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Super pitfall

Super Pitfall - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 76

The Nerd: Let's play Charades. Who am I?

(The Nerd starts hopping on one foot, then gets on his knees and slams his hands on the floor repeatedly.)

The Nerd: If you guessed Pitfall Harry, then you're right. Good ol' Harry got his start in Pitfall, the classic Atari game. But he didn't start acting like an asshole until the NES came along. Super Pitfall, one of the most deceptive uses of the word "super" in video game history. You wanna know why? You wanna know why this game super-SUCKS? You wanna see how hard they cranked up the diarrhea dial? Just watch.

(Harry climbs down a ladder and gets killed by a bat.)

The Nerd: Nice. Fuckin' beautiful. The first ladder you see drops you into a pit where you get killed by a bird, or a bat, whatever it is. And even if it wasn't there, I'd fall in the spikes. So it's basically death insurance. Let's put every kind of obstacle we can possibly think of in the very beginning of the game.

The Nerd: You know, I'm disappointed. Couldn't there have been lava on top of the spikes, with fire-sharks swimming in it? Couldn't there be more spikes coming from the sides, ready to close in and squash me while stabbing at the same time? How 'bout some laser cannons and upside-down volcanoes? You wanna be even more efficient? Why even have the ladder? Why not just start the game falling down the pit? Fuckin' assholes. Ugh, talk about a beginner's trap. They sure nailed it.

The Nerd: Well, let's talk about Pitfall Harry. He looks like Luigi, and there's somethin' wrong with his walk-cycle. Looks like he's hopping on one foot. But the most ridiculous thing about this guy is the way he dies.

(Harry gets killed by an enemy, and he appears to be flipping up and down repeatedly)

The Nerd: What is that all about? He goes fuckin' apeshit! It even kills the enemies that are nearby. My only theory of what's going on here, is that there's an Angel and a Devil waitin' to take him to either Heaven or Hell. It's first-come, first-serve, and they both want him real bad, so they're constantly there, waiting for him to die, and then as soon as he dies, they both grab his arms, fighting over his body. That's the only explanation that I can think of.

The Nerd: The enemies in this game are a total joke. Spiders? Frogs?! Are frogs a common hazard that you would face in a jungle? Has anyone ever died by getting attacked by a fuckin' frog? And he uses a gun? Who the Hell goes around shooting frogs?!

The Nerd: Harry can't shoot while ducking, and that's a big problem, because most of the enemies are too short. You can hit the frogs only if you time their jumps very carefully. The spiders, the scorpions, and just about everything else, it's like tough shit. Does Harry have a problem with his arms? He can't point the gun in any direction other than right in front of his own fuckin' face?

The Nerd: The number-one complaint that I have with this game, is that all the items are invisible. They only appear when you jump in a very specific spot. Everything from bullets to special objects that you need in order to unlock certain parts of the game, everything is invisible. So unless you know where everything is, you're just gonna have to go through the whole game jumping around like a fuckin' idiot.

The Nerd: The only items in plain sight are the gold, but the gold has no purpose other than getting points. Unless you're playing an Atari game, nobody really cares about getting a high score, it's more about just finishing the game. So the gold is there just to waste your fuckin' time. You gotta convince yourself to just walk past it. But that's hard to do, because, not only is it the only thing in the game that's not hidden, but it flashes. Like "Oooh, look at that flashing gold! So tempting!", but no. Just pretend it's not there.

The Nerd: The only other item I found is a crazy bug-eyed animal in a cage. I have no idea what that is or when you'll ever need it. I don't know, could you ever think of any way to use an animal in a cage? I can't.

The Nerd: The graphics do a lot of flickering. There's always something popping out at the edge of the screen, like the NES can't handle its awesomeness. The weirdest thing I ever saw happen, was that for a fraction of a second, there was like a red clone. (The red graphical clone appears) Like - who's that supposed to be? The ghost of Pitfall Larry? Playing this game is like driving an old beat-up car. You're always afraid it's gonna break down.

(Harry falls down a ladder and gets stuck on the spikes.)

The Nerd: What happened here? I'm frozen? Okay, well, I guess I'm just gonna... (He finally dies) Oh, okay. Now he dies? I guess the Angel and Devil were busy lookin' for him that time.

The Nerd: Nothing about this game makes any sense. The whole layout was designed at pure random. Like - why are there so many ladders that lead to nowhere? Why is there an anti-gravitational lake thats bottom leads to thin air? Down is the worst direction you could possibly go in this game. Because you're always gonna end up falling and killing yourself.

(Harry falls on the spikes)

The Nerd: Oh, that's great. They did that on purpose. It looks like you could just barely steer yourself to the left. But that fuckin' platform's tucked in too far.

The Nerd: Falling is your worst nightmare. There's one part where you have to climb up, up, up, and if you make one mistake, (Harry gets hit by a waterfall) you're fallin' down, down, down. You have no idea how long it took to get that far. Now I gotta do it all over again.

