Frogger

a game by Morning Star Multimedia, and Sega

Platforms: PSXSega GenesisGenesisSNESSNESGameGearPC

Genres: Action, Arcade Classics

See also: Frogger Games

Overview

Everyone is always looking for the newest, fastest, biggest and best, right? If this is true, why has there been such a boom in retro games? Every time I turn around, someone seems to be releasing another game from the good old days. Frogger is one of these games, sort of. You won't find the original game here, but what you will find is an updated version of the same game. It tries to be newer, faster, bigger and best, but ends up being the same old thing with some other stuff mixed in.

This is not the same Frogger you will remember. This version is 3D, has nine unique worlds and can play up to 4 players together on a split screen. Not only is this frog better to look at, he also comes armed with a heat-seeking tongue, power croak and supver jump. All the game really needs is a little direction and it would have been a lot better.

Gameplay

For all of you young 'uns out there that don't remember the arcade game Frogger, let me explain the basic idea. You played as a frog. It was your job to work your way from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen and save the baby frogs. Sound simple enough? Well, it starts out easy enough, but things start to change the farther you progress through the levels. In your attempt to save the baby frogs, you must maneuver your frog through streets of heavy traffic and across a raging river, with only logs and the backs of various creatures keeping you from plunging to your death in the water (I always thought frogs could swim, but what do I know?). Anyway, after you rescue the 5 baby frogs at the top of the screen, you move on to the next level. The next level adds more traffic, less time and less objects in the river. The game was very addicting and ultra-popular at the time.

Set your clocks ahead about 12 years to the present and Hasbro's release of Frogger. Unlike most retro games, this game has been completely redone. Usually, the idea behind retro games is to keep the original intact. People want the same graphics, music and gameplay. Frogger deviates from this formula. The only thing that really carries over from the original title is the gameplay in the retro levels. Other than that, the graphics and, for the most part, sound is nothing like the original. What is wrong with taking the addicting gameplay and updating the graphics and sound to today's standards? Not a thing.

I really enjoyed the retro levels on this game. They felt like the good old arcade game if it were to be released in the 90's. You get that same feel that the old arcade machines gave you, right down to the rushing traffic and perfect timing required. It was a bit difficult to get used to guiding your frog with a control pad instead of a stick, but you will get the hang of it soon enough.

The multi-player mode was also fun on the retro levels. This has you and up to three friends battling to get to the top of the screen and save the most baby frogs. This mode resulted in more good-natured harassment than I can remember in a long time. You will get a few good hours of enjoyment out of this mode. The only drawback is that when playing with more than two players, the screen does get difficult to see.

So what is it that I didn't like about this game? First, and foremost, I did not like any of the new levels. In the retro levels it is clear and easy what the intended goal is. The new levels are very unclear on what the object is and where it is located. In the retro level, you know the object is to work your way from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. Simple enough. The new levels have you going off in directions that you have no clue or indication if this is even the correct way to go. Since everything is on a time limit, you don't have the time to explore the level and locate your goal. It is also very easy to get lost and not have any clue where it is you are supposed to be going. This will leave you throwing the controller down in frustration.

The other thing I did not like about the game was that it just gets boring pretty quick. Like I said, the retro levels were fun, but you can only play them so many times before you get tired of doing the same things over and over again. Since the new levels have no direction and are basically a crap shoot on the object, you will find more frustration than fun. If you are like me, you don't mind challenge, but you at least want to know what the hell you are trying to do and have some idea of how to do it.

Graphics

The move to 3D has done our little froggie well. The updated graphics on the old levels look good and it makes you think about how much things have changed. The cars, trucks, logs and alligators all look cool, and there is never a question of what items are. The only thing is, back in the old days, graphics did not matter much. So in the one area the new Frogger really shines, graphics, it really is just secondary because the gameplay on the new levels is not too enthralling.

