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V-Frogger

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V-Frogger

Vfrogger

Developer: Christopher Salomon
Publisher: Freeware
Vectrex carts
Classic Game Creations
Release Date: 1998
Genre: Action
Mode: Single player only
Media ROM file
Cartridge

OriginsEdit

The arcade game Frogger involved players guiding their frogs across a busy, several lane street, then maneuvering through a water area in the second area of the game, jumping on logs and the backs of turtles and crocodiles in order to reach and fill up the five frog home bays at the top of the screen. Various obstacles and enemies would kill the players' frogs upon contact, as well as if they were to run out of time, hit a top wall or pass too far to the left or right edges of the screen.

V-Frogger is a clone of the arcade original with some graphical changes and enhancements.

GameplayEdit

In the first area of the game, the player moves their frogs across a five lane road; colliding with a vehicle will cost them a life and the game will end if the player runs out of reserve frogs.

Once the player is able to cross the road, the second area of the screen is a swamp that they must guide their frog across by jumping on turtles, logs, and later crocodiles. Once the player is able to jump into an empty frog home at the very top, it becomes filled and the player’s frog starts at the bottom of the screen again after bonus points are awarded for time remaining and if the player captures any additional bonuses along the way in the later levels (such as allowing a female frog to jump on them and they make it to a frog home with the female, or if the player eats a fly that randomly appears in one of the empty frog home bays). Frogs will be lost if they are bitten by snakes, drown, hit the left, right, or top screen edges, try to jump into an occupied frog home or are eaten by an otter or crocodile.

If the player is able to fill up all frog bays, they earn an end level bonus and move onto the next level, which its difficulty increases with more and/or faster moving traffic, turtles start diving into the swamp (which the frog will drown if it is on a turtle), snakes and otters start appearing, as well as crocodiles that can eat the frog if the player does not jump on them in the correct spot if they are riding on them or if the majority of a crocodile is in an unoccupied frog home. Crocodiles will also start speeding up their appearances in the home bay areas and the time limit will dissipate quicker as well.

The game has 16 levels total.

Differences from originalEdit

Of course, there are changes in display, as the original arcade game wasn’t in vector. Proportionally the player’s frog is larger and the frog bays smaller, along with the traffic being viewed from the side and including bicycles and mopeds this time around. Once snakes start appearing in the middle screen strip that separates the street from the swamp areas, originally they would appear from the left side of the screen and move to the right, but on this version they start from the right and move to the left. Various sounds and animations were also changed as well (the player’s frog’s legs do not move as it jumps, for instance), along with some levels.

The game also has several brief cinematics as well that the original did not, such as whenever the frog makes it to a home bay, dies or advances to another level, the frog will morph into a gravestone and the reason for the player’s death is stated onscreen for the latter. There are also messages displayed for when certain bonuses are earned, such as when the player earns an extra life, they catch a fly or safely transport a female frog home.

V-Frogger also has continuances, which the original arcade game did not, but the game is for one player only, rather than up to two players alternating like on the original. There is also no in-game music, due to the Vectrex only having a single microprocessor, but in between lives, levels, and with each time the player gets a frog home, a few bars of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” will play.

ControlsEdit

  • Start game/skip cutscene–any button
  • Move frogger–joystick or D-pad
  • Pause–button 4
  • Resume game (/cancel pause)–buttons 1-3

ScoringEdit

  • Forward hop–10 points (first time only)
  • Time bonus–10 points x remaining tics
  • Catch fly–200 points
  • Save girl frog–200 points
  • Complete level–500 points
  • Extra frog–10,000 and every multiple of thereafter if the player gets the current frog home (see below section)

Notes/triviaEdit

  • Not long after Frogger was released, the similar Freeway game (of the first stage only, of crossing a busy street) came out for the Atari 2600. Programmer David Crane said that he was unaware of Frogger, getting the idea for his game one day when he looked out his office window and saw a man trying to cross a freeway. The game was originally called Bloody Human Freeway, having humans that would leave a bloody mark on the pavement if they got hit by a car, but they were later changed into chickens, making a comical sound when being struck by cars.
  • Although the game title, box and cartridge label is V-Frogger, it reads “Vectrex Frogger” after the bootup screen is shown.
  • Due to Vectrex material being public domain, the title screen music of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was reused, as well as the brief musical piece in between lives and levels in Clean Sweep during the continue screen.
  • In the attract mode, the screen display gives several shout-outs to the programmer's stuffed pet animals[1], along with showing the programmer’s cursive Chris signature, which was also seen in Moon Lander. The extended version of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is also played during the sequence (rather than only a few bars during the actual game).
  • The pause screen shows the player’s score, frogs remaining, and the current level they are on.
  • The instructions claim the player will receive an extra frog with every 10,000 points; however, if 10,000 or a multiple thereof is scored in the middle of a level, the player will not receive that extra frog unless they are able to place that frog successfully into a frog bay. If the player loses their last frog, the game will end, even if they earned enough points for an extra life.
  • The game was originally available through the Vectrex carts site but is now available through Classic Game Creations.

LinksEdit

ReviewEdit

Well, of course there’s no point in going over V-Frogger; anyone who’s old enough to know the Vectrex knows what the hell this game is, as you just help your frog cross the road (and the swamp) to get to the other side.

I really liked the graphics on this one, and one thing that keeps you going is that you want to see what’s next, as there weren’t mopeds on the original, plus the crocodiles didn’t snap their jaws in the home bays either like they do on here.

This is one of the very few games where I felt it actually outclassed the original, as the cinematics really add to the game, in my opinion (even though they’re brief). And this is coming from a disgruntled Sega CD owner who quickly learned that cinemas don’t necessarily make a good game (which was about the time those started appearing, during the 16-bit era), like with quite a few titles for that system didn’t make the games any better than the ones that were found on the Sega Genesis.

There’s only a few very minor problems with this, especially for the purists who might want a two player option like on the original. I found the controls to be a bit over-sensitive at times, but then, I mostly use a modern converted Genesis controller; the original Vectrex controller might fare better. Mine’s pretty much “retired”, so I can’t really say; I first played this game on the Sean Kelly Multicart at a gaming expo the previous year and it seemed fine with the original controller. And there’s been plenty of times where I died, as the left and right screen borders aren’t well-defined, as I thought I would make it right when I tried to jumped elsewhere, but no. Luckily the collision detection is a bit more forgiving when you can squeeze your frog into a home bay though, practically scraping/fudging your way by a wall.

Still though, this is an absolutely great clone, and this is coming from someone who thought they would never get it! I don’t have a problem with this mega-classic, but I got sick of this game years ago. And yes, it’s BEEN at gaming expos and I’ve passed it by; I just don’t care for it any more. However, playing this on an emulator and then for real sold me. And even though it’s price is real cheap, you don’t even have to buy the thing anyway, as it can just be downloaded to play on an emulator or on a multicart, and I don’t feel the unlimited continues hurts the game any either.

And I think that says a lot, especially since this is one of the highest ratings I’m giving for a Vectrex game that I’ve reviewed yet. And a Vectrex is a far less pain to have to drag across the street than the original, like how George Costanza found out during that one Seinfeld episode. 8.5/10

(Review by Darrylb500)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Good Deal Games interview with Salomon

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