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|Rating:||4 out of 5|
With a game as infectious as Frogger there's no real need for detailed graphics. The game play is center stage. Despite the limited capability of the Atari 2600 to replicate most arcade games, Frogger is one in which only the mechanics need be present and this version has them all!
Your frog has 5 lanes of traffic and 5 water-born logs and such to traverse until he gets safely to home base on a lily pad. Along the way you'll find an assortment of vehicular traffic including cars and trucks and a river full of nasties eager to take your life as you hop about.
If you're wondering why we'd have a section dedicated to the joystick controls, read our Frogger for Atari 5200 review to see how the controls were mis-handled in that release. For the Atari 2600 when you move the joystick, your frog will make one leap in that direction. Each leap requires an nudge of the joystick in the desired direction. There are game variations in which you can hold the joystick in position and your frog will continuously hop that direction. Dont forget going backwards can be life saving, but watch your time!
Frogger's arcade controls lend nicely to the working of the 2600 and don't get muddled in translation as on the 5200 release.
The theme music only plays before and after your frog's journey. I get horribly impatient and wonder why I can't move my fucking frog. You have to wait for the music to stop, then you gain control. There are 6 game options with 3 for single player and 3 for 2-player games. The higher the game number the more difficult the game becomes.
You start out on the sidewalk with 5 lives and 30 seconds to get to one of the home bays which are lily pads in frog vernacular. You can take a breather on the river bank as you plot your course, but don't dawdle - that 30 seconds is clocking down in a bar on the lower right of the screen. At 5 seconds you'll hear a warning and the bar turns red.
The highway (or freeway as some of you insist) is pretty straight forward - don't get hit and don't jump sideways into any part of a vehicle. The river has a few extra rules. Frogs can jump from log to log at will. Turtles serve the same purpose but occasionally they dive under water, so your frog can only safely ride on red turtles. Turtles sometimes turn blue indicating that they will soon dive under water and take your frog's life in the process.
As you hop along you may see a sexy white frog on a log and be inclined to meet her. This is a good idea as she will hop on your back (insert sexual innuendo here) and can be carried to Frogger's home for bonus points and wart-inducing sexual antics.
Alligators and snakes can both save and/or devour your frog. He can ride on the back of either as long as he doesn't move to close to their mouths. Frogger can ride safely on these reptiles as long as he stays on their backs or tails.
When jumping into a home bay, Frogger may only enter an empty one. Previous successes leave a frog icon in the bay - no duplicates. You may see either an alligator head or a fly in the bay. An alligator indicates danger and you can't enter that bay until he leaves. The fly, however, is a bonus meal that will garner protein and bonus points.
Those little switches were a marvel for the adaptability of 2600 games and Frogger makes great use of them. In position "A" you will lose a life if your frog sails off the edge of the screen on a floating object like a log, turtle, raft, cruise ship or hydrofoil. The "B" position is more forgiving and will let your frog wrap around the screen while on a floating object. However, don't get too carries away an assume you can hop, leap or pole vault off the edge of the scree - you can't. Your frog will perish.
This is a great game with nostalgia to boot and should be part of your Atari 2600 game library!
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