Friday, June 7, 2019

Game 67: Frogger

I was never a huge Frogger fan. There’s nothing wrong with the game, and it’s a novel break from the space shooters that saturate arcade games of the era, but Frogger just plays bit too leisurely for my taste. Which isn’t to say it’s easy – Frogger still demands split-second timing and precision (it’s no Defender though), but I think the laid-back feel really comes from the fact that you can’t really interact with anything in Frogger’s world, and nothing in it reacts to you or anything you do. Trucks are going to drive, logs are going to float, alligators are going to swim, and snakes are going to slither. Turtles take no notice of you, and you won’t get chased around by first year medical students with glass jars or small boys with sticks or anything. All you can do is plan a route to your destination and try not to get splatted, eaten or drowned.

I considered skipping this game. I’ve played it before, didn’t particularly enjoy it, there’s no winning condition, and everyone reading this knows how Frogger works, right? But then again, maybe the later levels have things in them that I hadn’t seen yet. I got the idea to check the achievements list on XBLA, and found there are achievements for beating levels 1 through 5, suggesting that if I can beat level 5, then I’ll have seen everything Frogger has to offer. And so I made it my goal.

I also realized, having not known this before, that the little magenta things sometimes seen perched on logs are actually female frogs which can be rescued for extra points. Until I saw the XBLA achievements list, I had assumed they were hazards.

I didn’t quite reach my goal of beating level 5. The game starts getting really hard around level 4, and I’ve only beaten it a few times, usually on my last life. It doesn’t help matters that the collision detection feels a bit wonky when things move fast, as if Frogger’s bounding box doesn’t quite align with his sprite. Slight brushes against vehicles kill you, and sometimes look like they shouldn’t, and when the traffic is moving so fast and packed so densely, this leads to a lot of misjudged leaps and splatted frogs. Likewise, Frogger doesn’t need to be in complete overlap with frogs or turtles to land on them safely, but sometimes fails to stick a landing when it looked like there was plenty of clearance.

Frogger is also remarkably stingy with the extra lives. You get three lives, and need 20,000 points to get a fourth. Points are awarded as such:
  • 150-650 points per rescued Frogger
    • 10 points for hopping forward 10 times
    • 50 points for reaching home
    • 10 bonus points for each remaining second
  • 200 points for rescuing a lady frog
  • 200 points for eating a fly
  • 1000 points for finishing a level

I was able to get about 4,000 points per level, and don’t see how you could possibly get 5,000. As you beat stages, the scoring potential only decreases, as the starting timer gets lower and the maximum score bonus along with it, and you have less leisure to pursue flies and females. Realistically, you’re not getting that bonus life until you’re well into the fifth level.

I don’t really see what else I can say about Frogger. It didn’t grow on me as I made my attempt to “beat” it, and if anything I just grew annoyed with its collision detection.

One bit of trivia I find interesting is that in 1998, Frogger was among the very last games developed and officially released stateside for the SNES and Genesis. The SNES version is upgraded to SNES-grade graphics and sounds, but the Genesis version is a very accurate reproduction of the arcade original, as far as I can tell, and this strikes me as the more impressive accomplishment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most popular posts