Trog (video game)

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Trog
Trogvideogame.jpg
Arcade game flyer
Developer(s) Midway, Visual Concepts (NES version)
Publisher(s) Acclaim (NES)
Software Creations (MS-DOS)
Distributor(s) Midway
Composer(s) Chris Granner
Platform(s) Arcade, NES, MS-DOS
Release date(s) 1990
Genre(s) Arcade, Puzzle game
Mode(s) Single player, Multi player
Distribution Cartridge (NES)

Trog is an arcade game developed by Midway Games and released in 1990. In the game, players control one of four dinosaurs and must collect eggs onscreen while being pursued by cavemen called "trog" (named after the word troglodyte[1]) The game supports up to four players at once.

Trog features claymation graphics, advertised as "Playmation" by Midway. Creating the claymation graphics comprised a significant portion of the game's development costs. Originally, the game involved indirectly controlling the dinosaurs by leading them around using bones, but after early versions of the game tested poorly, the gameplay was tweaked to make it more similar to Pac-Man.

Ports of the game for the Nintendo Entertainment System and DOS were released by Acclaim Entertainment in 1991. These versions reduce the number of simultaneous players to two.

Gameplay[edit]

The player assumes the role of Rex, Bloop, Spike, or Gwen, small Theropod-like dinosaurs (with Styracosaurus-like heads) in the land of "Og", home to the one-eyed cavemen known as the "Trog". In the NES rendition of the game, only Bloop and Spike are playable.

Players must pick up all colored eggs lying around the map as the Trog cavemen wander around, attempting to eat them. Unlike its influential predecessor, Pac-Man, the dinos can attack at any time with a punch that does not require a power-up. Power-ups also randomly spawn to help finish the level; these include red flowers that increase the player's speed, ice cubes that freeze all on-screen Trogs and pineapples, which turn the character into a full-grown T-Rex that can temporarily eat his enemies (similar to Pac-Man's Power pellets, except the power occurs on random), and a firebrand which bestows a temporary fire breathing ability on the dinosaur. The multiplayer mode consists of two to four dinos on the same screen competing to get all of his/her same-colored eggs first, and players can either attack or protect each other (though power-ups indiscriminately hurt anyone that's in the way regardless). Many stages feature no walls, so characters can travel off the edge of the grid-like islands and plunge into the sea if they're not careful. The Trogs themselves are subject to all hazards the player is; they can even be taken out by their own wheels, fire and pits to comic effect. The Trogs can be one-hit punched, to the side of the head, as they approach the screen edge resulting in them falling into the sea, with bonus points rewarded to the player.

There are three different levels of difficulty: Easy, Advanced and Expert (Although the Arcade operator can set the difficulty in the operator menu to make the game more difficult on easier levels, without the player's knowledge of the true global difficulty.). Advanced Mode rewards a 200,000 level bonus and Expert rewards a 400,000 level bonus. As the levels progress, the cavemen become smarter and invent new ways to capture the dinosaurs. They eventually create fire pits and wheels to burn and flatten, respectively, the character and springs to bounce themselves all over the screen. Catapults and transportation chambers in latter stages help evade these attacks, however these are also usable by the Trogs resulting in some tactical gameplay options.

Development[edit]

The arcade version features "Playmation" graphics in which character models were created with clay animation. The original arcade prototype of Trog was more of a strategy/puzzle type game which consisted of the player assuming the role of a hand which would lay bones to guide their corresponding dinosaur in the right path. However, this idea was heavily panned and ridiculed during testing, with one tester allegedly defacing one of the cabinets to add an "R" to the label of the bone button.

Due to the poor reception, Bally/Midway considered canceling the game altogether, but the game was given a second chance for two reasons. The first one was because the game's creator Jack Haeger had already spent so much of the budget on the clay animation and the second reason was because one of the testers suggested to make it into a Pac-Man-like game.

Ports[edit]

The NES version, due to its limitations, was scaled down drastically. The arcade version supports up to four players at a time, while the NES version only supports two (only Bloop and Spike are playable, Rex and Gwen were omitted). Much like many NES games at the time, the home versions box art was contracted out to a different company and did not use the arcade game's art.

Cameo appearances[edit]

Characters from the game make appearances in later Midway titles. In the game Revolution X, one of the trog appears as shootable "easter egg". In the horror rail shooter CarnEvil, one of the trog can be found in the Freak Show portion of the game as an attraction in the background. He is frozen in a block of ice and labeled "Frozen In Time!". The dinosaur characters also appear as enemies in the Rickety Town level of the game.

The arcade cabinet makes a brief appearance in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day; two girls attend the machine inside a shopping mall arcade as the T-1000 questions them regarding the whereabouts of John Connor.

References[edit]

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