Although I bet that you already know the game Frogger, I’m going to write my review from the perspective that you know little about it, or else I don’t have much of a review. I picked this game up actually with the purchase of a joystick – which I had desperately wanted with my purchase of Dig Dug and Pac Man C.E. earlier in the year. The joystick came with three arcade game codes which I redeemed (if you’re curious they were Astro Pop, Frogger, and Time Pilot). Keeping in mind that I would have paid $20 for simply the joystick, the additions of the arcade games was a pleasant surprise. So let’s go to this review!
Frogger is a game from the 80s, and it becomes obvious as soon as you boot it up. They basically just took the game and stuck it on the Xbox 360, with little evident changes to me. I play a good amount of older type games (Pac Man is my favorite game of all time, and I’m a regular player of Galaga/Galaxian, Burger Time, Root Beer Tapper, Paperboy, etc, etc) and I was unable to see a difference. If you’re unfamiliar with Frogger, let me go over it:
You’re a frog. There’s a road in front of you. This road has cars. Past the road is a pond. This pond has lily-pads and logs. Past that is a bit of land, each with designated slots. Put your frog in one of the slots, and you’re a success. Rinse and repeat four more times until all the slots are filled. Do this all without dying, either by getting hit by a car, falling into the water, or missing the designated slot. Of course the game is slightly more complicated – some cars move faster than others, some logs will submerge themselves in the water, etc, etc. You can also grab bonus points by eating some bugs along the way. You have a certain amount of lives that you can lose. Get enough points and you can have another life. Fill all the slots and you go onto the next level, which is slightly harder, rinse and repeat.
The game is sensational in that it is easy to learn, yet hard to master, which is what has made it so famous over the years, similar to Pac Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga. Unfortunately, that also means that it works on that simplified scoring system, which seems to have fallen out of favor over the years due to not being enough of an incentive to continue replaying a game. The game also fails at keeping my attention over a prolonged period of time, and after about thirty minutes, at the most, I’m moving onto another game. But you could look at that from the other side as incentive to play the game – it’s easy to pick up and play, it’s relaxing, and it’s simple. The controls simply require the control stick, and nothing more – your mother could play this game. Actually, she probably did at one point.
Single Player Score: 7/10
The game’s multiplayer is the classic switch off system famous from the 80s. Similar to Pacman, when you lose your life you switch to the other person. I think the multiplayer is great, and it justifies not changing anything in the single player. A co-op inclusion makes the game old and trusted, while incorporating something new and fresh, which the game throws in over Xbox Live. An achievement is related to this, which entices you to go ahead and play it, and test out the new mode. If you’re not interested in working together you can always take on the more competitive versus mode. Of course that means that you need to bother one of your friends to purchase the game, but at a cool 400 MSP you’re likely to find someone you know that is willing to pick up this classic.
Multiplayer Score: 8.5/10
The game is just a port, and therefore has no DLC. Also being a port it means that you’re going to be looking at the same graphics and hearing the same sound that you did thirty odd years ago. While this helps the argument of “it was good then so why change anything”, the sound really wasn’t that good then. I found myself quickly muting the television and putting on my computer music, or putting on some music from my harddrive.
Although it is easier in my mind to justify the game’s graphics remaining constant, they did something similar to what they did with many of the other xbla games (dig dug and galaga) where they put the game inside a “box” and put a border around the screen, with some little pictures on/in it. While it might seem cute to them, it means burn in to me on my plasma television, and is a severe detriment to me playing the game for an extended period of time. It also unnecessarily cramps the screen of the playable part of the game, which is just annoying in my opinion.
Of course, it would be arrogant of me not to mention some things about the game – the “other stuff” per se. Firstly, the game is relatively cheap, 400 MSP if I remember correctly (remember I got it with a code and a joystick). Secondly, the game is a classic, similar to Galaga and Dig Dug, which means it deserves some respect. Third, the game is cute, adorable, easy to learn, and difficult to master. The fact that it has remained around for such a long period of time makes it obvious that the majority of people must have liked it.
DLC/Sound/Graphics/Intangibles Score: 6/10
The achievements in this game are relatively logical and interesting. You get an achievement for advancing to each of the stages, which forces you to become relatively good at the game. There are also achievements for playing the game differently (beating a level in under a certain time) and for doing odder things (filling up the slots in order). They also put in an achievement for the new co-op mode over Xbox Live, which entices you to play it and get your friends into it. In general it’s the best they could have done for the game, given what they put out there.
Achievements Score: 9/10
Total Score: 30.5/40 = 7.625/10 = 3.8125/5
The game is a classic, and this port to XBLA just puts it back for you to purchase. Although I was disappointed in no upgrade in sound, the game does capture the essence of what made the original great. After all, why tamper with something that has been so successful for so long?
I spend a lot of time on my reviews. If you feel that I misrepresented the game in anyway, or didn’t serve the game due justice, and feel the desire to leave negative feedback, I please ask you to leave a comment instead so that I may improve my review. If I don’t improve it within a day, then I do deserve the negative feedback if it is still warranted.
Thanks for reading my review!