Ah nostalgia! When I heard that a new Pitfall game was coming out I immediately went out and bought it. When I was nine, I got my first Atari game. Sure enough it was Pitfall. I would go wild as my pixilated toon would swing on vines and narrowly escape the jaws of the crocodiles. That game gave me hours of joy, as did this one. After playing this one, the fun hasn’t faded; the pixilated graphics however, have.
Pitfall: Lost Expedition is a really good instant gratification game. You can play it for one zone or “scene” walk away and be satisfied with your progress. The levels aren’t too easy and yet you don’t want to jump out of a four story window because you’re not sure what to do next.
The game starts out with Pitfall Jack fighting a demonic jaguar. I think that this is to give you a feel of how combat works. However, the jag comes back kicking and as you are pinned, you are taken back in history to when this adventure started. You’re on a plane that holds an expedition party. The plane is suddenly struck by lightening (have you ever been in a plane that HASN’T been hit by lightening?) and crashes into the jungle.
For the first few stages it is very obvious where you are supposed to go. There are also hints along the way to guide you if you get stuck. For instance, you will be told that wells have healing water in them. When you jump in, your cantina fills. You will encounter a shaman that will “sell” items to you for idols that you find in your travels. Finding the shamans isn’t an easy task, often they are hidden within the area. As you progress in the game you will also find or “earn” new tools to complete the stages. You will get a slingshot, torch, Etc; all of these tools are necessary in completing the game.
This isn’t the 2d game that you’re used to. I remember the left to right travel of the original game. It was the best for the time period. Lost Expedition is in a whole other realm. Not only do you have the ground that you’re navigating, but you also need to navigate through the trees, through water, through quick sand, through the air. (Yeah I fall a lot)
The game also offers a very handy information system. When you press the start key, it brings up a menu that allows you to looks at hints, your journal and the map. The start key menu is also where you save the game. You can only save at the start of each level or area. I recommend saving often. The only time you will lose that level is if you quit the game without saving. When you start again, you will go back to the last save.
The hints menu gives you a how to. For instance, the wells above that I discussed. The hint will just reiterate that the wells will heal you. The journal is just that, a journal of all of the encounters that were important. It will also give you an idea of what your next quest or task should be. The best feature in my opinion is the map. It gives you a detailed look of where you have been and where you need to be. There will be a red X that will mark where you are supposed to go next. Since this is not a linear game where you must go from point A to point B, I found it extremely helpful.
The graphics in Pitfall: Lost Expedition are great! There are also numerous camera angles, which can help you get a better view of you and your surroundings. You can play in first person if you like as well. I really appreciated this since I had a hard time moving from first person MMO’s to the 3rd person games. I didn’t, however, appreciate all of the controls. It takes a little getting used to using the L buttons for camera angles and the right joystick for grabbing and moving objects. I believe that it has something to do with the PS2 analog controller. This may be different for GameCube or Xbox.
I certainly was not expecting the graphics of the early 80’s in this game. I was really amazed at how good they were though. The detail in the game is fantastic. The zones are colorful and detailed with lots of eye candy. The grass is just that, grass. It doesn’t look as though someone just spray painted the ground to get covering. Not only does the game have good water effects, but the quicksand effects are very cool as well. The crocodiles that jump out at you from every turn are quite realistic looking. At some point you go into a snow and ice area. It’s not just the white or blue of most games. There are multiple shades of color that give the caverns a very finished look. I wouldn’t classify this game as going for the realism look in any way. However, it does look good.
The sound is good as well. I wouldn’t say that it’s extraordinary but it does the job. The sound gives you the feeling that you’re in an adventure movie. It also gives you fair warning when you’re about to be attacked on the ground. It didn’t’ stand out for me. I was more interested in the graphics and game play.
Overall, I think that Pitfall: Lost expedition is worth the time and money. Not only do you get an enjoyable game but you also get the chance to unlock the first pitfall as well, pixilated crocs and all. This could very well be my nostalgia talking. However, I have a few friends who are playing it as well and they are really enjoying the game as well. The play is really fun and satisfying, which will keep you coming back for more. I don’t imagine that you would play this game more than one or two times. Once you beat the game you’ve beaten it. There aren’t any other roles that you can go back into and play. Keep in mind that you do need some skill to progress; it’s not an easy win. However, if you like a challenging adventure/ puzzle game, you will have a really good time playing this one. On a side note, I’d really like to thank the guys at Step 3 for the help when I got unbelievably stuck.