Pitfall II is a superb fanmade Windows remake of Activision's classic action game designed by the now-legendary David Crane. The game takes the original frantic jump 'n run action, but propels it to a whole new level by increasing the "adventure" part of "arcade adventure" by a considerable margin. Since this is a very faithful remake of the Atari original (down to the pixellated creatures), Andrew Schultz' excellent review of the Atari 2600 version at GameFAQs should be enough to convince arcade fans to try it out:
"Pitfall II takes a different tack than its predecessor, and while it is not as captivating overall, it has some worthy new ideas. True, the very top level is the same old surface, where you can see the sunset above the trees – a detail missing from the original – but once you get into the caverns (you can go up and down off screens now) the treasure-hunt picks up. The bulk of the treasure consists of gold bars, but the critical things you must pick up to win the game are a diamond (which looks like an enormous ring), your niece Rhonda (who just disappears when you touch her) and the tree-looking thing below where you start.
While there were stationary alligators and campfires and snakes in Pitfall, there are many new enemies now. There's the bat and the condor soaring across the screen, difficult to dodge. The biggest nuisance is the frog, who leaps back and forth guarding ladders. Getting past him requires delicate timing, especially if there is a bat or condor above or below
This game actually has fewer rooms than Pitfall. However, since they connect two-dimensionally, there are more permutations, and the background changes between rooms, so they seem more numerous. Pitfall II also is more lenient if you run into a monster; Pitfall gave three lives, but Pitfall II simply subtracts points and sends you back some ways. This takes some of the pressure off.
Gameplay is standard with four directions and a button to jump. You also have the opportunity to swim and take leaps off ledges. Perhaps one annoyance is found in that you cannot walk over holes. This was the case in the original, but with some ladders going down five or more levels, it is annoying to see Harry fall that far after a slip of the joystick.
Graphics have mostly technical improvements. Most importantly, when you are in a cavern, the top third of the screen or so shows what is directly above you, and also a squashed version of the level above that. I do miss the cool obstacles like pools, tar pits, logs and brick walls – there are only the monsters present in this game, and they get a bit repetitive to tackle. If you fail, it takes the deceased Harry annoyingly long to teleport back to the checkpoint.
The Pitfall series was a boon for the Atari system, and although the second Pitfall wasn't quite as magical as the first, it still has aspects that will recommend it to some. You don't have to play it all at once, and mistakes are forgiven more easily. Worth checking out."Reviewed by: Underdogs