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Video Game / Super Pitfall

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Super Pitfall is the sequel to the Game Crash-denyingly popular Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns, and was released for the NES, Tandy, and PC-8801 systems. Super Pitfall would be the last of the original style of Pitfall games, as the series shifted from open world to level-by-level with 1994's Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, which was released for SNES and Genesis.

The gameplay vastly builds on its predecessor, keeping most of the elements of Pitfall II except for the eel and insect monsters. The game featured omnidirectional scrolling, and was one of the first NES games ever to do so. The layout was far more complex than its predecessor, many new monsters were added, and there were a total of five maps to explore. There were also visible differences in sediment as the player got deeper, a feature ubiquitous with Minecraft style games.

However, the game was also known for its many glitches — things popping in and out of view, clipping issues, and the like. The invisible items were also somewhat base breaking. As a result, the game received mixed reception, and generally fell into obscurity until the Angry Video Game Nerd featured it in 2009. Although generally lambasting it in his review, he went on to play the second quest, reflecting said mixed reception.

Of note, a planned sequel was once considered as a localization of Atlantis no Nazo, another game centered around treasure collection and exploration, but this was abandoned. A video of the prototype can be found here. Finally, a fan-made 30th Anniversary Edition was released in 2016, with improved graphics, visible key items, and numerous other changes. (viewable here)

Tropes for the original game include:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The long waterfall does not appear for several levels of the long climb that surrounds it. With falling ceilings, spikes going up and down, and Goddamn Bats to worry about near where the waterfall would be, this decision by the developers is quite justified.
  • Beneath the Earth: The last area most players go to in a successful run is the Underworld, an area with creepy music, undead enemies, and somewhat Eldritch architecture. Ironically, it's accessed from the highest point on the main area's map.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Harry is the hero of the game and his outfit is entirely blue throughout the whole game.
  • Covers Always Lie: Harry does not do any rock climbing. Also, his uniform is blue, not yellow.
  • Damsel in Distress: Heavily downplayed, as one of your goals is to save your cursed niece from the Underworld. You would only know this if you read the manual.
  • Dungeon Bypass: A common skip used by speedrunners involves intentionally getting killed by the spider walking around near the long waterfall. The player respawns on the highest level and essentially skips about 10 minutes of climbing back up.
  • Every 10,000 Points: The primary way to get extra lives, aside from collecting Pony Canyon logos, is to get points from gold. First life at 50k, then additional lives every 30k after.
    • One section of the game has you jumping into an enemy vulture to enter a mandatory area. While it has tells, as it's immune to gunfire and flies faster and lower than most vultures, this was a frequent topic on Nintendo Power.
      • If you leave this mandatory area without saving Quicklaw, the game becomes unwinnable. It is very likely that the player will not even notice until they go to find the bird again.
      • There's also two other vultures that do this, but they only lead to bonus rooms.
    • In order to unlock doors, you need to collect "keys", which are actually the four suits in a deck of cards. In order to find these, keys, you have to jump around in specific places.
      • You can also find other helpful items (such as ammo for Harry's gun) this way.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Six-pointed stars in the Underworld gave the player Mario-style invincibility for about 10 seconds while playing the upbeat endgame music.
  • Invincible Minor Minion:
    • The flying skeleton ghosts on the same Y axis as the entrance to the underworld are invincible, but relatively easy to avoid. They exist solely to clue the player on the underworld's secret entrance.
    • Downplayed with the bats, which are invincible both while hanging upsidedown and while preparing to fly. They become vulnerable once their graphic changes.
    • The piranhas and sea snakes are underwater, where your gun doesn't work, and there are no invincibility power-ups near them, so they are effectively this as well.
  • Invisible Block: Excluding the gold, every item in the game is invisible, requiring jumping around a small area to reveal.
  • Lava Pit: Various lava pits can be found at all but the highest sediment layer.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Underworld qualifies. Every other area involves exploring caves and collecting treasure, while the last area is literally Hell, with undead everywhere and zero gold lying around.
  • One Bullet at a Time: In this case, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Your rate of fire is once per frame, so as long as no bullets are on screen, spamming B is a viable option for taking out the Underworld minions up close.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: While its age is never brought up, it's worth mentioning that one of Harry's goals is to rescue his pet lion Quickclaw.
  • Piranha Problem: There are piranhas (and sea snakes) in the underwater sections that can kill Harry. Because they are underwater and normal handguns don't work underwater, they are basically invincible.
  • Scoring Points: Gold ingots. They're the only item in the game that isn't hidden in any way, and they even flash bright yellow to draw your eyes... and they have no other use. They provide no intrinsic benefit and there's no shop for you to trade the gold or anything like that, so the only thing they do is give you points. However, you can get extra lives with enough points. You also get points for killing enemies, but nowhere near as much.
  • Second Quest: The second quest has the same layout as the main game, but with all of the item locations moved.
  • Secret Level: The game has two short optional areas, both accessed by jumping into weirdly behaving vultures.
  • Skewed Priorities: The manual states that Harry, Rhonda, and Quickclaw came to retrieve the Raj diamond, but Rhonda and Quickclaw have both gotten lost in the caverns. The manual states that Harry must retrieve the diamond, and that the fact that his niece and pet have gotten lost and he must save them "complicates matters".
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: One of the earliest examples of a level 6, putting it on par with wide-open sandboxes. You can go just literally anywhere from the get go, but you must follow a specific sequence to win.
  • Spikes of Doom: The most common environmental hazard, and like most games from its era, spikes can kill the player from the sides. It's worth noting that there is only one place where players can approach spikes from the side.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: So long as he avoids the predictable piranhas and sea snakes, Harry can breathe underwater forever.
  • Taken for Granite: Harry's niece was turned to stone before the game began. He needs to find a potion and then head to the underworld to rescue her.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
    • The first ladder in the game is an infamous trap which, if climbed down, sends the player hurdling into a pit of spikes. It was famously exaggerated on Angry Video Game Nerd, and subsequently was used for a joke room in AVGN Adventures.
    • After getting the diamond, a lift is meant to take the player safely to the bottom where the key can eventually be reached. If the player gets off one floor too soon, they can access two large stacks of gold. However, the lift despawns in the process, forcing the player to not only kill themselves, but they respawn in a place where they must climb all the way up to retake the lift.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Sub-areas cannot be reentered, and some sub-areas have parts you can only complete with items from other sub-areas, which means if you don't explore in the proper order, the game is unwinnable.
  • Vine Swing: Not as frequent as its predecessors, but vines are littered throughout the main map and the underworld. The player has to touch a vine's tip to grab onto it.

