Going back to a simpler time, you know the Atari 2600 you had the original classic Frogger, and all you had to do was get a frog across a busy highway, it was fun then and it still manages to be fun now. Cut to 2004 and here we are with a new Frogger title, with as nonsensical a story as ever, some new levels, boss fights (boss fights in Frogger? Where have I been?) and the use of his ever powerful tongue, but he still can’t swim.
There is some wacky story in place here, something about a group of amphibians calling themselves F.I.R.S.T. who are a search and rescue team that Frogger joins up with. Then you’ve got the evil reptiles calling themselves T.R.I.P. and are in search of some ultimate weapon and the person who can activate it. It’s weak, disjointed and out and out lame. Frogger never needed a reason to cross the freeway back in the day so why should Frogger have a story now? If I didn’t get it then I can guarantee that kids who pick up this game aren’t going to get it either.
Getting to the actual gameplay it is pretty solid and even at times a bit difficult. Standard Frogger fare is the order of the day, so if you’ve played old Frogger games before then you’ll feel right at home with this game as well. In an effort to make it more than a simple hop and dodge game though, Frogger can now use his tongue in order to push and pull certain blocks, logs, and platforms; this manages to add a good amount of variety to the game gives the game a little bit more difficulty than what most people are used to. There are still those classic Frogger moments where you’ve got to sprint across a busy pathway of sorts but those are few and far in between, instead you’ll spend a lot of time hopping around areas in order to flip a switch or grab an extra life, and those are plentiful.
The game is reasonably difficult at times and other times it is way too easy, much could be said for the bosses as well, attribute this to the fact that when you die the boss retains the health you left it at. Of course this wouldn’t need to happen if they boss battles didn’t contain so many unfair deaths. The stages themselves are also replete with cheap deaths, you really must pay attention while playing this game or else you’re going to get frustrated quickly.
Graphically the game looks pretty good for the most part, it runs smoothly at 60fps, but it doesn’t really push the GameCube in any way shape or form, the levels look lush with color in the forest stages, and has a clean sterile look for all the cityscapes. The FMV is standard at best at least the lip sync is good and there is some reasonably good voice acting, and the music at times is good and other times is just grating and annoying. Hearing Frogger make a noise every time he makes a jump really should be done away with as that gets annoying quickly as well.
Frogger really has come a long way, but the constant flow of Frogger games needs to stop and they should really just focus on one title and make that the be all end all of the Frogger series, make it so he can swim or something, he is a frog after all, just don’t let him croak into obscurity.
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