Version tested: Retro
What can you say about a game that's become a worldwide institution? A game that has not only had its own TV show (the Frogger cartoon was shown on American TV as part of Saturday Supercade), but has featured in numerous songs (from 'Froggy's Lament' in 1982 to the Sugababes hit 'Freak Like Me' in 2002). It has appeared on virtually every home system and has had more than 15 sequels (though notably only one arcade sequel; 1991's Ribbit). Surprisingly, however, Frogger wasn't the genesis of the series. It's actually a remake of a game from 1972 called 'Freeway'; created at Washington University for the early PDS-1 microcomputer.
With SEGA's weight behind it, the immortal hop-em-up was a phenomenon that spread like a plague, and it's hard to believe there's a single person on the planet that hasn't played Frogger or a game based on it. I suspect that even the staunchest Amish pastor has had a few games (even if it is a 'live action' version with cattle and goats rather than computerised cars and turtles).
Frogger's premise is as simple as it is fun, requiring our amphibious friend to cross a busy road and then navigate a fast flowing river by leaping onto logs and swimming turtles. Many strategies can be employed to get our slimy friends home, but none are more enjoyable than the mad-dash where you sprint around the screen at full pelt, weaving in and out of cars and diving from log to turtle at break neck speed.
It's a testament to its unpretentious gameplay that Frogger can still hold its head above the water after more than a quarter of a century and, thanks to Xbox Live Arcade, is finding a whole new generation of fans. If only he could de-throne that pesky Kermit, Frogger would take up his rightful place as the Amphibian king.
9 / 10