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Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition (Xbox 360) artwork

Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition (Xbox 360) review

"Since there's two Frogger titles already available on Xbox Live's Arcade marketplace, something unique had to happen with this third game reaching the service."

Since there's two Frogger titles already available on Xbox Live's Arcade marketplace, something unique had to happen with this third game reaching the service. Clearly taking a page from Namco's Pac-Man Championship Edition releases, the development team injected all sorts of interesting-sounding game modes and quirky visualizations with Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition. When I realized this was what the devs were aiming for, I was pumped, because the new modes and gameplay adjustments breathe new life into the oldschool Pac-Man formula. While I'm not exactly a huge fan of Frogger, I respect its increasingly demanding difficulty over the simplistic goal of navigating a frog across a busy highway, over a dangerous river, and eventually to one of five home spots. With 800 MS points exhausted from my account, I was eager to see what interpretations this latest incarnation offered.

I should have known something was up, though, as my first impression of the game was somewhat awkward. After making it through the opening logos and title screen where a tune that sounded too close to Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger played, I was at the menu screen feeling disoriented. The problem was that it really felt like there was no clear indication of what was the main draw of Hyper Arcade Edition, as if the developers just placed the modes in the most random order possible; something called Tile Capture is the first thing selected, while others like Classic Frogger and Frogger Freak Out (a mashup of all modes) were hidden in the background.

So I went ahead and picked Tile Capture, thinking it was going to be huge. It wasn't. A multiplayer session where you play against three other players or bots, the goal is to hop across as much of the map as possible, covering the floor with tiles of your frog's color. Power-ups inhabit the neon-style playing field, as well, which range from abilities that freeze other frogs, to warping them to other locations. While Tile Capture is entertaining, it ends rather quickly, and certainly not something I'd place first on the menu. The same issue applies with the other two multiplayer modes, Battle Royale and Lady Frog Rescue, which are really basic and end in a heartbeat. Both, sadly, don't stack up to Tile Capture's fun, as BR is a broken mess that's based solely on luck due to random appearances of a destructive weapon and power-ups, and LFR simply asks competitors to pick up female frogs and bring them home. A very bizarre choice, too, is the absence of an online component. While these are pretty simple modes, they had the most potential with replay value, having the option to battle against randoms around the world. I guess Konami just assumes you have three real-life friends that really want to play Frogger.

This left the five single-player modes a chance to carry the weight. Unfortunately, they're a hit and miss bunch.

Paint mode showed some prospect, tasking players to walk over tiles on maps with limited freedom. Dare move your frog outside the safety zone, and watch the poor thing explode. Tile Capture with restrictions, basically. The disappointing aspect of this mode is how absurdly generic most of the tile layouts are, barely offering any excitement or danger as you dodge traffic. And there's not even that many stages, totaling at 25 maps that can be done in under 20 minutes. There's no true incentive to come back, either, since it's just plain boring, almost like... watching paint dry. Challenges mode also showed promise, making gamers perform objectives, like gathering a specific number of points, to capturing several female frogs on higher difficulties. If you've played Frogger, you know this is harder than it sounds, what with the aggressive traffic flow and time limit. I'll give Challenges credit for actually forcing me to memorize patterns, instead of believing I can finish each challenge in one go. Sadly, it falls into the same trap as Paint, only presenting 20 challenges. It really felt like I got blueballed with these two, as they were the ones that had the biggest opportunity to be the most robust.

Insanely, this really leaves two remaining modes where people can keep coming back to: Classic Frogger and Twin Frogger. They both play exactly how they sound like, with the latter spacing the two frogs farther from each other in later levels. However, you can't even get a proper experience from these two thanks to irritating nuisances that crop up! Hyper Arcade Edition has a horrible tendency to freeze for a second during gameplay, normally because you grabbed a female frog for the first time or landed on a home spot that had a bonus fly on it. This also extends to certain map skins or higher difficulty levels when specific traffic elements appear. What's truly terribad is how everything on the field warps a little to the left or right, causing unpredictable deaths. This really makes a couple modes more trouble than they're worth, and I actually ended up cursing and yelling out loud because of numerous robbed victories. Don't even get me started on the flimsy traffic hit detection...

Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition was something that sounded foolproof, yet to my utter amazement, the developers managed to make a trainwreck. There's soooooo much untapped potential in this product, like online multiplayer, a hell of a lot more stages, and much needed creative thinking. Instead, we get a half-assed title featuring game-breaking flaws. And don't let the fanservice entice you! There's themed map skins including characters from Castlevania and Contra, but they don't offer any genuine changes to the mechanics. It's all for laughs. You also get a selection of music, some are remixes that go wubwubwubwubwub, and there's even Froggy's Lament to serenade long time fans. But for a better Frogger experience, just get the original at 400 MS points. At least you won't be cursing up a storm after placing frogs in six homes on level five, only to be royally screwed over by a freeze on the last home thanks to a stupid fly.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (July 24, 2012)

Played Wizards & Warriors on a whim with no intention to review it. However, the ridiculousness that ensued compelled me to write one...

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zippdementia posted July 24, 2012:

Hah, I wasn't sure how you were going to keep my interest with a Frogger review but your clear disappointment was very entertaining and your points extremely well made!

Paint mode showed some prospect, tasking players to walk over tiles on maps with limited freedom. Dare move your frog outside the safety zone, and watch the poor thing explode...

Why is it called paint mode? Aside from the paint drying joke...
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pickhut posted July 24, 2012:

It was trying to be clever. It's basically Tile Capture mode with limited freedom. Maybe I should add something in to be more clear.

Thanks for reading, too! This was suppose to be a short review, a breather after all those Dead Rising reviews. But then I played the game...

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