Super Pitfall (NES) Retro Review

Super Pitfall is a 1986 Platformer for the NES developed by Micronics and published by either Pony Inc (JP) of Activision (US). Its based upon the original Pitfall for the Atari 2600 but unlike that game which was known as one of the best Atari 2600 games this was known as one of the worst NES games. Interesting the Famicom game Atlantis no Nazo was planned to be localized as Super Pitfall II but was cancelled due this games failure.


Super Pitfall (U) [!]-2
Would a SNES version be called Super Super Pitfall?

For something will “Super” in the title I sure wasn’t expecting awkward silence at the title screen, even the demo play was silent and the AI controlling the player was beyond terrible. Also the graphics don’t seem that good from what I saw.


Super Pitfall (U) [!]-0
If it weren’t for temporary invincibility I’d have refused to play after this.

Getting into the game and hearing the repetitive music almost made me wish it was still silent.

The controls seem alright at least but you never really get a chance with its utterly stupid spawns. As soon as I start the game I fall go down a ladder which turns out to drop you on spikes and kills you before being spawned underground literally next to a spider (see above screenshot) which is too short to shoot and you can’t jump on it since literally everything kills you in a single hit.

On top of this you have limited bullets with seemingly no way to defend yourself if you run out. Because of this I almost felt like giving up before I had even done anything noteworthy.


Super Pitfall (U) [!]-3
I wish there was a sky dungeon…

There didn’t seem to be a when or why to go anywhere, you just ended up wandering around trying not to be instantly murdered by something stupid like a spider and hoping you’ll actually find something important. The devs even had the cheek to put in gaps that are pretty much 1 pixel to wide to jump over. Strangely you can find a Pony Inc Logo in both versions of the game which acts as a 1 up.

I can say the game at least tries to change things up a little with the balloon you see in the screenshot and there was also a huge moa head that killed me but the difficulty meant most people wouldn’t see that without cheating. On top of that there seemed to be walls with symbols you’d also need to find so the game seems to be something you seriously need a walkthrough for to even stand a chance of getting anywhere.

Overall I can tell why it got its reputation, not only is it a very different game from what its supposedly based on its also filled with flaws and gltiches on top of blatantly asshole behavior by the developers. I definitely cannot recommend this.


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