Frogger (1997 video game)
|Developer(s)||SCE Cambridge Studio|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation, Microsoft Windows|
Frogger (branded and commonly referred to as Frogger: He's Back!) is an action video game remake of the classic 1981 arcade game of the same name. It was developed by SCE Cambridge Studio and published by Hasbro Interactive in November 1997. The game is an expansion of the original arcade game, sporting levels with large maps, an updated set of graphics rendered in 3D, and additional gameplay moves. Critical reaction was mixed, with frequent criticism towards the gameplay, controls, and difficulty; while the graphics were received positively. Despite the mixed reception from critics, it was a commercial success, with the PlayStation version going on to become one of the best-selling titles for the console. The Sega Genesis, SNES, Game.com, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color versions of the original Frogger game also feature the box art of this game.
In 2000, Frogger was followed by Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge, which builds on the gameplay elements found in the game.
Like the original game, the player's objective is to explore the map for five small colored frogs: green, orange, purple, blue and red. However, unlike the original game the maps are more complex, rather than recycling the same basic layout each time. Each frog must be collected within a certain amount of time or the player will lose a life, and on top of this there are various obstacles, traps, and enemies which must be avoided and usually are unique to a certain zone. Hazards range from animals like snakes, spiders, dogs, to vehicles like cars and lawn mowers, to level hazards like cacti and lava. There is also a gold frog hidden in one level in each zone; the player will unlock a new zone for each gold frog that is found. Finding every gold frog in the game will unlock an alternate ending sequence. There are a total of 33 levels spread out through nine different zones, with the first zone including five levels (and a multiplayer level) based on the original arcade version of the game.
The player begins with five lives (three on the PlayStation version). Should a player lose a life, they return to the starting point of the level. Frogger's new abilities include being able to eat flies of various types, croak, and jump upwards onto ledges to take advantage of the 3D perspective. Flies and croaking tend to add to the player's score, though select insects allow Frogger to speed up, lengthen his tongue, or earn an extra life.
Up to four players can play simultaneously in a race to complete each level. Frogger has 38 total levels, with 33 of those being single-player levels.
Frogger: He's Back! received mixed to negative reviews from critics, with a GameRankings score of 60.38% for the PC version and a 49.82% for the PlayStation version.
Criticism of the game was primarily targeted towards the game's design, which reviewers felt followed too closely to the original arcade game. Stephen Poole of GameSpot argued that Hasbro "[leaving] some of the old video game conventions unchanged" was "where Frogger disappoints" in his review of the PC version. The game's tendency to bring the player back to the starting point of the level once a frog was collected (as in the original) Poole complained "turned challenges into frustrations" because "you wind up covering the same ground over and over again", and ultimately concluded that "the 'new and improved' Frogger probably won't convert anyone who didn't care for the old one." A reviewer for Game Revolution agreed, arguing "the nature of the game with its time limits" makes it "impossible" to play a level for a lengthy amount of time before dying. The reviewer likewise assumed that Frogger "really doesn't have anything that would capture [new players'] fancy", though said the game "should sell very well to the numerous fans of the old coin-op." Adam Douglas of IGN blasted the game's camera, "terribly poor" controls, and "impossibly high level of difficulty", claiming they result in "an unplayable game" and summarized the game's faults as "[conspiring] to make Frogger one of the worst PlayStation games yet seen." Conversely, fellow GameSpot reviewer Joe Fielder called Frogger "an enjoyable title" in his review of the PlayStation version, saying the gameplay "contained hours of super fun" and spoke highly of the Retro Stages, claiming they were "almost worth the price of the game." Fielder however did make note the game's mixed reception among reviewers, saying the difficulty in the later stages and multiplayer levels would alienate players.
The graphics and soundtrack received positive remarks. Fielder commented on the game's soundtrack as "extremely catchy", and described the 3D graphics as "polygonal origami." GameRevolution spoke favorably about the graphics, claiming "the designers definitely deserve kodus for their work...the frogs look like frogs, alligators like alligators, and big rigs like big rigs. Frogger is truly the king of amphibian simulations". Douglas agreed, saying Frogger's "flat-shaded polygons give the game a pleasant cartoonish look." Poole however argued that "compared with what you'll find in other current releases [the graphics] are not what you'd call inspiring," despite being an improvement over the original game, and stated that "often they don't convey a true sense of three-dimensionality: Yes, you move downward through the limbs of a tree, but it doesn't really feel like you're moving down."
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it one star out of five, and stated that "something that may have once been great for its time is reduced to tired mediocrity, self-parody, or worse. In the case of Frogger, this refusal to go away results in a vile spawn of hell unleased on the unsuspecting videogame masses."
Despite the mixed reception, the game was a commercial success. The PlayStation version sold 3.37 million units in North America, resulting in the game being one of the best-selling PlayStation titles of all time and subsequently seeing a re-release on the Sony's Greatest Hits lineup. The PC version was also successful, selling almost one million copies within less than four months. In the United States, Frogger's jewel case version for computers sold 510,000 copies and earned $4.3 million by August 2006, after its release in October 2000. It was the country's 27th best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006.
- "Frogger: Ummm... Tastes Just Like Chicken". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 99. Ziff Davis. October 1997. p. 168.
- "Protos: Frogger". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 98. Ziff Davis. September 1997. p. 42.
- "Frogger: He's Back! for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- "Frogger: He's Back! for PS1". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- "Frogger Review for PC - GameRevolution". GameRevolution. June 4, 2004. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- Joe Fielder (December 2, 1997). "Frogger (1997) Review for PlayStation - GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- Stephen Poole (February 20, 1998). "Frogger (1997) Review for PC - GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- Adam Douglas (November 3, 1997). "Frogger - PlayStation Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 37. Imagine Media. January 1998. p. 151.
- Vallina, Joe (February 23, 1998). "Frogger". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000.
- Chick, Tom (January 19, 1998). "Hop hop hurray!". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005.
- "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The Magic Box. 2007-12-27. Archived from the original on 2007-04-21. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- Reidy, Chris (March 17, 1998). "Hasbro Unit Pays $5m for Atari Arcade Game Rights Plans Include New Versions for Users of PCs, Playstation". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
Just before the holidays, Hasbro Interactive introduced a PC version of Frogger; in less than four months, it has sold nearly one million units
- Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.