Once upon a time, a little arcade phenomenon called Frogger was born, way back in the 80’s. It has since centered its way into gaming history, between an infamous appearance on an episode of Seinfeld, a classic song by Buckner and Garcia (“Froggy’s Lament”) and a variety of home releases. Unfortunately, most newer Frogger games have sucked as of late, as Konami has seemingly forgotten about the nature of the arcade game we fell in love with in the first place, opting instead for kid-friendly adventures with unnecessary gameplay perks. But thanks to Zombie Studios, we’ve got a title that will make you proud to get hopping again.
Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition follows in the footsteps of other revamped arcade classics, such as Namco’s Galaga Legions DX and Pac-Man Championship Edition, by returning to the classic gameplay many folks grew up with, and adding extra modes that actually serve a purpose, and don’t just serve as décor. While the game’s still missing out on certain things that will make it a party favorite (like online play), there’s undeniably no question it ended up being better than expected.
First off, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition features the original arcade classic – well, an “inspired” version, anyway – with different settings to choose from, including a retro 8-bit design. There are various other modes you can check out as well, each one using old-school gameplay as its focal point. These include Paint, Twin Frogger (one of our favorites, as you control two frogs at the same time), Frogger Freak Out, Battle Royale, Tile Capture and Lady Frog Rescue. Up to four players can take part in these games, and the more the merrier, as the competition just isn’t the same against AI opponents. Tile Capture and Frogger Freak Out are easily our favorites, thanks to their unpredictable nature. Twin Frogger is worth a try as well – and quite challenging.
Zombie Studios sweetened the deal by letting you choose whatever visual and audio style you want for each round. You can go with classic inspired tunes, which aren’t half bad and a visual grid layout similar to a Tron-like world, or go with the retro 8-bit look with “Froggy’s Lament” – yes, it’s here – in the background. For some odd reason, Konami also added some Castlevania and Contra-inspired sprites and tunes as well, and they mesh better than you might expect.
As a party game, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition delivers lots of fun, as there isn’t a dull mode in the bunch (save for Paint – could’ve been less predictable), and up to four local players can join in at any time. It’s also fairly balanced, so kids and adults alike stand a chance to win each round. Trophies and Achievements can also be unlocked, and additional backgrounds and tunes are also opened up as you hop along through the game.
While Pac-Man Championship Edition still has the edge with online leaderboards and additional modes, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition still makes it home without getting squashed. This is easily one of the better games in the series to date, reminding us how excellent the classic game was while, at the same time, coming through with new challenges aplenty. Jump on this game when you get a chance.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]