Frogger is a character that we all grew up with, but I never got a chance to play his games. I probably got my hands on one at some point or other, but I didn’t have the privilege of owning any of them. Well, I finally took the plunge with this one. It’s a little underwhelming and doesn’t take full advantage of its gameplay style. It’s a decent game, but there were a number of issues which kept it from getting a solid 7. One thing’s for sure, this is definitely not your Dad’s Frogger. This is a whole new monster!
The game starts off with “Frogger” whining about how he wants to start a romance with a Princess. His mentor advises him to go find one then and “Frogger” takes him up on the offer. Unfortunately, “Frogger” keeps on getting “Your Princess is in another castle” messages. Villains are running rampant across the land and the young “hero” starts to get discouraged. Can he find his princess and satisfy his own ego or is it all over by now?
It’s really hard to sympathize with the main character at all. He’s very transparent about the fact that he just wants a kiss and doesn’t care about helping people or stopping villains. He really doesn’t care what happens to the rest of the world so long as he gets what he wants. “Frogger” is definitely annoying and the only really endearing thing about him is his catchphrase. “Whoa!” He yells that at every occasion and when he isn’t trembling in fear at the sight of the villains, he uses this to mask his terror. You’ll want to brace yourself for the big plot twist at the end of the game. It will fully show you that “Frogger” is not what he appears to be.
I do have to give the game some major props on the ending. Not the kiss part with the Princess recoiling in terror during the moment as that was just weird and the transformation was even wierder. I’m talking about the big cliffhanger that the game decided to end with. It’s unlikely to be mentioned in the sequel although I’ll give the next game some props if it does that, but it was great. All of the villains suddenly show up and start flying around the main characters. The flame head and the three stooges return and you realize that “Frogger” may be a little out of his depth here. It’s safe to say that they took him out and now rule the kingdom since the main character could barely handle them one at a time. It’s a rather somber ending, but the game can get away with it because of how few people know about it or bothered to purchase it back in the day. I’d like to see more games end on such a note. Naturally, it’d be great if they could actually acknowledge the endings and continue them in a sequel as well. It certainly beats the super safe Pizza Delivery Boy type endings…just saying.
The graphics aren’t that bad although they could certainly be better. It’s a very retro style with the mouths opening a lot like in the old Sonic DX game. Unfortunately, it hardly matters with the level designs since they are very bland. It doesn’t help that the levels are so large and you’ll easily get lost since each and every turn looks basically the same. That’s one of the big drawbacks to the game if you ask me. When it comes to the voice acting, Frogger is a lot worse than expected. It seems intentional just because of how bad it is. All of the characters have really fake exaggerated voices and just can’t stop themselves as they utter a lot of crazy lines. A lot of parodies of famous characters like Frankenstein are around and they don’t take themselves seriously so I assume that we are supposed to treat them likewise. If you’re looking for a good soundtrack, you can forget about all of that right now. You won’t remember a single tune by the end.
There isn’t much replay value to be found here and that’s an exaggeration. There is seriously no replay value here since there is no level select and you can’t go back to grab any of the lost jewels to complete your figure collection. There isn’t much point to the collection anyway though since it’s as bland as can be in this game. Considering that the game is also pretty short, this one is not worth a whole lot of money. It took me 3 hours to beat the game and that’s including the fact that I spent about 40-50 minutes getting lost in various levels. You should be able to purchase the game for about 3-4 dollars though so that should help considerably.
As for the gameplay, it’s your standard 3D platformer. You walk and jump through levels as you look for things or just aim to get to the end of a long tunnel. You can double jump, glide, and even shoot spitballs. You’ll want to use the latter quite a lot as engaging even with a minion in hand to hand combat will result in you losing a lot of health. It’s simply not worth it when you can spam them with projectiles the whole time. If you lose, no worries. You go back to the checkpoint, but the enemies don’t respawn or gain back any health so just keep going at it until you win. What is going to be trickier is dodging all of the numerous glitches.
Sometimes a door won’t open and you’ll have to restart the level. It’s usually not all that long since there are checkpoints everywhere, but it’s definitely not very fun to have to do so. The reason is that the door opening mechanics are very precise. You have to click O at just the right point and you cannot be moving at all or it won’t register it. One reset was all that I would need though and it only happened twice so I suppose it could have been quite a lot worse.
Another iffy part is how the camera angles are really bad. One level involves you running through a tower for a very long time with the camera constantly moving. It’s very easy to fall off the stairs and have to climb back up all over again. Slow and steady will win this race. I remember how it took me a few tries to jump on a tree in the tutorial. The controls could definitely use some work and it’s a little sad to say that some Wii platformers have done a better job of this. How bad do you have to be to lose to something like Flip’s Twisted World in pure gameplay?
Finally, Frogger is one of those games that doesn’t give you a lot of advice for when the puzzles show up. It’ll just say “Find a way out” and leave you to your own devices. Couple that with the iffy controls and you could be stuck at some of these puzzles for a very long time. Trust me, you’ll constantly be hoping that the next level is a linear one. The game had most of those towards the middle of the game and that was the best part. Each level only took about 3-5 minutes and it was great. Any level that was huge or had a puzzle would force you to brace yourself for what was to come.
Overall, Frogger: The Great Quest could have certainly been a lot better. It made the mistake of not being very polished and taking the easy way out at every opportunity. The level designs were sloppy and the glitches were annoying. Puzzles slowed down its momentum and “Frogger” was not a very good main character. I did enjoy the ending though and the actual story wasn’t half bad. It was entertaining because of how crazy the whole thing was. When it all boils down to it, the gameplay itself wasn’t too bad. It was imprecise and flawed, but I can’t say that I didn’t have any fun with it. It’s short, but if you find it for a dollar or two, then you may as well check it out. Otherwise, I’d recommend sticking to the old Frogger titles.