Frogger II: Threeedeep! (Colecovision) Review

In the past, my critics (may Allah kill them) have accused me of only reviewing games I enjoy, rather than a more balanced mix of good, bad and average. This is largely true, since it seems counterproductive to me, in this Age of Information, to tell you what games to avoid. If you’ve managed to avoid buying the Last Ninja for the past twenty years, you’re pretty much on a roll, and it seems pointless to warn you about it. If anything, I might jinx your winning streak. On the other hand, alerting you to the existence of games you’ve possibly overlooked is, if I might be so bold, a helpful public service.

But much to my dismay, my bosses at Bertelsmann AG have decreed that I review a game I’m not so fond of, and the first one that came to mind was Frogger II: Threeedeep!. As the awkward double numeric title is ineffectively trying to imply, Frogger’s second outing is three times bigger, three times more complex, and, unfortunately, a third as much fun. This time the amphibian is faced with the monumental task of navigating three distinctly different screens. Starting underwater (which, in a nod to the scientific community, is no longer lethal to frogs), you’ll proceed to the surface of the water for some familiar lilypad hopping. Finally, by hitching a ride on a highly aggressive duck, you’ll make your way up to the clouds, which is a highly existential thing for a frog to do.

Each of these different screens has it’s own set of rules. In the underwater sections, which plays pretty much like the road part of the original, a persistent current pulls you to the right. The surface of the water is more like the log jumping, but falling into the water will merely send you back to the under water screen. The cloud scene is more unique, with action taking place from a side perspective rather than top-down, thus forcing you to contend with the forces of gravity. Each of these screens has one or more goal nooks Frogger needs to reach, and you can tackle them in any order.

This all sounds good as I’m typing it, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a terrible game, but this frog shows his warts pretty quickly. The main problem is pretty basic; the game moves extremely slowly, and while it does pick up some speed as you progress, it’s tedious as hell to get to that point, and you’re likely to die from the carelessness of impatience long before that. And unlike 95% of the other Colecovision games I’ve played, there are no difficulty settings available to speed things up. You could argue that since the original Frogger is part of that minority 5%, and since Threeedeep! is a console specific title, the slow pace is appropriate, but you’d be wise not to make that argument during one of the game’s fifteen second periods of passively waiting for the next platform to slowly scroll in front of you.

If Frogger 2 serves no other purpose, it’s that it really makes you appreciate what an excellent game the original Frogger is. It’s not the brilliant concept or tight gameplay mechanics that make it a classic, since it’s sequel isn’t lacking in those departments. Rather, it’s the work and care that went into balancing and perfecting this simple yet elegant formula. With Threeedeep!, Parker Bros tried to add too much, and the all-important polish fell by the wayside. They probably should have focused on perfecting two screens, but it was still a noble effort.

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~ by Krooze L-Roy on January 10, 2009.

4 Responses to “Frogger II: Threeedeep! (Colecovision) Review”

  1. here’s an idea, genius. review a game people actually give a shit about.

  2. k

  3. Aw hale naw!

  4. Almost forgot:

    Dayam!

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