidden areas to discover and a
creative point scoring system that may keep you coming back for
Overall I would say that the game succeeds in challenging and
holding a gamers interest and climbs it into the "very good"
category instead of the normal "good" or average for games
of this type.
3D is a cleverly designed game that really takes all of the good
stuff of the original Pitfall game and brings it into the 90's. But
perhaps it really unfair to compare the two games. The original
Pitfall was released in a generation where it seemed that each new
game had a fresh concept and a creative approach... it was indeed
something new and different that people had never seem before. The
new Pitfall had a really good game to draw from and luckily the
developers didn't stray too far from the originals overall
concept... fun! With any luck in this quirky console world, Pitfall
3D should be destined to become a classic.