PITFALL: THE LOST EXPEDITION
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 30, 2015
Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another episode of the Big Red Timemachine. Our new time travel crew has thoroughly been tested and have proven themselves worthy of their jobs. Ok, they did manage to screw up once after their first adventure; they managed to crash our timemachine somewhere in New Mexico in the year 1947, but I don't think anyone noticed... After replacing the damaged parts with bits and pieces from a cuisinart and replacing the enhanced timeshift aerolock modulator drive with an amusingly shaped turnip, our brave crew managed to leave 1947 and continue their journey. They traveled swiftly through time and space and arrived safely at their destination: 2004. After cunningly disguising the timemachine as a piece of modern art, they set off on their expedition...
And what an expedition it is! It's Pitfall: The Lost Expedition. Launched in 2004 for the PS2, the GameCube, the XBox, the Gameboy Advance and for PC, The Lost Expedition marked the 5th installment in the Pitfall series that originated in 1982. We once again join our adventurer par excellence: Pitfall Harry on his brand new adventure. It's 1935 when Harry takes a job offered him by the beautiful archaeologist Nicole McAllister. She needs Harry to track down her father, Kevin McAllister, who was last seen researching an ancient Mayan temple located somewhere in the dense Peruvian rainforest. Of course, never being able to resist a pretty girl, our hero swings into action and, you've guessed it: into trouble!
See, the Peruvian jungle is not all it's cracked up to be. Not long into his journey, Harry is being attacked by tribes of masked jungle inhabitants under the leadership of the infamous treasure hunter Jonathan St. Clair. If that weren't enough, Harry is also under constant attack from monkeys, alligators, bats and other nasty critters, and last but not least a very dangerous demon jaguar (as if there could possibly be any other kind). And these creatures are only the ones that attack you actively. The entire rainforest is filled with dangerous crevices, falling logs, enormous flesh eating plants that will try to eat you if you walk across them. In short: not a good place for a leisurely vacation. Nevertheless, not being a man who scares easy (not to mention madly in love with Nicole), Harry leaps into action and braves all dangers the jungle and its inhabitants can throw at him in his quest to find Nicole's father and in the process, save a mayan princess and stop St. Clair from claiming El Dorado as his own.
All this, and the only things we have is our wits and a roundhouse kick? Ok granted, the roundhouse kick is pretty bad-ass, but come on, we're in real trouble here! Luckily for Harry, he does receive some help. There's a mysterious Shaman who magically appears in certain points throughout the different stages. So on your trek through the jungle, you'd better keep your eyes peeled for and golden idols, which you can use as currency. If you give these idols to the shaman, you can upgrade your health or weapons. You also have a canteen at your disposal in which you can carry magical healing water, found in springs across the jungle. So you're effectively carrying around a med-pack. But be careful when using it, because it will run out. So if you see a spring, remember to refill your canteen. On your quest, you will find, or be handed certain items that make your life a lot easier, such as a torch, a gasmask, TNT or a sling. Some items are basically a weapon, while others let you get into those previously unreachable areas.
Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is basically a 3D platform-action game. Its main game mechanic involves you getting Harry from one area to the next, without falling into a pit or getting killed by enemies. The only minor flaw it might have had is the sheer amount of buttons incorporated in its control scheme. You had to use almost every button (or a combination of buttons) to successfully get Harry from point A to point B without getting mangled or squished. You move Harry around by using one of your thumb sticks, you grab objects with the other, roll with one button, jump with another button, hit or kick with yet another, rotate the camera using the shoulder buttons and use items by pressing your d-pad. This may seem a little much, but believe me when I say this is something you quickly get used to, so you'll be happily hammering away on your controller in next to no time at all! So yes, Pitfall The Lost Expedition is, at its core, just a platform game. BUT, because of its story, its jokes and its lovable anti-hero, it becomes an action adventure platform game that, once you get into the swing of things, grabs you and doesn't let go!
The cartoony graphics and ditto soundtrack made this game well worth playing, as did the voice-acting and the overall fresh and colorful look and feel of the game. It may not have been perfect, but it was damn-well near it! I mean, for Pete's sake, the basic ingredients are all there: An epic adventure, the hero, the girl, the villain and the treasure. What more could one possibly need?! Ok, the collision maps weren't always 100% accurate but hey, what are a few collision errors among friends? So having said that, I am going to leave you now, ladies and gentlemen. I've got a treasure to find, an adversary to crush and a girl to woo, and not necessarily in that order... Ok St. Claire, you better brace yourself 'cause I'm coming for you! HERE I COME TO WRECK YOUR DAAAAY! (swings away on a vine, fumbles the next jump, falls down and gets bitten by a crocodile... damn!)
PITFALL: THE LOST EXPEDITION