frogger game
  • Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatAmstrad CPC
DeveloperRichard Wilson
ReviewFrank and Shaun C.

Main review

1981… a year to remember certainly for me, since I popped out into the world for the first time during it. A little bit before then when I was still not formed enough to even hold an Atari joystick, the classic Frogger was released by Konami in the arcades and caused a bit of a storm. It’s frenetic pace and addictive, easy to pick up gameplay drew in millions of fans – so much so that in modern times it’s become one of the most popular Live Arcade games for Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Over the years there have been many clones for home computers, from Froggy to Frog Run to Frogga… the list goes on. Each and every one had a slightly different look and feel and was kind of Frogger, but not really a patch on the arcade original (I still have nightmares about Hoppit! on the VIC 20!). However, recently we have been treated to some conversions which have been very close to the arcade original including Frogger ’07 on the VIC 20 which was recently given the once over by Oldschool Gaming, and the next in line for the same treatment was the Amstrad CPC Plus (the later version of the hardware with the extra horse power) with its own implementation…

When first picking up the title, I was expecting something close, but not quite like the arcade – which is fair enough, and not a bad thing. But the CPC Plus was set to deliver a rather large shock to the system… upon loading up Frogger, you are greeted with a nice colourful title screen displaying some of the key options for the game, and when you insert some virtual coins and start the game, in “Short Circuit” style something wonderful happens! The CPC mutates into a 1981 Konami arcade machine! I kid thee not, not only does it look spot on graphically to the original, it sounds almost identical and plays close to exactly the bloody same as the original!

What is going on?? Had someone tampered with the emulator so that it runs a MAME ROM sneakily in the background? Nope, this is in fact one of the most perfect arcade conversions I have ever seen – so much so that I’m still blinking and rubbing my eyes in astonishment! Well, the fact that it is a CPC Plus game helps things slightly with the various graphical hardware enhancements, and the power of the machine shows through the accuracy of this conversion. According to Jason, this is actually one of the first games since the 1990’s to make use of the under used capabilities of the souped up machine.

Frogger on the CPC Plus is brilliant and I cannot believe how this has slipped under the radar (seeing as it was released last year). I could try and pick apart the game and tell you how it doesn’t quite match the arcade and how it fails, but I seriously can’t – even the screen dimensions seem to replicate the arcade machine perfectly, as well as the colours. If you want to be really picky, it is only the case of a few of the sound effects or the tunes being slightly on a different pitch or using an alternative instrument (due to the differing sound chips used for both machines), but overall there is hardly any difference at all; it plays a cracking game too, retaining all of the qualities which made the arcade the hit it is.

There honestly isn’t much else to say, if I did, I’d be reviewing the arcade machine! If you love Frogger, then no doubt you will love this game. Amstrad users have been well and truly spoilt with this work of art, and it shows what a shame it is that the CPC Plus wasn’t utilized more thoroughly back in the day. One suggestion to the developer… a Scramble conversion would be extremely welcome! Very highly recommended, and free of charge as a bonus too!

Second opinion

When I was a kid, arcade conversions always held a special attraction. It wasn’t just the promise of being able to endlessly play at home a game you would otherwise have to feed coins into; there was also something fascinating about trying to capture the essence of the arcade original on a lower specification machine. Would the conversion successfully replicate the original gameplay, albeit it with less fancy graphics and a few frills missing, or would it be a pale imitation with all the life sucked from it? And always, the ultimate goal, the Holy Grail, was the Arcade Perfect Conversion – a goal that for many years seemed as elusive as it was desirable.

Even in this age of arcade emulators, I still find it hard to resist a well-made conversion which is why this version of Frogger, a 2007 conversion of a 1981 game for a system released in 1990, is pleasantly appealing. Not only is it a solid game in its own right, but it almost reaches that goal of being arcade perfect. Hold on a second… almost? It looks the same, it sounds the same (right down to the “vroom” of the speeding cars) and even the attract mode plays out the same … so why “almost”? Well, the difference is in the speed. This version of the venerable road-crossing, river-hopping game appears to faithfully recreate every last detail of the arcade original except it does so at fifty frames per second instead of the original’s sixty, which means that the game plays a little slower (about 16.6% slower, detail fans).

“OK, Mr Nitpicky,” you might say, “Is that a problem, then?” Not for me, no. However, if you’re some kind of Frogger professional – the type with a special fingerless leather glove and a Frogger logo on your baseball cap – you might turn your nose up at the slightly slower speed. In my case, however, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the difference if I hadn’t been jumping back and forth between this version and the arcade original to see how they compared. The fact is that everything still nips along at a speedy pace without any hiccups and more to the point is such a faithful conversion in all other respects that it’s easy to forget you’re not playing the original. You’ll encounter the same highs as you cheat death and escort lady frogs home, and the same lows as you swear blind that no way did that car hit you!

In the end, regardless of whether it’s the Holy Grail or just a very nice grail indeed, this release offers plenty of fun for Frogger fans, and also serves as a nice demonstration of what can be achieved with the advanced capabilities of the CPC Plus.