reviews\ Jun 24, 2001 at 8:00 pm

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure - GBA - Review

He swings through the trees with the greatest of ease, that daring young man in the Mayan jungles. There is no jungle call here, but plenty of quicksand traps, wild boars, gargoyles, crocodiles, skeletons, snakes and other obstacles that threaten to keep you from your mission.

Pitfall, The Mayan Adventure, from Majesco Sales, Inc., for the Game Boy Advance, is an arcade-style adventure game that requires some puzzle-solving skills and quick eyes. Pitfall Harry has been taken captive by an evil Mayan warrior, and it is up to his son, 18-year-old Harry, Junior to save the day.

To accomplish the goal, which is to save the elder Harry and snag some Mayan collectibles along the way, Harry (a.k.a. you) will swing from vines (and make sure they are vines, not snakes poising as such), climb ropes (see swing from vines), ride zip lines, pull levers, crawl, jump (bungee and the regular kind), and take wild rides in runaway mining cars. Want super-human strength? Snag a Mayan Chili Pepper. Freeze time by touching the Time Keeper. Adventure getting the best of your health bar? You can heal a little of that by finding a Sacred Heart.

The game begins in the Jungle of Ceiba, a relatively easy level that serves to get newcomers to the game up to speed with all they will need to be able to do further down the road. From there you are off to the Xibalba Falls, then the Tazamul Mines.

The game has two difficulty levels, normal and hard. Like arcade games, score is kept, but for every 50 points you receive, you get an additional chance to continue the game should ill luck (death) befall you on your adventure.

Pitfall is the kind of game that makes great use of the Game Boy Advance graphics. The jungle comes to life on the small screen, and the movement of Harry, Jr. – whether climbing, descending, jumping or fighting – is extremely good. I especially enjoyed the way he would quickly glance behind him when the game was stalled (to give fingers a break or to reason out the next path). With a good, solid light source illuminating the screen, the dangers of the Mayan jungle are easily spotted.

The sound is solid. The music can get a big wearing on the nerves, but does keep pace with the action in a manner that supports rather than detracts. The snap of the whip sling is satisfying.

Controls are relatively easy to learn, and gamers should be able to jump into the thick of the action after a very short learning curve.

Pitfall, The Mayan Adventure is an addictive hand-console game. It challenges and delights with very nice graphics. It is rated for Everyone.


Install: N/A

Gameplay: 7.5.
Each level is well-designed, and features horizontal and well as vertical challenges.

Graphics: 8.5
This game really shows off the capabilities of the Game Boy Advance. The characters’ movements are very well done, and the environmental elements are nicely rendered.

Sound: 7.
The music can get old, especially if you are in-game for any length of time. But hey, that’s why there is a volume control on the console.

Difficulty: 7.
This game is very user-friendly in terms of control elements. You will need to be on your toes though, and think before you leap.

Concept: 7.5
This game successfully translates video arcade adventure games into a unit that fits nicely in your hands. It is one of the games that sets the bar for the others in the field.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 8.
Fun, challenging and addictive are three words to describe this game. It features a variety of game boards, great graphics and non-stop action.


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