Review by Felix Arabia

"Recurring madness"

In Atlantis no Nazo, you play as the man with the yellow hat.

Something's wrong with that.

Curious George is nowhere to be found, so when I see his loving benefactor waltzing about the jungle canopies, I begin to wonder when or not SunSoft was getting liberal with its creative inspiration. But get this. You probably didn't know that Atlantis no Nazo was going to be known in America as Super Pitfall II. It would make sense, then, why you play as Pitfall Harry's dubious clone, the man with the yellow hat.

Here, is name is Takashi. He battles bears with his fists. In Atlantis

Yes, dear reader, Pitfall Harry, er . . . Takashi, whose jungle jinx begins in the sweltering conditions of South America says goodbye and adieu to his old stomping grounds, replacing them for the mysticism that is known as the lost island of Atlantis.

It's never explained too clearly in the game – yes there is a simple story – but what is realized is that a terrible power resides in the watery depths of this sunken world, and only one man can stop it. This man, armed to the teeth with his bony fists and banana-colored hat, dons his mighty armor – the banana-colored raincoat – and meanders his way into the deep, dark depths of . . . Euro Disney?

Wait a second.

Did SunSoft even try to make anything make sense here? Your character, a stalwart adventurer, who begins in then jungle and then makes his way to Euro Disney . . . only then finally reach Atlantis . . . all while punching bears to death . . . is in for one wild ride. This game is priceless. And I mean it. Where else can you fight bears, gnaw on frog legs (an integral health item) AND battle a deranged mascot known as Roger Rat?

Nowhere but here in the wild world of Atlantis no Nazo.

While Super Mario Bros. was doing many special things at around this time, Atlantis was imitating the classic and infusing it with a dash of bizarre. As a strict platformer, scrolling from left to right had never been so peculiar. This game, which is just as weird now as it was then, is still surprisingly playable thanks to its tight controls and innovative health system.

Takashi has no problem eating anything. He'll eat mushy flowers; he'll eat roasted metal. And he'll like it. He has to. This is one hard title. After clearing the opening jungle stage and the unexpected Euro Disney stages, the difficulty stops nudging and begins to SHOVE. The third level takes place in a labyrinthine complex known as Urotsukidoji. Our hero, the brave Takashi, punches his way through possessed samurai spirits, sauntering mega-crabs and erupting Mt. Fujis . . . only to then tackle a hideous sex vixen known simply as Mesaana.

Good grief, dear reader, if you know anything about the PC Engine, and you should, you'll recognize the name Mesaana from the Dragon Knight franchise. Funny thing is, Atlantis came out long before a single DK game ever did. Could this be some twisted irony? I think so. Both are vivacious, salacious succubae. Only the one presented before Takashi is a wily scamp capable of regurgitating mutant camels upon our poor hero! Takashi, being a man who lives by his bony fists, has plenty of work cut out ahead for him he wants to tackle Mesaana and her mutant camel legions.

But damn it, he'll do it. Because you'll make him.

For every camel kill, a nutritious hunk of BBQ replenishes some life lost to those harrowing hump-backs. And then, after dealing the final blow to Mesaana herself, Takashi finds himself in . . .

(Atlantis?)

NO!

The Rings of Jupiter

. . .

And the adventure, with its sweet, innocent lullabies playing alongside the brutal hand-to-hand, hand-to-hoof combat takes another turn that makes absolutely no freakin' sense. And somehow, you'll be glad that you're still nowhere near Atlantis.

In fact, dear reader, you will still have to visit another FIVE odd worlds before you even get the chance to delve into Atlantis' beautiful metropolis. The road will be difficult and arduous. You'll have to shanghai the flying powers of an eagle to cross the fiery inferno of Mt. Kill, battle the spicy dishes from Chef Takeru and survive the epic onslaught of Mother Nature's estranged husband, Father Time.

Then, and only then, after you have undone the mighty obstacles standing in Takashi's way, you can finally go reach Atlantis. Where you'll fight bears.

Hundreds and hundreds of bears. Black bears. Brown bears. Polar bears. Bears with knives. Bears with guns. Bears piloting space fighters (???). And after all the bear slaying finally ends, after all the sheer oddities have been uncovered, after every single possible maddening route has been revealed, one final surprise awaits valiant Takashi.

Will you get to face it?


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/24/07


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