Not too long after the release of the hyper-stylized Pac-Man Championship Edition on XBLA and the PSN, other arcade favorites started to receive the energetic overhaul. Galaga, the wave based space shooter was next in line and although it didn’t receive the same acclaim that Pac-Man did, it was still an interesting rejuvenation for an aging game. After the success of those re-tuned arcade games, it was only a matter of time before other companies started to jump on the neon bandwagon. The most recent title to hop on is the retro arcade monster hit Frogger, with Konami releasing Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition.
Frogger has been around since –what feels like—the beginning of time, and has been available on just about every platform imaginable in one form or another—including a couple already available on Xbox Live Arcade. Its gameplay is simple and straightforward making it a game that anyone of any age can pick up and play. With the new Hyper Arcade Edition, Frogger keeps the same classic gameplay while adding a few new modes to help switch things up a bit and add some longevity to it, but sadly even a game as classic as this still has its issues—even in this day and age.
The controls given to direct your little frog are “retro” style where you only move one space at a time or the “hyper” style where you can hold down one direction to continuously move. You are also given the option of using the D-Pad and the analog stick for movement, as well as the 4 face buttons to make the intended direction less indisputed.
While everything Frogger does is what you would expect, there were more than a few times where I had issues getting the frog into his home without incident. I would have the frog lined up with the lily pad at the far side, only to have my frog explode when it leapt for it. Even when it was perfectly lined up, it would inexplicably die with a rage-inducing “DUN DUN”. Happening once or twice? Sure; possibly my fault. More than that however gets to be very frustrating.
To help spice things up a little, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition adds some visual flare and graphical choices to help mix things up. The “8-Bit” visuals are a 3D Dot Game Heroes style, with three dimensional pixels that shatter apart when hit, while the “Next-Gen” graphics are shaded with a more realistic vibe; flowing water and modeled cars. The remaining visual options include themes from various other Konami games such as Contra, CastleVania (which you need to perform the Konami code to unlock), and Dance Dance Revolution.
The “Hyper” selection of visuals gives it the neon-lined glowing look that the updated games are known for, but sadly, it doesn’t do much for Frogger. In addition to the various visual options, you can also choose the music for each game, but no matter which tune you decide on, hearing the same song play over and over –even if it is Buckner and Garcia’s “Froggy’s Lament” –is enough to make you opt for music of your own.
In addition to the classic game mode, there are 6 new versions of gameplay that put a twist on the original hop-across-traffic version, and many of them are made for local multiplayer matches. Tile Capture has players trying to cover as much of the board in their colors as they can, where Lady Frog Rescue pits players against each other to see who can save the most female frogs on the board.
Most of the additional modes are fun at first, but once the initial kick is over, you’ll likely find yourself returning to the classic mode. There is a mode called “Twin Frogger” where you not only control your frog, but also another frog beside you at the same time. It is brutally difficult and oddly enough, very addicting.
Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition is the classic Frogger that we all know and love, but it’s not without its faults. The alternate modes definitely make for some fun times with friends but sadly it’s just not going to keep your attention long. The classic mode will have you returning to it, but only to play old-school Frogger, not because the Hyper version added anything worthwhile or all that outstanding to revamp its gameplay. It seems that Zombie Studios missed the point in that creating a new “Hyper Edition” is more than just pretty neon graphics, but requires some new gameplay features to make the core game stand out as something new and fresh–not just throwing out different modes to see what works.
Title: Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition