July 27, 2011, at 10:36 AM

Mini Review: Frogger

This is a sequel of sorts to the original Frogger arcade game from 1981 (and its many ports). Apparently due to legal issues, there weren’t many sequels until the late 90s. This version was a little earlier, but was never released (possibly for the same reason) although it is a complete game. Refreshes of early-80s arcade games are often terrible, but Frogger acquits itself remarkably well.

The basic premise is slightly modified from the original: you, as the frog, must collect your three children from within each level and bring them back to the starting point. Along the way there are various entities moving (or stationary) on land and water. On land, the entities (typically road vehicles) kill you if they hit you (with some exceptions). On water, the reverse is true: the water is deadly and the entities are platforms. There are also bonuses available for extra points, some of which are simple collection and others (like the fly) require you to catch them with your tongue.

Graphics

Nice cartoony graphics that mostly stick to the same perspective and have some nice touches like well-blended shadows. The core graphics are all backdrops (moving thanks to raster FX) and thus don’t animate much. The sprites (pickups, frogs, etc) are reasonably well animated and are drawn in a similar style, so it all comes across quite nicely.

Sound

I didn’t listen to it.

Longevity

The game offers a decent difficulty curve, although it is on the easy side - extra difficulties ramp up as the game progresses. There’s a reasonable number of levels, but it’s a bit short overall. The graphical variation is nice and gives an incentive to play through, but perhaps the space would have been better used with more levels. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine a random level generator that could ramp up the difficulty - but even that would probably get a bit boring fairly quickly.

Plot

You’re rescuing your children, presumably to avoid angering Mrs. Frogger who appears in the ending sequence.

Fun

The amount of variety is just about enough to keep it fresh through to the end, but it does grate a little. There is of course no depth to the game, but it’s easy enough to make it keep flowing in an enjoyable fashion. Overall, it does better than average in the fun department.

Innovation

Not a lot, the gameplay mechanic is of course not much changed from the original game 10 years earlier, but it is still an unusual type of game and therefore interesting. The improvements over the original are all nicely done and don’t come across as too gimmicky, although the focus on arbitrary points bonuses is rather out of date and it might have been more interesting if the bonuses had other effects.

Conclusion

A good solid game that’s reasonably unique within the Sega 8-bit library. Well worth playing.


Mini Review Ratings