Frogger: Helmet Chaos Review

It’s time for another Frogger adventure. You know that things are going to get intense when this guy’s around. It’s a fun enough game but does suffer from being a bit short and not having a level select. It’s one of those games where when you beat it, you’re taken back to the opening cutscene. So that removes pretty much all of the replay value that you could possibly have had for this one. It’s a shame because there was some possibilities here to at least see if you can collect all of the coins but that’s gone now. You can have a good time here but it won’t last.

So the story starts with Lumpy getting attacked as a brainwashing helmet is put on him. He didn’t realize this until it was too late and now Frogger has to go and save him. Can he possibly pull this off? Well, to be honest he pulls this off almost immediately but it leads him deeper into the fray as he must now stop this villain empire before they go too far. Only Frogger can possibly stop these guys and so he is on his own now. If he can’t win this…then nobody can!

The gameplay is your classic Frogger experience so I don’t have any real issues with that one. Hop around and get to the end while trying to avoid enemies. One thing I do like here is that you don’t immediately die when bumping into things. I may be misremembering but it felt like in a lot of others you would die right away while here you have 3 health points. Additionally, the levels are all just constructed really well so you’ll have a good time going through the motions.

One thing I don’t like is that your jump has lost a lot of its ability and use here though. For example, now when you jump you don’t go over an enemy so you bump into them instead. A big part of what made the jump good was how you could actually just go through enemies that way. Now you have to run around them. I suppose you can say that it adds strategy but to me jumping was a key part of the strategy. It’s just a different one but not necessarily a better version.

As for the boss fights, I did like the fact that the game had them in the first place. They were very different from the actual levels too. They could and should have been explained better like the fact that some bosses can’t be beat and you have to dodge, but they all had unique mechanics. I felt like the devs paid extra special care to this part of the game which was appreciated. If the overall title could just have been a little longer then I think all of the hard work would have paid off.

It’s just hard to glance over the fact that the game is only a couple of hours long with absolutely 0 replay value. I probably would have been lightly salted if I had bought this game day 1. It just wouldn’t have felt all that enjoyable to have been done with it so quickly. The story is decent enough but it’s not like it’s something that could carry the game either. The story would have to be truly spectacular to pull that off in such a short experience and clearly Frogger was not going to be able to do that. It’s too far out of his wheelhouse.

The Frogger franchise hasn’t always been known for its high quality games. The gameplay tends to be solid but then like with this game you tend to come across some issues. If a game is too short and there’s nothing to do then it’s going to be rare that you get a really good score. I would say that the game is good but not very good. It’s still lacking just enough oomph to get it to the next stage.

At least the graphics and soundtrack are okay. I wouldn’t say it’s super memorable or anything with the music but the game looks nice. There is also full voice acting here which is a big win for me. I still say that having voice acting automatically bumps you game up a tier because it just makes the whole story more immersive. Even a story that’s not too impressive like this one gets better when you’ve got full voice acting to back it up. It’s kind of odd that the text doesn’t auto scroll while they’re talking so you have to time it and click A as it’s moving forward but that’s a small thing I can overlook.

Overall, There isn’t a whole lot to discuss with Frogger since the game’s so short. I will say that if you like the Frogger gameplay then you should check it out. It’s a straight forward game that should give you a good amount of enjoyment for 2 hours but you really need to make sure that you get a good price for it. If it costs a lot then it’s not worth it. Full stop. The price is the big deciding factor here because it’s a good game but one that you feel should be free the whole time. I can’t even imagine paying full price for this one. Now that would be a complete travesty. Hopefully Frogger comes back with a big budget full experience at some point. With this gameplay it would have a lot of potential but I suspect that we might have to wait a while for that.

Overall 7/10

Frogger’s Adventures: The Rescue Review

Frogger is back in action for yet another whirl at trying to be the best platformer in town. It’s a pretty solid title and I would say it’s probably the best Frogger yet. There are no gimmicks or anything crazy. It’s really just a solid game of Frogger even if some of the bosses occasionally seem to have a bit of a luck factor going in for them. As always the game does feel incredibly short though. It would be nice if they could bump that up just a bit next time.

The game starts with Frogger relaxing at home when he is suddenly startled by the arrival of a spaceship. The game’s intro really jumps but effectively the villains have kidnapped Frogger’s girlfriend, injured his uncle, and they’re threatening to blow up the world. Only Frogger stands in his way since the rescue team isn’t all that skilled. In fact, they quickly ask for Frogger’s help and essentially please with him to do all of the work. Well, no matter. Frogger is used to doing the heavy lifting and he will do whatever he can to save the world.

At the very least you have to give the game credit for trying to establish Frogger as more of a hero this time around. Usually he’s the more reluctant character type who grumbles about having to save the world the whole time. He doesn’t do it out of justice but out of obligation. Here he’s definitely more all in on being a hero. That said, don’t expect a huge plot either. We have more cutscenes than the average game as there is one after each world but the plot’s pretty direct. Save the girlfriend and stop Bowser the enemy.

