Monday, 24 October 2011


Okay, so, 1992/1993 Sonic the Hedgehog platformers don't translate well to the Let's try something a bit older.

Frogger. Questions have to be raised when you can buy a 1981 game conversion for the same price as a 1997 one. Surely the won't have troubles with this... right?

In 1999, Frogger was given a new lease of life, possibly for the wrong reasons. Hasbro Interactive had recently formed, and rather than trying to create new, innovative software to define themselves as a top player in the industry, they chose to dig up old games from years long past and re-imagine them for a modern audience, often with mixed results. The 1997 release of "Frogger 3D" is the only game to stand out in Hasbro's line of mediocrity - it is possibly the finest Frogger game on the planet and well worth a look.

So, good news - the version seems to take some advice from Frogger 3D. That's the best possible start and... oh wait, no... it's just shares the same box art. The actual game is a port of the 1981 arcade release. Oh well.

I'm not entirely sure what to think of the version of Frogger. It's a bare bones port of a then 18 year old game - hardly cutting edge, and unlikely to move Game.coms off store shelves. Back in the day Frogger was ported to almost every console and computer imaginable, as was the sequel - I don't know why you would rush out to buy this version... unless you wanted to be part of the select few to own a game that actually worked!

Yes, Frogger may be the only game that actually performs well on the It's about as arcade perfect as you could expect this system to manage, and arguably even superior to the Game Boy version, which is saying something. Note that this situation is incredibly rare, so don't get used to it.

Frogger works on the because it's a stupidly simple game. And stupidly simple games agree with the stupidly simple hardware the offers. Frogger is a no frills version of the original. The graphics have been replaced with a prettier set (though obviously they're all monochrome) but the gameplay is mostly in-tact. Purists may find ways to complain, but to me, all the features you would expect are present and it generally performs rather well. Frogger also stands as one of the few cases where the music is spot on. Though clearly limited by the appauling audio hardware of the system, it sounds like Frogger ought to. This is the only real example of an good port on the system, so kudos.

But it's not a flawless victory. I don't personally like the original arcade Frogger all that much - I feel its sequels and remakes have improved on the original formula substantially, and it doesn't seem like this version took their advice. No attempt was made to make the game more interesting - yes there are a few options, but there's nothing "new" here. It's not bathing in content exclusive to the handheld.

One of the big issues with this version is that time is scarce. Even though it scraps a few lines of objects, it can be a challenge to make it across to the other side before the time runs out. It's mostly out of your control - platforms simply don't move fast enough for you to reach the edges without losing a life, but I'm not going to stand here and say this is purely a problem - it might be rife in many ports of the game.

The thing is... it's not rife in the original game, and that was nearly twenty years old by this point. It may only be a tiny step back, but it still counts as regression, and we really shouldn't have that. Frogger should run rings around the original because there's almost two decades of progression between the two.

Nevertheless Frogger is perhaps the best game the offers - the least likely release to make you cry, but still a meaningless entry in the library. You can get this game for anything - often it's included in compilations and I've already recommended a better Frogger game in this post, so even though it's a nice surprise to see something on this system work, you don't need to bother with this.


  1. Did you notice that on the title screen he has 5 fingers on one hand and 4 on the other? 3 toes as well, but that's a separate issue.

    The artwork they based this on doesn't make the same mistake. My theory is that a light colored portion of his inner arm was carelessly outlined and accidentally became his new index finger. It sure goes to show how much they cared about this project.

  2. BullockDS (Bison)28 October 2011 at 01:40

    "The 1997 release of "Frogger 3D" is the only game to stand out in Hasbro's line of mediocrity". Glover would like to have a word with you.

    Just kidding. This was a pretty neat read, Squirrel! You never disappoint. Well, if Frogger's the only "decent" review... ulp.

  3. Oh man Frogger 3D

    Just the mention and I got a huge nostalgia rush.
    I had totally forgotten about it. I have to obtain this game again