Frogger (Xbox 360) review
"Now when you start out onto the highway and you press ‘up’ on the controller, the frog immediately springs forth from the curb and dives into the adventure. When you press ‘left’ he doesn’t drift up into a truck in the next lane. Instead, he actually moves in the direction you specified! That’s a good improvement."
If I had reviewed Frogger when it was released to the Xbox Live Arcade a few months ago, I would’ve given it a lower score than I am now. This is for one very important reason: a few months ago, there wasn’t a downloadable patch available. Crossing the road and the stream was a pain in the ass, and not particularly fun. Now it is.
You might wonder how a game about darting through streams of traffic, then hopping along floating logs, lily pads and alligators could possibly benefit from a patch. Isn’t Frogger a simple arcade game at heart? Isn’t its gameplay so inherently simple that a patch shouldn’t even be necessary? Well, yes. And yes. The thing is, the Xbox 360 controller and emulation don’t always agree with one another, and that’s what kept Frogger from greatness when it launched.
The problems weren’t particularly large in number. Really, the hit detection was a bit off and the controls seemed a bit unresponsive. It doesn’t sound so bad on the surface. However, consider for a moment how that will affect a game where it’s important that your timing be precise right down to the split-second, where an unexpected brush with the edge of a hit field is fatal. Think about that for a minute, and what you’re left with is a flat green blob that once was a frog.
One patch fixes all of that.
Now when you start out onto the highway and you press ‘up’ on the controller, the frog immediately springs forth from the curb and dives into the adventure. When you press ‘left’ he doesn’t drift up into a truck in the next lane. Instead, he actually moves in the direction you specified! That’s a good improvement.
The responsive frog now stands a much better chance of making it halfway through a given stage, which is where more Frogger problems arose pre-patch. It was far too simple to hop on a log and see your little character land perfectly on-screen, then to lose a life because the game didn’t think you made the jump well at all. It wasn’t fun when that happened before, and more importantly, it didn’t feel true to the experience I remembered from playing the game as a child. So I was glad to see that fixed.
Now, some of you might be worried, thinking that the game was arcade-perfect before and that they’ve dumbed it down to appeal to a whiny audience of modern gamers. That’s not the case, though. Frogger is still the brutal game you remember. It can still rip your limbs off and ship them to a seafood restaurant faster than you can say “But I almost made it to level four!” George Castanza would feel every bit as much at home playing this game as he did when he played the one at the pizza parlor, and he’d play it every bit as long.
That’s because Frogger is a classic for a reason. No matter how long you last on your first attempt, there’ll be that nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you that you can do better. That’s what kept people pumping quarters into the machine back in the day, and it’s what will keep you starting “just one more game” here in the 21st century. And if that wasn’t enough, well, there are also the Achievements to consider. As always, you get most of your points from doing things like reaching the higher levels. There are also more creative challenges, though. One asks you to occupy the holes at the top of the screen from the right to the left, meaning that those who were used to playing on-the-fly will now have to make more considered moves. Others ask you to clear stages within a given time limit. There’s nothing here that re-invents the wheel, but there are enough ways to play (and boost your gamerscore) that you’ll get your money’s worth.
I’m glad Konami cared enough to release the patch. Frogger always had the potential to be a great Xbox Live title, but it almost wasn’t. That would’ve been unfair to the amphibious hero and to anyone who spent the $5.00 to download his game. I’d personally like to see games like this get released properly the first time, but a patch isn’t out of the question if it makes the game. This one did.
Staff review by Jason Venter (September 21, 2006)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
If you enjoyed this Frogger review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!