The Nerd: This game is unholy. It's fuckin' made in Hell. I swear.

(An Easter Island Head-like enemy comes in and kills Harry)

The Nerd: OH, SHIT! What the fuck was that?! That's fuckin' scary! You're just walkin' around, and a head run amok from Easter Island comes flyin' towards you!

(Harry jumps into a hole, the head comes back in and does not kill him)

The Nerd: Okay, how did I survive that? The weirdest thing is when the face doesn't even come after you a second time. It just sits there. Then if you walk away, and come back, it disappears. So where did it go? Who knows, who cares.

The Nerd: This game is a lot like Milon's Secret Castle and Simon's Quest, because the whole thing is about secrets. In order to access certain parts of the game, you have to jump in the walls. Who would think to do that? It's like in Simon's Quest where you have to kneel down by the wall, holding a Red Crystal, and wait for a tornado to come. Okay, well - maybe it's not that cryptic.

The Nerd: This is the last part of the game. Some kinda dungeon with skulls and shit. Kinda reminds me of The Temple of Doom. I like this part, for two reasons. One: it's the only part in the game that has different music. What a relief. The other thing, it's the only place that has enemies that are tall enough to shoot. I don't know why everything else had to be so small. (Harry gets killed by a snail) Like those snails. Killed by a fucking snail. (A brown graphical clone appears) Ooh, must be Pitfall... um... Gary...

The Nerd: That's the princess, or whatever she is. Just some girl you're tryin' to rescue. When you get to this part, your first instinct is to get over there and rescue her. Hopefully that means you beat the game, right? But no. That's some wishful thinking right there. You can walk right through her, you can try to hump her, but nothing happens.

The Nerd: The game doesn't even give you a clue. You're just supposed to know that you gotta collect a bunch of secret items before you can rescue the girl. But if you went down to this dungeon place, you're basically trapped. There is a way to get out, but it requires a lot of climbing, where one slip can drop you all the way back down. You're better off just resetting the game.

The Nerd: So we're jumpin' around in thin air, tryin' to find different suits, like spades, hearts, and diamonds. What purpose does this have? I found the princess, does he need to play Poker with her or somethin'?

The Nerd: Finding these items, like I said, unless you have a strategy guide or a walkthrough telling you where all these things are, it's just a guessing game.

The Nerd: Even worse, jumping around can put you in danger. (Harry gets knocked down by a waterfall) Come on, a waterfall coming down from the ceiling?

(Harry falls onto a frog)

The Nerd: UGH! Death, by a frog. Is this girl really worth all this aggravation? Look at her! She looks like a fuckin' ragdoll!

The Nerd: There's no limit to how secretive this game is. There's actually a part where you have to warp, by jumping... into a bird.

(Harry jumps into the bird and he warps to the next level)

The Nerd: You saw that, right? I'm not making that up. There's a Warp Zone hidden in a bird! How would you ever figure something like that out?! Unless it's by complete accident! If you try touching the rest of the birds in this game, they kill you. So if you've learned anything from that, it's to avoid them! How stumped and bored would you need to be to start thinking, "Hmm, I guess I'm gonna try jumping in the birds!"? How the fuck is a kid, in 1987, without Internet, supposed to figure out how to beat this game?

The Nerd: So you get all the items, go back into the secret wall, find the princess, and then you win, right?

(The music changes)

The Nerd: No. The music changes, but the game still goes on. Is there any clue? Any dialogue box? Anything to give you a hint what to do next? Of course not! You just have to assume to go back to the beginning of the game. That means climbing out of this dungeon, finding another secret passageway, and work your way back. But you're not supposed to go back to the exact start point. That would be a little too easy to guess. So how 'bout this? You fall off a random platform, the screen starts to glitch, and then you win.

(The Nerd chuckles)

The Nerd: And that's it. Don't ya love games that just end with a black screen, with plain text? At least they spelled "congratulations" right. The third line's a little off center, but other than that, I don't see any errors. I guess that's why they kept it so short. They knew they'd fuck it up. But the last sentence mystifies me. "Please try another world."? What other world?

The Nerd: As far as I know, there's a second quest, but it's the same exact game. The only difference is that the items are all in different spots. And after that, the game just keeps repeating over and over and over again, like a never-ending Easter Egg hunt. But that'd be like if the Easter Eggs were full of diarrhea, and the Easter Bunny was shittin' all over your face. But I've had enough with bunnies and shit lately, so I'm gonna end this right here.

The Nerd: What kind of masochist would you have to be, to beat this game more than once? If you did it one time... what would you have to prove to do it again?! You'd have to be some kind of fuckin' idiot!

(The Nerd starts playing the game again)


  • The "crazy bug-eyed animal in a cage" and the "princess" are actually Harry's pet mountain lion, Quickclaw and his niece, Rhonda respectively.