Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition (360, PS3, Wii)

When I was a kid in the early 80’s, going to the arcade was a family event, and we each had our favorites. My dad would make a bee-line for Centipede, my mom would hop on over to Frogger, and I’d zip on over to the Pac-Man machine, of course. But Frogger was one of the few games to lure me away from the Pac, if only for a little bit. Now you can play yet another Frogger remake on Wii, PS3, and 360, but luckily this is a classic update done RIGHT! (360 version reviewed here).

Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition stays true to the original’s roots. You hop from the bottom of the screen to the top, avoiding cars and trucks on the road and skillfully jumping on turtles and logs on the river to make it to your home at the top of the screen. And that’s all there is to it!

There are tons of gameplay modes to choose from that center around this basic gameplay mechanic. Of course you have Classic Frogger, which plays like the old arcade game. There’s also Tile Capture, where up to four players compete to cover as much ground as they can with their colored frog. Making it to the top locks your colors in place for a while, and different colored flies give you power-ups to hinder the other players. In Battle Royale, another multiplayer game, catching Lady Frogs lets you squish the other frogs, and the last frog standing wins.

Lady Frog Rescue is like a multiplayer version of the classic game except that capturing Lady Frogs gives you tons of bonus points if you make it to the top. In Paint, a single player mode, you must color tiles to make a picture by hopping on them, all the while avoiding obstacles and not hopping out of the lines. In Twin Frogger you control two frogs at once, so you have to take extra care when hopping to the top. And finally, Frogger Freak Out is a mash up of all the different modes that you play one after the other. Multiplayer modes can be played with a single player, too, with the CPU controlling the other frogs.

Before starting a mode, you can customize how the game looks with various ‘skins.’ There’s an 8-bit skin that makes the game look similar to the old arcade’s graphics. Plus there is an updated look and a neon skin. Fans of Konami games will love that the remaining skins mimic other popular titles. One is a Castlevania skin, but you have to complete all challenges in Challenge Mode to unlock that one. There’s also a Contra skin, and to get that one you have to enter a secret code. I won’t tell you what the code is, but I’ll give you a hint. If you know about the company that makes Frogger, you probably already know “the code.” Finally, one Konami skin that is already unlocked from the beginning is one based on DDR and Karaoke Revolution. The cars and logs and turtles are replaced with DDR arrows and pitch bars, and at the bottom of the screen they show the lyrics to one of the songs in the game, so you can sing right along! What? No Rumble Roses skin? Ha ha! Just joking!

But speaking of music, one of the other impressive aspects of this game are the tunes. Most are catchy techno remixes of the classic Frogger themes, but one song in particular was very familiar to me. Back in the 80’s, a couple of crazy guys named Buckner & Garcia made a splash with their Pac-Man Fever song, which actually made it on the top Billboard list for a short while. When they released a record album, they had other songs based on classic arcade hits, like Donkey Kong and Centipede. Well, one of the other songs on there was “Froggy’s Lament,” and that song is also featured in this new game! I should know as I still have my record album signed by the artists. I was just impressed that Konami got the rights to use that song in this game!

I guess the only problem I have with this update is that it would’ve been cool to have added the original emulated arcade game, just for completionist’s sake. But other than that, this is a fantastic update and the price is right, too. Fans of old classic arcade games will definitely want to have this at their pad.

Kid Factor:

Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Cartoon Violence. Your frogs can get squished by cars and trampled by alligators, but the only visual violence is a little green splat on the ground when you get hit. Reading skill is helpful for some of the instructions and menu navigation, but the game is simple enough to figure out just by playing. Gamers both young and old can enjoy hopping around together, which makes this a great game for the whole family.

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