If there is one thing the gaming community is always clamoring about, it's more remakes of once classic games beaten into the ground by countless sequels and rip-offs. Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge, though, doesn't really deserve to be included in this category as it's obvious the designers put a great deal of effort into modernizing the atmosphere of the original Frogger, rather than making a good-looking game with absolutely no substance.
To Blitz Games' credit, gameplay is not changed so as to make it unrecognizable. In fact, not only do you still hop around but you do so on actual visible platforms, a common sense decision which keeps it from turning into yet another 3D free-for-all jumping game. Changing the basic gameplay would have immediately removed the essence of timing jumps that was so important in the original game.
The fact that Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge sticks so closely to the gameplay and style of the early '80s version is cause for celebration. The graphics are modernized with all the flash and bang of an elaborate 3D game production using the latest accelerator cards but do not interfere with the original Frogger concept. Like any good remake, it merely re-creates the original using a modern look and updated play while simultaneously fulfilling nostalgic and gameplay values.
Even the interface is leap-based as Frogger bounds around the menu screen in order to select options or start the game, with several secret areas to leap into once you do enough in-game hopping. The main mode is a series of levels connected by animated cut-scenes between each one, a type of story mode. Levels consist of eating insects, avoiding sharp objects and finding your offspring as you alternate between Froggy and his friend Lilly Frog.
Gameplay is deceptively simplistic. More often than not, it appears you have plenty of room to make a jump but, unfortunately, this isn't always the case, which dooms you to a quick death. This, indeed, is the only glaring flaw of Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge and is a definite frustration factor. There is no continue option but you can begin anew from the main menu at the last level played.
Something to keep in mind while playing the game is the mantra "If it moves, it will kill you." With the exception of the relatively harmless butterflies and their ilk, everything you see is out to smash, slice, dice, crush or eat you. And, more importantly, if you do not survive to save all of your babies from the evil Swampy the Alligator and his countless cronies (hedgehog, bumblebee or rat), then who will?
The updated graphics are adequate enough to fit the bill even though a bit cute and cartoon-like. The music, however, is excellent and enhances the ambiance of the game. From the very first upbeat song on the main menu screen, Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge soundtrack seems entirely too appropriate for the relative inanity of a frog hopping around the world, trying to save hundreds of babies. Nothing stimulates the "tile jumping" section of your brain like a throbbing bass line.
The overall vibe generated by Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge is positive, one of a software company really liking a classic game and wanting to do all they can to make it better. What more can you ask for in a remake?
Graphics: While the game hardly breaks any new ground with its polygonal characters or overall art design, there is no doubt that the look simply works. The backgrounds are magnificently vibrant cartoon-like environments and the moving polygonal creatures look good.
Sound: One of the definite high points of the title, the music holds its own with the best songs from other games and always provides an extra bit of enjoyment while playing. The ambient sound effects for the game's various environments are also quite appropriate as well as realistic.
Enjoyment: There is something to be said for the elegant playability of simplistic games like the original Frogger and that very same simple joy is recreated in a modern way in Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge. Nothing is quite so soothing after a hard day at school or work than mindlessly hopping a frog around a swamp, looking for your lost offspring. That is, until you die over and over again in the same place.
Replay Value: As with just about any game where collecting certain hard-to-get items opens up secret modes and characters, there is certainly a good deal of replay value present in this game, though it doesn't seem quite as much fun the second time you play through it.
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