Bottom Line

For fans of the old classic, this game will be worth a rental to play the retro levels. This game could have been better if they would have just followed the same concept of the original game. It must have gotten lost somewhere in the translation that the thing that made the original game fun was a test of reflexes and quick thinking. The new games just missed this completely, and that is why they just did not work for me. The 3D environment serves Frogger well, but this is only secondary to the gameplay.

Frogger Downloads

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The task is to help a bug to pass the road get over on the other coast of the river via...logs. It’s a very entertaining game... I advise you to play it.

reggie posted a review

Overview

In the early 1980s a company named Konami released a very popular video game named Frogger. Rather than being a standard platform game or an arcade shooter, you tried to get a frog to jump across a road without being flattened by onrushing cars and trucks to save its babies. It was quite fun, despite the limitations of the primitive graphics in those days. Well, as the game box says, "he’s back!" Hasbro Interactive, better known for releasing computer versions of staid Parker Brothers board games such as Monopoly, Risk, and Clue, has really pulled out all the stops to bring us a wonderfully enhanced version of Frogger that introduces all sorts of intriguing variations on the original theme. Incorporating the very latest technology (the game includes support for MMX and 3D video acceleration), the new Frogger springs us into a full 3D world incorporating 50 levels of play in ten new environments. Hopping carefully through hungry enemies and dangerous terrain, Frogger now incorporates new features including a Power Croak (used to help locate baby frogs), a Heat-Seeking Tongue (used to swallow nearby flies), and a Super Jump (used to overcome particularly troublesome obstacles).

Gameplay

The gameplay in Frogger is fast, frenzied, and fun. Needless to say, this is not a cerebral game, and if you spend too much time thinking about what to do next you will run out of time. You guide the frog not only across busy highways, but also through polluted ponds, hostile deserts, and dark caves while avoiding the likes of crocodiles, lawnmowers, turtles, and snakes ready to end his days.

In addition to the standard single-player game, you can play Frogger with up to 4 players with a multiplayer split screen. You can play over LAN, modem-to-modem, or via Internet. Either way the game is a blast, but in the multiplayer game you may use special tactics -- such as hopping onto opponents’ backs to slow them down -- that add extra spice.

The game can be controlled by either keyboard or game pad, but the game pad seems a lot more fluid to me given the speed of movement necessary. The game’s menus are cutely designed -- you navigate them by using a hopping frog -- and very easy to follow. The level of challenge differs markedly depending on which world you are in -- some seem nearly impossible, while others are quite straightforward. There is no discernible artificial intelligence in the game, as all of the enemies move in predictable repeatable patterns.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are crisp, colorful, and always nice to look at. Having a 3Dfx card substantially improves both the game’s performance and its appearance. However, most objects are constructed with relatively few polygons, so there is not much detail or subtle texturing to be found here. I felt that the arcade nature of the game made further visual refinements largely superfluous.

Audio

The music in this game is bouncy and vivacious, and I really enjoyed it. The sound effects are also quite well done, with great frog noises. My only complaint here, and it is minor, is that after you quit the game, the background tune played while viewing the main menu continues to play for several seconds.

Documentation

A game of this type does not require extensive printed documentation, and so as expected, the black-and-white jewel case manual is quite thin. But the information is nicely presented and quite helpful in playing the game, particularly for those who have never seen the original arcade version.

System Requirements

The minimum system requirements for this game are a 100 MHz Pentium CPU, 16 MB RAM, 25 MB hard disk space, 4X CD-ROM drive, 1 MB SVGA video card, SoundBlaster-compatible audio card, mouse, and the Windows 95 operating system. These requirements seem quite steep for a game of this type, particularly because it highly recommends a 3Dfx video accelerator card to run at its best.

Bottom Line

I did not expect to enjoy this game nearly as much as I did, and Hasbro deserves all the credit for taking an arcade classic and making it a lot better. Of all the remakes of video games from the past that I have seen, Frogger seems to be the most dramatically advanced in terms of both the technology used and the innovations introduced in the gameplay. I highly recommend this game for those who want a fun arcade diversion.

reggie posted a review
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