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THE MANY FACES OF....PITFALL II
Since Pitfall was done in last month's issue, it makes logical sense to review its sequel in the following issue. Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns can be found on three different classic systems, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Colecovision. In my opinion, this is one of the best games from the classic era. It shared alot from its predecessor in that you were the same character running around dodging obstacles and collecting treasure. But Pitfall II has alot more to it than that. It has rivers, frogs, condors, and balloons just to mention a few. But what really distinguishes this game from most other classic games is that it had an ending. Unlike most other classic games where you only try again and again to beat that high score, this game has you coming back again and again trying to finish the darn game.

Bronze Medal -- Colecovision
It doesn't make any sense that this version gets the bronze. The Colecovision blows the Atari 2600 away when comparing the two from a hardware perspective, but for some unknown reason this game was not able to shine on this system. It seems like it was rushed. Play is not smooth and
somewhat flaky. For example, the bats and condors move in a bumpy fashion and if you have played this game before on any system you know how frustrating it is trying to time them. But what really irks me about this version is when you die, it takes forever to get back to the starting point! You die and then you wait 10 minutes to return to where you last started...it makes death so much more irritating! The Colecovision seems to get bashed every month in this feature. I have nothing against the Colecovision in general, in fact I love it, but I seldom use it for Pitfall or Pitfall II.

Silver Medal -- Atari 2600
Before I begin, let me share a quick story. Back in the day, I first played Pitfall II on my Atari 2600 when my babysitter brought his cartridge over one night. I loved it so much: The music, the treasures, the challenge! I played it until bedtime. I always asked my parents to get this guy to babysat so I could play Pitfall II. Well, the one time he babysat and he again brought it. I was sad to go to bed, because I knew I was through playing it, but when I woke up the next morning, it was still there in the 2600...he forgot it!! Needless to say, I played it all day, and the next day, and the next day, etc. until I finally finished it. I'll never forget
the excitement I had. 15 years later, I found this game at a flea market and relived that excitement. Anyway, the 2600 version is good. Play is smooth, the music is charming, even the label on the cartridge is cool. I don't think it's possible to put much more into an Atari 2600 game.

Gold Medal -- Atari 5200
Yes, even though the Atari 2600 version was highly praised, this version is simply the best. Even the 5200 controllers don't keep this one from praise. Not only is it the best graphically and audibly, but it has a whole other world attached onto it that can't be found on any other system (except Atari computers). And if you thought the regular caverns were difficult, try these out: they are tough! I didn't know about this until I got back into classic gaming, and I was dying to see what this world was like. I still haven't completed it yet. (Although I don't have the same amount of time and patience I did when I was 10). Hats off to those that have and hats off to this game, get it if you don't have it.

(Doug Saxon is an engineering student at the University of Cincinnati. He's mainly into 2600, 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision. He's also a proud owner of a mint Chase the Chuckwagon cartridge which set him back $1. He can be reached via email at saxondj@email.uc.edu)
 

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