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PS2 Review - 'Frogger's Adventures: The Rescue'

by Hank on Dec. 13, 2003 @ 2:50 a.m. PST

Frogger's Adventures The Rescue goes beyond Firefly Swamp and brings a multiplayer mode to Frogger fans for the first time on next generation platforms. The series' famous "hop-n-dodge" gameplay return as Frogger travels across seven diverse worlds, searches for clues to solve challenging puzzles and avoids menacing enemies.

Genre: Action
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release Date: October 28, 2003

Do you remember back in the day when the 386 processor was top of the line and when switching on the "turbo" button gave the CPU an extra boast? If so, then you'll also remember when all games fit on a few 5 ΒΌ disks and only ran in EGA mode. Ahh, those were the days. If you're now sighing with nostalgia, then you have probably played some of the gaming classics. I personally loved Sierra's Police and King's Quest series, but it's a good bet that most people have played good ol' Frogger. It seems that we just can't let go of this legendary game, and developers have brought out yet another version. The first Frogger was out in arcades in 1981 and has slowly evolved from its pixelated format into the new and improved version, with 3D graphics and sound. The big question is, does Konami's newest installment, "Frogger's Adventures: The Rescue" still give us the same old Frogger feel?

Like its predecessors, the main objective is still the same: make it safely to the endpoint without running into any obstacles. However, these aren't the obstacles of yore and actually include new enemies and different types of traps. Be careful, or else you may become someone's main course.

There are assortments of levels that make up a stage, and within each stage, the traps and enemies differ. The traps are the usual harmful items that even you would avoid in real life, like electricity shocks, flames, spikes, and many more. One thing that has always boggled me is why a frog is afraid of water. They were born in the water, so you would think that they would jump in once in a while. It's this kind of thinking that resulted in me dying a lot, a sad victim of the water in the earlier levels.

To ensure that you don't die as much as I did, make sure that you fully understand the controls before you play, or you won't be able to pass the tutorial. Since the levels are in 3D, the developers have tried to add some depth perception (different height levels). Because of this, you may think that it is necessary to jump when it truly isn't. I've done this several times because I felt that there was no possibility to just step up to that height, but after going through the same spot several times, you will eventually remember what you should do at those points. Even with several plays, one thing that really bothers me is the moving jumps.

Moving jumps are probably the worst part of this game, since the timing is extremely crucial and is probably one of the hardest tasks to complete. It wouldn't have been so bad if Konami took the care and repositioned your character on the platform when you clipped it and should have landed on it. You don't know how many times I've had to repeat the task, knowing I was definitely on the platform. If these moving platforms don't get on your nerves, then the puzzles will.

Every level has its own set of puzzles and tricks that you must complete, and the difficulty progresses as you advance through the game. Some solutions are quite obvious, while others will have you pondering about what to do. They have kept the basic essence of Frogger by making you wait patiently to observe the formation in which the enemies run so you can time it perfectly and make it safely across. To make the game slightly different from its predecessors, however, they have implemented … the tongue. This time around, the tongue is very crucial in completing the missions, as you will be using it to push things around and grapple onto objects in order to swing across obstacles that you could not get over with the super hop.

Once you have gotten past the stages, Frogger has implemented bosses, for the first time, I believe. I can't say for certain since I have not played the previous versions, other than the very first release, but the bosses are definitely interesting matches. Like the levels, you must use all of your Frogger skills to stay alive and complete the puzzle. Boss battles will have you dodging items while trying to complete the puzzle, and each boss has a certain weak point that you must use to your advantage. The worst one for me was probably the mirror battle, which took me a good 20 minutes to figure out. Other than this last battle, the other boss battles are actually quite enjoyable.

The heart - and most enjoyable part - of the game probably lies within multiplayer mode. Beating on your fellow opponents is always a great thing. The multiplayer games available are Rapid Race, Conveyor, Collapse, Panel Puzzle, Musical Pads, It's A-Maze-ing, Countdown, and Coin Collecting. Rapid Race is where you try to beat your opponents to the finish line, Conveyor is where you try to stay alive and gain as many points as possible from the conveyor belts, and Collapse is where the ground beneath you crumbles and you try to be the last frog standing. In Panel Puzzle, you try to complete the picture of Frogger or Lily's face, Musical Pads is much like musical chairs, It's A-Maze-ing has you trying to finish the maze before the rest, Countdown is where you try to time the countdown to 0 in your mind and the person closest wins, and lastly, Coin Collecting is where the person who collects the most coins within a specified time limit wins. You can play all of these games with up to four people.

The game itself has fairly nice graphics, with the only downside being the depth perception problems, as mentioned earlier. Other than that, the graphics are mainly focused for the younger gamers but can still be enjoyable for the older ones as well. Especially enjoyable are the cut scenes, which tell the story about why you are on this rescue mission to rescue members of F.I.R.S.T (Frog International Rescue Support Team) who have been capture by T.R.I.P (Tyrannical Reptiles in Power). These scenes may be really nice, but the actual game's background isn't nearly as graphically detailed and seems to belong to a cartoon like Pokemon, which is somewhat fitting for this type of game.

The music in the game isn't all that great and doesn't leave much of an impression. Each level does have its own background music, but since you will be more focused on finishing the objective, the music is hardly noticeable. Probably the only music you will really hear would be the voice acting because the voices will inform you on how to finish the more complex puzzles and give you an overview of the story within the cut scenes. The voices are perfectly matched for their characters, and Konami deserves props for matching the voice actors to their respective characters.

Overall, this game is fairly fun, especially when you can pass the levels. The game gets a bit frustrating when you know for certain that you should have landed the jump, and the controls and 3D perception could have used some fine-tuning. I would love to see Konami fix these minor changes and hope to see a more improved version for their next installment. For you Frogger fans, the game does stay true to the original game, with a few tweaks here and there. I would say to give it a shot, and you might enjoy it.

Score: 7.7/10

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