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Pitfall: The Lost Expedition

Pitfall: The Lost Expedition

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 2/16/2004 for PS2  

It’s been quite awhile since we’ve been exposed to a decent Pitfall Harry experience. A couple of years ago Activision decided to make an updated platformer starring our favorite explorer but the effort was less than stellar. Now the guys at Edge of Reality are looking to return Harry to the land of prominence and if this preview build is any indication, the road is paved with tons of hot hot action and sophomoric humor.

From the opening screenshots you can tell that the game isn’t one that plans to take itself too seriously. Although pretty well built, our hero isn’t exactly the most suave or charming individual on the planet. In fact, he kind of reminds me of what Al Lowe’s Larry Laffer (from the Leisure Suit Larry franchise) would be like if he were to be a womanizing explorer who watched one too many Indiana Jones flicks.

Aside from your usual platforming and combat elements Edge of Reality has added a new gameplay dynamic that reminds me Jurassic Park: Trespasser. With the right analog stick you can control Harry’s right arm. In addition to being an excellent time killer the arm control helps you solve puzzles, utilize objects and activate switches. I’m not quite sure what I think about this gameplay element yet as it could become tedious later on if not utilized properly. However, I’m pretty happy with it in the few hours that I’ve spent with the game.

In many ways Pitfall reminds me of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, both in its locales and in its gameplay elements. At the time the game seems to be very merciful as it’s pretty hard to actually die in the game. Just when you think you’re about to expire you’re given a new lease on life thanks to the forgiving nature of the game. Like PoP there are plenty of checkpoints spread throughout the game and falling off precarious ledges doesn’t generally result in immediate death. This isn’t necessarily bad though as it opens up the game to an entire audience who has yet to develop gamer’s thumb.

What really appeals to me is the game’s real lighthearted nature. Remember how hard you laughed when the alligators in Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb picked up poor Indy and flung him around like a rag doll? Well Pitfall takes this a step farther, just when you think that good ol’ Harry has been swallowed whole he climbs out from the alligator’s mouth, relatively unscathed. In addition to the humorous elements the nature of the game is very cheerful and will appeal to audiences of all ages. I would have absolutely no qualms if my five-year-old nephew were to ask to borrow the game.

We’d love to reveal more but we’d like to spend some more time with the final build of the game. Our near final build had a few gameplay hitches here and there but nothing that probably won’t be worked out by the game’s February 17 release. In the meantime please enjoy these brand new shots of Activision and Edge of Reality’s upcoming platformer.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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