The gameplay is as you would expect it to be. You can move one space at a time in any direction. Press the A button to go 2 spaces which is useful for jumping over pit falls. The goal of each level is to make it to the end safely. A single hit from any enemy will cause you to lose a stock so make sure you take that into account. This is a game all about dodging so you need quick reflexes. Patience is key here since there is no time limit.

I wouldn’t say the game is particularly hard although at this point this is around the 4th Frogger game I’ve played in a row so I’m pretty used to the gameplay style as it is. The bosses on the other hand will give you some trouble. Part of the problem with these guys is it is very hard to read their movements. Keep in mind that a single touch will cause you to lose your life so there isn’t a whole lot of room for error. They do tend to follow the exact same attack patterns though so if you lose enough times then you will have it memorized. It’s just more fun to win right away of course. Each of the bosses are different and have to be fought in a different way so a good amount of effort was put in here.

In terms of length each world has 3 levels and then a boss arena. There are 7 worlds so you should have this completed in a matter of hours. There isn’t any post game content in single player mode, however this game does have a multiplayer option which will definitely come in handy. That’s something to certainly give this game some staying power so it’s greatly appreciated. Yet another thing this Frogger game has over some of the other ones.

That said, I still think the story mode needs to be longer. Not saying you should drag the game out for more reason, but maybe add in another 2 worlds so we have more levels or something. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this style of gameplay but it’s just over so fast. I’ll give the graphics a thumbs up though. The cutscenes are fun to watch and it gives the story a lot more depth than it would have otherwise.

For example the villain actually looks pretty cool. The girlfriend doesn’t get to do anything though so hopefully she will in the next game. We’ll see if the whole group returns for the next title or if they’ll all fade away as with most Frogger casts. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though, I couldn’t really tell you of any specific tunes that left me nodding my head. It’s mostly going for a lot of free domain kind of themes. The only exception is the final boss theme which is absolutely the Ridley theme just completely ripped and put into this one. It was quite bold.

Overall, Frogger still has more games in the future that I need to check out but it could be a little while before I get there. It was definitely a fun ride though and if you like the concept of Frogger or the franchise in general then you should definitely check this one out. The gameplay’s a lot of fun and it’s why I applaud when the developers don’t just add random gameplay styles for kicks. Make a whole game with this style like Rescue did and then you’re all set. It’s quite fitting that the Gamecube would be the place to check out the definitive game in the series so far. Hopefully the next game is able to keep up the momentum.

Overall 7/10

Frogger’s Journey: The Forgotten Relic Review

Frogger returns with another installment here. This one isn’t quite as solid as the last one but I’ll give it some credit for trying to have more of a complete story. You’ve got a whole ninja clan here to wreck havok on the world and a villainous mastermind. At the very least this feels a little grander than the usual Frogger experience although it’s a little less epic than it may sound.

The game starts with Frogger enjoying a good time at home when he is roped into another adventure. His grandfather has gone missing after working on another excavation. Unfortunately nobody knows where he is but it all seems to tie into the mysterious relics being found around the island. Maybe if Frogger finds all of these then he will find the answers? Along the way Frogger will encounter truths about this island and its inhabitants that he may not be ready for.

While there is a story here it doesn’t feel like the game is especially interested in it either. It all goes by pretty quickly with twists thrown at you but then you go right back to the levels. In terms of design I thought more time could have been spent in making the game a little more seamless. You have to constantly walk between two houses on the opposite sides of town to talk to someone. Often it will be a very small cutscene were you feel like you could have saved time if it was put into the other one. Alternately just have the game auto jump you to each house as if it’s all a long scripted cutscene. Surely that’s the better option right?

The gameplay is good though. It brings us the classic Frogger experience where you have to really think about where you’re going and how you will handle the next obstacle. For the most part the levels are fairly easy though and I would say the Gamecube levels were a lot more difficult. At the same time though those levels were sometimes hard not for the best of reasons though. At least this one is focused completely on Frogger. In fact, the worst level in the game is the underwater one where it goes away from the classic gameplay which is quite telling. The gameplay’s not bad there or anything, it’s just a lot more sluggish and doesn’t feel as natural as the others.

I’ll give the game credit for the various bosses though. They’re fairly unique and do have you try a lot of different things. One that was good in particular was the final boss. You have to move really fast if you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A single change in trajectory and suddenly you’re on the back foot. You have to jump across lava while dodging the attacks which really takes a lot of concentration. It took me several tries before I was able to take this guy down for good.

The graphics are fairly decent. Nothing to write home about but the levels look good and the character models are on point. For the GBA era this was definitely as good as you would hope. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though. It all felt like rather generic tunes so you’ll forget them all almost instantly.

I suppose the main gimmick for this game is how you can use the various relics at your disposal. They give you new abilities in the game although most of them aren’t all that helpful. Instead of being able to use your tongue to grab items from afar like in previous games Frogger relies on the backpack to do that now. The best relic though is the one that temporarily stops time. Now that is handy even if the charge runs out very quickly. It doesn’t take too long to charge if you’re patient enough.

The downside of this mechanic is that you can only equip two items at once. Jumping counts as an item by the way so for the most part you’ll probably just be holding one other item. I would have preferred each item get a button so you could equip them all. Although, I suppose in that case one item may have gone to the L button which I am unable to use on my old DS so perhaps that is for the best. It’s not the most intuitive feature but at least it adds some sci-fi to Frogger.

