Could you complete the 33th zone in Activision's unreleased Super Pitfall II? How about the 41th zone? Pray that you never have the chance to try, as Dream And Friends has taken a look at the partially localized version of Sunsoft's Atlantis no Nazo that is pretty bizarre to the point of being frustratingly aggravating. This is a Nintendo Famicom title that drops players in front of a pyramid, tells them that the key word is "Nagoya" and expects that will be enough to solve the puzzle (if you understand that there's a puzzle there at all). It's a game that features a black hole abyss in the 42th zone (honestly, every zone is the XXth zone in Atlantis no Nazo) from which there is no escape, only constant death on a blank screen. And, yes, it's a game that inexplicably gives players unlimited lives and access to every power-up on the last stage of the game. Surely you can understand why Activision felt the need to bring it to North America, right?
The secret final zone in Super Pitfall II also maxes out your lives and gives you every power-up in the game. This is pretty much insane. Given the intensity of the game’s power-ups and their rarity during normal gameplay, having all of them at once shifts the game’s balance heavily in the player’s favor. Until you fall into a pit or blow yourself up with one of your own bombs, your character is otherwise completely invincible. In addition, all on-screen enemies are damaged or killed by your bombs, and all treasure chests are worth double their normal value. It’s fairly easy to max out your score soon after entering the secret final zone in Super Pitfall II.
I think we dodged a bullet here, folks. The original Super Pitfall had its share of problems (most noticeable at first glance is that the hero Pitfall Harry got a Mario makeover to look more like Nintendo's blazing-hot hero), but what was shaping up as the sequel looks like it goes in an entirely different confounding direction. While some of you may think it looks charming as a neat retro throwback to the days of frustrating NES games, consider your attitude if you'd paid $50 for this game back in the 1980s. Would you have been frustrated by the black hole zone or the Nagoya puzzle? We're better off without Super Pitfall II taking its place in classic gaming history and remaining as its locally obscure Japanese counterpart, 33th zone and all.