Advertisement for Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns by Activision for the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 from the Summer 1984 issue of Activision Fun Club News.
The original Pitfall was one of the classic Atari 2600 games and was the biggest seller for that system in 1982. Pitfall II: Lost Caverns was its sequel and was released in 1984 for the Atari 2600. It was also ported to the Atari 5200, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, TRS-80 Color Computer, ColecoVision and there was even an arcade conversion among others.
1984 wasn’t a great year for video games and while the Atari 2600 would continue to have occasional new releases for many years to come, Pitfall II was one of the last major releases. It is also widely considered to be one of the best games on the 2600. While the original Pitfall basically had only a few repetitious screens and two vertical levels, Pitfall II expanded that greatly with a world that consisted of 27 horizontal levels by 8 screens in length. One unique aspect of the game is that you essentially have unlimited lives. If you die, you lose points and are taken back to the last checkpoint but you never start over.
The ports for the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 were done a little differently. The Atari 8-bit ports used much of the same source code as the Atari 2600 version and additional levels were added as easter eggs. The Commodore 64 version was re-written from scratch but contains only the original levels. The result is that the Commodore 64 version looks and sounds somewhat better but you get more play time out of the Atari 8-bit version.
This is also a rare instance when a home game was ported to the arcade. The arcade version was done by Sega and was released in 1985 with updated graphics. It was somewhat of a combination of both Pitfall games. It was shorter than Pitfall II with only two levels and featured both limited lives and a timer. Have to make those quarters somehow…