The current fate of old arcade games is a curious one; they either morph into something entirely different (Donkey Kong), fall into obscurity (Qubert), or get the Pac-Man CE treatment and have some new life breathed into them. One of my favorite games which I had assumed would languish in that middle category is Frogger. It’s a dead simple game that hasn’t exactly had the freshest legacy over the last decade or so leaving me and many other gamers assuming the series was unsalvageable at this point. Well Konami decided to give it one last shot and give this game the HD crazy remix treatment and thank god they did. I never thought I’d get to say this again but you should buy the new Frogger game, now let me tell you why.
So this is a return to form for Frogger, the gameplay is essentially just the same pure formula and controls from the original arcade game. What makes this game great is a good variety of interesting modes that all play with the classic formula are really neat inversions of what you know as Frogger. There are six different modes, three of which are single player and three of which are multiplayer though you can play them with bots. The single players modes are Classic, which is just good old Frogger; Paint, in which you have to hop out a pattern to paint a picture while avoiding cars; and Twin, in which you control two Froggers which are about a car’s length apart and maddeningly try to get them to the top of the screen. The multiplayer modes are Love Frog, in which up to four frogs try to collect as many female frogs (the
purple ones) as possible; Battle Royale, which is essentially Frogger smash bros for lack of a better term, and Capture, in which you need to secure a certain number of squares and then reach the top to claim your score. All these modes are pretty damn fun and play really well, the multiplayer modes are surprising entertaining and far more hectic then you might expect. Best of all the game has a random and a challenge mode available which provide specific challenges and randomized remixes of the other modes to provide some decent replay value.
The gameplay is awesome but it’s not what really makes this purchase worth making, what does that is an amazing and reverential presentation. The audio in particular is a highlight here with a soundtrack that I would make love to if I could. As a rule I generally dislike dubstep but I make exceptions for remixes of the Frogger theme and Buckner and Garcia songs. The soundtrack is about 13 songs long overall, 10 of those are the dubstep remixes I mentioned and they’re all pretty awesome and you’ll happily find yourself rotating through the soundtrack. Also included is the original “Froggy’s Lament” by Buckner and Garcia which was the smartest decision Konami could have made because nothing calls to old arcade gamers like Buckner and Garcia. The other two songs are the Castlevania theme and the Contra theme because they totally included reskins with sprites of those games. My only issue is that classic core Frogger theme is missing which is a bit of a pity.
A wonderful thing here is that the visuals here kick as much ass as the music. You have a total of six visual styles; Classic, Hyper, Next-Gen, DDR/Karaoke Rev, Castlevania, and Contra. All of these look nice and there’s a lot of neat details and reverence thrown in for the Konami faithful. The cool reuse of sprites on the styles based on other games is really neat and again that reverence sticks out with little details like the lyrics for “Froggy’s Lament” scrolling on the bottom of the DDR style stages. I will say the Hyper style looks a little too Tron for my tastes and the Next-Gen style while interesting somehow felt looser in terms of control than the other ones, lining up hops just seemed less reliable. The Classic style looks amazing though with things being represented in almost voxel style sprites, there is a hint of 3D space going on there but it stays faithful to what the original was.
Overall this is a great package and at only $10 I can wholeheartedly recommend it, not just to Frogger fans but to everyone who enjoys seeing arcade games rise like the phoenix. There are some minor issues like some longish load times and a kind of poorly designed main menu but the nostalgia factor more than makes up for those things. The gameplay is fun, the music is great, and the visual style is just damn cool; this is a game worth owning and you’ll have fun with it both on your own and with friends. So for making me love Frogger again, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition gets a 5 out of 5 stars. To put it simply Konami showed they cared and as a result now so do I.