User Rating: 8.6 | Pitfall: The Lost Expedition PS2
When I bought this game I fired it up and played for about 10 minutes after which I was disgusted by how the controls worked. In a nutshell, the controls do not work the way controls work in most 3D games with a chase camera. This is an immediate distraction that will turn off a lot of gamers. So after about 10 minutes I realized that I really hated the controls and threw it on my shelf where it sat for about three months. If I hadn’t become really sick, perhaps it would have sat there indefinitely. But I did get sick and was home-bound for a week during which I decided to give the game another go. And I’m glad I did. It is, in fact, possible to get used to the controls. You’re probably going to be cussing and swearing until you do get used to them, but eventually the controls become less bothersome. With that said, the game itself is quite good. Pitfall combines the solid elements of a platform game and an adventure game. It then delivers a story with excellent humor, graphics, and sound. Some levels are large while others are small. Large levels aren’t so large that you can never get your arms around them. All the levels are interesting and fun to explore. One design choice by the developers that I really appreciate is how the game places your character after you die. The game remembers the last highest point you attained and puts you there. This is a blessing after years of playing platform games where you must make exactly 6,000 perfect maneuvers to reach the end. Screw up on maneuver 5,999 and oops, you get to start all over. While most modern platform games continue that tradition (die-hard platform gamers with an infinite amount of time and dexterity seem to demand that sort of thing), Pitfall makes a departure from it balancing jumping and climbing with exploration and storytelling. So not to fear, if you fall when trying to make that last critical jump in a series of 15 well placed jumps but miss, you don’t have to start all over again which results in well-paced exploration and storytelling. But make no mistake, the game is challenging, it just doesn’t bloat its average play time by making you repeat things 300 times. The journal is also noteworthy for this type of console game. It is quite elaborate and very useful. Everything you need to know about your story progress, inventory, monsters, and special moves is documented and available with a few button clicks. One thing not included that would have been nice would have been if you could watch the in-game movies when reading your journal entries as the in-game movies are quite good. Another more important criticism is that saving your game progress should have been easier and faster considering how much saving you do. Also, if the developers make a sequel to this game, they should make it so that you can save your progress mid-level and have the game auto-save whenever you complete a level. The game is chalked full of easter eggs, secret areas, shortcuts and other ‘extras’ that provide additional play time and enjoyment. Like many PC based RPGs, Pitfall allows you to continue playing after you beat it. This is great because you can go back and search out some of the game’s secrets that you may have missed and do so with all the available inventory items at your disposal. I thought this was a nice touch.