As we all know, Microsoft seems to enjoy the lack of legacy software running properly on their newer Windows operating systems. Backwards compatibility mode isn't always the perfect solution. You'll still need to tweak files or, if all else fails, run a virtual machine. Luckily, just in case you've tossed out your old Windows 95 installation discs but still have your Pitfall CD-ROM, there's still one way to make this classic Windows 95 game work on 64-bit editions of Windows.
If you still have your CD-ROM laying around and a CD/DVD drive installed (go ahead—laugh), then you're in luck! Pop it in and the game should autoplay. You'll get the splash window with a jaguar sound effect. If not, don't worry about it. After pressing Play, the first issue you'll notice is the Kinesoft splash video not appearing as the music plays. Just hit the Escape key to skip it. Next you'll get an error message that reads "Pitfall must be played in 256 color mode for optimum performance." Press OK and the game appears to work fine. The issue? You'll have CD music, but you won't have sound effects. In the game window, if you click on File, select Properties... then click on the Sound tab, you'll find that Sound Effects options cannot be toggled.
Close the game. Go to your Computer, right-click on (D:) PITFALL and select Open. Copy the ASSETS folder, go to your Local Disk (C:) drive, go to whichever folder you install your games, and paste ASSETS there. Rename the copied ASSETS folder to, say, PITFALL. Open your new PITFALL folder, right-click on PITFALL.EXE and select Properties. Click on the Compatibility tab, look under Compatibility mode, check the box for Run this program in compatibility mode for: and select Windows 95 from the drop-down menu. Click on Apply then OK. This will enable the locked out options.
Allow me to save you some further trouble. If you were to double click on PITFALL.EXE now, User Account Control might pop up, so you'd press Yes, the 256 color error pops up again followed by another that says "Bad or missing dispdib.dll - error 2". Whatever. For future reference, just press OK for both. The main issue is that the game will lock up as soon as the first sound effect is played, typically at the prologue scene. You'd have to Control-Shift-Escape and force the Task Manager to shut down the application. Go ahead and try it out if you're so curious.
I did a lot of searching online and eventually discovered that the issue comes from an incompatible WAIL32.DLL in the game folder. I remembered a forum called VOGONS (Very Old Games On New Systems) exists and that's where I decided to take a look. Lo and behold, someone else had issues with Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. On the second page, the user Vetz mentions the said issue and supplied a download for a fixed WAIL32.DLL. Go ahead and view the specific post and download the .ZIP file. Extract the new WAIL32.DLL into your computer's PITFALL folder, overwriting the old one.
Double click on PITFALL.EXE, ignore the User Account Control and error pop-ups. Voilà! The game doesn't lock up anymore with Sound Effects enabled. You can now enjoy this PC classic once more. Remember to always start the game from PITFALL.EXE in your Local Disk drive PITALL folder, not from your CD/DVD drive. One final note, you'll still need to insert the CD-ROM into your CD/DVD drive to play the game. Creating a disc image and running it in a virtual drive doesn't work due to copy protection.
If you own a copy of Earthworm Jim: Special Edition for Windows 95 and have similar issues, this fix might work. Both games were ported using Kinesoft's Exodus platform. The MS-DOS version should work fine in DOSBox.
You can natively use a wired Xbox 360 controller. Remap the buttons in the game Properties under the Joystick tab.
Included on your Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure CD is a .HLP file that normally cannot be opened in Windows 7. You'll need to install Windows Help program to read it. Microsoft offers the program on their website.
The music on the CD is independent from the game. Rip it to your storage device or pop it in a CD player!