Who would’ve ever thought that a concept as simple as “crossing the street” could take off and become a phenomenon? Well, to be fair, it WAS the ‘80s; a time where games were as simple as they could be and players would play for something as ephemeral as “points.” This is the reason why the vast majority of the most popular arcade games of the time consisted of titles with simple mechanics, but that were also very difficult to master.
Frogger is among these popular & iconic games, where the objective is to take control of a daring amphibian and help it to cross a busy highway to get back to his home in the swamp. However, he must avoid speeding trucks and cars, and even other ravenous animals along the way to make it home safe and sound. This simple concept took off in the early ‘80s and made Frogger into one of the most successful games at the time, alongside other classics like Q*bert, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders, among others.
So how do you take a premise as simple as crossing the street, and make it into a hit title? Simple, you add a bunch of obstacles that zip around the screen at various speeds, some randomized elements to throw players off, and a very punishing learning curve that rewards both cautiousness as well as bold moves and proper planning.
With that being said, let’s go ahead and dive in on the intricacies of Frogger. If you ever wanted to get good and set high scores in this game, you’ve come to the right place. Read on!
Controls and Characters
Usually, we talk about the controls and characters in separate sections. However, since the controls and basic gameplay in Frogger is as simple as it can get, we’ve decided to explain them in the same section.
Gameplay-wise, Frogger is a very simplistic game; you use the control stick to move the green frog in any of the four main directions. Other than the joystick, you also have a button to choose one or two players.
The main objective in Frogger is to help our eponymous amphibian protagonist reach his home at the top of the screen. In order to reach the lily pads in his swamp home, he needs to cross a five-lane freeway full of speeding vehicles, and then make his way across various floating logs to traverse the swamp while avoiding falling in the water. As you can probably tell, the main obstacles on the freeway are the cars that are zooming by. However, the swamp also has its fair share of hazards as Frogger can run into snakes, otters, turtles, and crocodiles. He also can’t swim, making him very unique and fragile as frogs go.
Here is a list of elements that you’ll come across in Frogger:
- Vehicles: These cars populate the freeway and take away a life if they run over Frogger. They usually travel at a consistent pace, with the same spacing between the cars in front and behind them. However, once Frogger takes too long to fill all his five homes, some cars might start speeding up.
- Logs: Once Frogger reaches the swamp, he’ll need to jump from log to log to reach his lilypads. Logs are the most basic travel element in the swamp and pose no risk to Frogger as long as he doesn’t stay on top of them as they float into the sides of the screen.
- Crocodiles: Some logs might get replaced by crocodiles of a similar color. These animals function just as regular logs, but take away a life if Frogger gets too close to their mouths. If you land on a croc, make sure to stay on its body at all times.
- Turtles: Turtles are like crocs, but harmless. However, some of these animals may dive into the water. If Frogger is on their shell when this happens, he’ll lose a life.
- Snakes: Snakes, alongside otters, appear from the third round onward. They function similar to crocs and take a life if Frogger wanders too close to their mouths.
- Otters: These adorable critters are deadly in this game. They slowly swim towards logs and, once they reach them, tip one side of the log into the water. If Frogger is caught in the side of the log, he’ll lose a life. You can avoid them by jumping to the opposite side of the log.
Tips For Staying Alive and Boosting Points
Every stage in Frogger consists of helping 5 Froggers reach their lilypad homes. Once you’ve achieved this process, and filled all 5 homes, you’ll proceed onto the next stage. Not many things change between stages, other than otters and snakes appearing from round 3 onwards.
The very first part of the game consists of crossing the freeway. Luckily, barring an arbitrary speeding car, most of the vehicles cross at a consistent pace and keep a steady spacing between each of them. You can use this consistency to your advantage as it will help you to learn the pattern of cars in order to get through the freeway unscathed. There’s really not much to consider here; you have to learn the pattern and go for it.
Once you reach the middle bar, you can take a short break, but always while keeping an eye on the timer. If the timer reaches 0 at any point, you’ll lose a life. Also, keep in mind that, from level 3 onward, snakes can appear in the middle bank, which somewhat takes away from the feeling of safety. In any case, you should move onto the groups of turtles as soon as you can, taking care not to fall in the water when one of them dives. Keep in mind that you can jump from turtle to turtle in the same group.
The second row in the swamp consists of only logs. At times a purple female frog may appear on one of these logs. If you walk up to her, she’ll join you on your journey home. If you manage to reach a lilypad with the purple frog in tow, you’ll receive an extra 200 points. This is the key to maximizing your score in Frogger. However, if jumping to the female frog proves to be too dangerous, it’s better to stay safe than to risk a life for 200 extra points; you can’t set a high score if you’re dead!
There are two additional elements that we didn’t mention in the enemy list, and that can appear in the gaps between the lilypads and the uppermost row of logs. These elements can either be a small croc mouth, or a stray fly. If you jump onto a lilypad that has a fly nearby, you’ll receive an extra 200 points. However, if a croc mouth is sitting there, waiting, you’ll lose a life if you jump on the lilypad. However, if the croc mouth is only just surfacing, you can safely jump onto the lilypad. Timing is crucial for staying alive in Frogger!
Lastly, try to complete your journey to the lily pads from left to right. Since the uppermost row of logs is floating from left to right, the leftmost lilypad is the hardest to reach, while the right is the easiest. Also, never go into a lilypad that is already occupied; you lose a life if you do so. Plan your route accordingly so that you reach your desired target instead of jumpíng randomly into the first one that you come upon. Proper planning is just as important as timing in Frogger.
Also keep in mind, Frogger may soon be coming back to arcades in the form of the World’s Largest Frogger by Raw Thrills. Perhaps that is motivation to get good in case you’re rusty.
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.