Swinging on vines and dodging deadly scorpions, Pitfall Harry is back in action in the newest port of Atari's classic, "Pitfall," for the Motorola T720. Less graphically rich (because of screen size) than the original version of the game, the mobile version of Pitfall will still make you nostalgic for the good old days of 4-bit gaming.
In the height of the Atari era, games were simpler. Pitfall is no exception. The object of the game is to help Harry to circumvent 255 screens of chasms, insects, and other pitfalls. Equipped with three lives and 40 minutes, the game poses a challenge, even for veterans of the 2600 version. Fortunately, the control design is fairly elegant. Harry's lateral movement, along with his ladder climbing, is handled by the directional pad, while his various kinds of jumps are delegated to the number pad. Your hands might feel a little cramped using this ambidextrous setup, but it makes leaping over obstacles a breeze. Simply by pressing the "3" key, for example, is all it takes to send Harry heavenward in a careless capriole over combative crocodiles.
As a fan of old-school gaming, I welcome ports of ancient games such as this one. Good gameplay never gets old; however, innovation also has its virtues. Jamdat has done very little to improve on Activision's tried-and-true classic. This approach could be favorably viewed as, "If it's not broken, why fix it." However, a bit of innovation would have been especially welcome in dealing with console-to-mobile screen issues. Compared to the console game, the mobile version has a much smaller and relatively taller screen. Developer James Gooding addressed this by putting a control reminder and two logos at the bottom of the screen. A more ambitious solution could have improved Jamdat's Pitfall graphics.
Pitfall is an unfailingly accurate reproduction of the original for mobile, and should satiate even the most rabid Atari cultists.