Tropes for the fan-made 30th Anniversary Edition include:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Harry himself gets a cuter, younger, and more androgynous look. Quickclaw and Rhonda also get cuter, more cartoon-like graphics.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Crosses and invincibility stars have been removed from the underworld, as well as smaller stacks of gold and ammunition, the latter two being no longer relevant.
    • The second quest has also been removed, justified as having all collectibles visible along with the secondary objective of collecting all treasures makes it unnecessary.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: As if taking notes from the original's Angry Video Game Nerd treatment, the hack removes the opening ladder trap, adds a gun with infinite ammo, an auto-save feature, and makes everything that was once invisible or esoteric far easier to find. Parts of the map have also been modified to reduce backtracking and provide better hints for dealing with problems.
  • Auto-Save: Unlike the original, which didn't even have a password system, Super Pitfall autosaves to SRAM whenever the player collects something or loses a life.
  • Canon Foreigner: An undead creature that throws its own head and runs off guards the exit to the underworld. As the head is an easy one-hit kill, it's just likely the modder's signature.
  • 100% Completion: While six of the seven objectives are mandatory to the story, there are now also 100 treasures to collect: 10 rings in the underworld, 90 treasure chests elsewhere.
  • Internal Homage: The main area's music is heavily drawn from Pitfall II's music, mashing up its normal and triumphant themes.
  • ROM Hack: It's a hack of the US version of the game, with minor map adjustments, graphics and sound overhauls, and much more.
  • Sound Test: As the hack features a custom sound track by the modders, they've included a sound test that includes both their original creations and the dummied out music from the original.