In terms of replay value you can go back through the levels to get a bunch of coins and buy all the collectibles at the shop. They’re quite expensive though so you may end up spending even more time in the post game than on the story. Hopefully you at least get a bonus cutscene or something. Admittedly I haven’t looked it up although the game is so obscure it’s possible that nobody has posed the results of that online anyway. So in case there is no reward, proceed at your own peril. If you like the game a lot though I suppose it may be worth it.

Overall, Frogger’s Journey is a fun game. I always tend to enjoy this kind of gameplay style since it really makes you think and strategize. It’s not quite as good as the last GBA adventure but it’ll hold your attention all the way through. This is not a particularly long game so you can probably beat it in a weekend. It took me around 4 hours to complete and I did die quite a bit on the final boss. Also, make sure you don’t spend any coins on the collectibles until you beat the game since you will need a lot of them to unlock the relics. As long as you have money you will not need to replay any of the old levels.

Overall 7/10

Frogger’s Adventures 2: The Lost Wand Review

Frogger has returned and it’s time to head back to the GBA era on this one. The core gameplay of Frogger is something that should always be fun. You have to use a lot of tactical awareness to hop from square to square while memorizing enemy patterns. That’s something this game understood a whole lot more than the previous ones. We actually got to focus on this gameplay without throwing in a bunch of unrelated styles and it all worked out rather well.

The game starts with Frogger being called into action once more as someone has broken a legendary wand into 8 pieces. Frogger must now find these pieces before they end up destroying the entire planet. It won’t be easy to stop them but he has the help of a local wizard. Together they will have to go to various planets where the pieces have been absorbed into various life forms and take them down. This will certainly not be easy but it must be done either way.

I’ve already talked about the gameplay but I’ll reiterate that it’s just a lot of fun. The controls are as basic as can be. You can move in any direction by one space or jump which crosses 2 spaces. You have to try and reach the end of the level without being touched. Any contact with an enemy will result in an immediate death but fortunately there are a lot of checkpoints throughout the level so you can use those to regroup. Often times patience is rewarded here so take a minute to memorize the attack patterns without overthinking things.

Meanwhile the boss battles try a lot of different ideas. For example, one of them is a Simon Says kind of game where you have to copy whatever the boss does to injure him. Another is a duck duck goose kind of game where you have to run around the boss in a circle to trap him in a light prison. The final boss may have been my favorite one as you play a memory game where you lift up a bunch of cards as you try to find various matches. Continue doing this until you have flipped the cards over.

This keeps the levels fresh without actually messing up the gameplay. Now on the negative side, this game is incredibly short. You’ll probably have it knocked out in around 3 hours or so. Maybe even shorter as I see someone online beat it in an hour and a half. The game isn’t particularly hard but I do suspect some areas should take you more than one try. I definitely died on a fair share of attempts although the game is quite generous with throwing extra lives throughout the game so you will rarely see a game over.

Even the final boss has an infinite amount of one ups next to him so make sure you keep grabbing them to keep your life points up. There are no true collectibles here outside of little cards that are only used in the levels so there is no real replay value here. When you beat the game it will really be over. With that in mind, you don’t want to spend too much on these games. I managed to score each one for a very cheap price since they came in a bundle. When you buy it like that, you won’t mind the length quite as much.

This one’s the definition of a fun game that is over in a flash. It probably would have been a good Blockbuster rental back in the day. As for the graphics, I liked the art style here. It’s got that nice hand drawn feel with some decent illustrations. There’s even a line with voice acting at the beginning and the level designs are good. The soundtrack is a little more on the forgettable side though. The themes are good and all but are about as standard as you can get.

A little replay value could have gone a long way but maybe next time I guess. The character roster in this one’s pretty small. The magician is okay at best but also not too memorable. Frogger is fairly selfish and nervous for a hero but at this point that really is his true personality so I suppose it won’t be leaving anytime soon. He tends to grumble about things a lot but deep down you know he’s in it for the team. Frogger just doesn’t know how to show this. He didn’t deserve that ending though, lets just say that some characters are really not that grateful at all which is a shame considering everything Frogger did here.

Overall, The Lost Wand is a good way to continue the Frogger mythos. It doesn’t get to try anything new and you may not remember it so well by the end of your adventure but it did capture the true essence of Frogger. Finally, you could play the game and just have fun hopping around without having to learn a new set of controls. It may be short, but as of now I would call it the definitive Frogger game. I have another one that I’ll be starting later today though so we’ll see how long this title can keep that crown. If you still have a GBA or DS then I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Overall 7/10

Sonic vs Frogger

Suggested by Sonic Frogger is a pretty fun character sometimes. His portrayals aren’t always the most consistent. The guy isn’t exactly a powerhouse though. Sonic could defeat him with ease and wouldn’t even need any of his many super forms in order to do it. These guys just aren’t in the same league and Sonic will make that painfully apparent in this match. Frogger simply isn’t ready to take on one of the mascots of video game legend and he will need many more power ups and forms in order to change that. Sonic wins.