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Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Frogger

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bill-swift - April 30, 2014

The golden era of chunky-ass arcade cabinets was a vicious time. It was all about tiny blurtastic spaceships blasting the balls off of tiny blurtastic aliens. And, y'know, Pac-Man. But when it came to toontastic cutesiness, it... well, it didn't. Not until 1981, at any rate.

This was the year of Frogger. Animal rights guys haven't been so outraged by a game since Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag let you stab sharks in the ass with a harpoon. If you've ventured into this decrepit arcade release before, you know what's coming. This little green bastard is about to have a bad day.

You control the intrepid amphibian, who is trying to reach his watery home. To do so, he'll first have to navigate a road full of big ol' metal cars of furious wheeled fury. If you've seen the amount of roadkill on the average highway, you'll know that the little dude will need all the effing help he can get. Even after that, because our slimy friend just can't catch a break, there's a river of freaking crocodiles to traverse.

It's a tall order, as you can see, but the controls are simple enough. All you use is a spangly four-way joystick, with which you ‘aim' the frog's jumps. You begin with a set number of lives, which are lost via collisions with speeding SUVs or the angry, bitey mouth of a crocodile. Just to take the piss, a tiny skull and crossbones will appear on the stage to mark the location of your screw-up/splattery death.

Well, damn. The world is a dangerous place.

Having made it across the road, there's a small safe area, in which you decide how to approach the river. This half of the level is just as treacherous; our hero is one of those rare can't effing swim frogs and will instantly die if he falls in the water. To make matters even suckier, many of your stepping stones are turtles. These dudes don't appreciate some ass jumping on their backs, and will quickly submerge to teach you a rather drown-y lesson. So move fast.

To pass to the next stage, you'll have to transport five of them to the goal area with their slimy hides intact. Along the way, more adept frog-wranglers can collect bugs and such for score bonuses. Like all the best arcade games, Frogger is accessible enough but a real bitch to master. Along with its charm and originality, this is surely why it is still so well-regarded.

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