Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge (DC) Review – Good Classic Arcade Action

Another review from 2012!  This is a good game, and the review was mostly good as-is too.  I did improve a few parts and get new screenshots, but that’s about it.

  • Title: Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge
  • Developer: Blitz Games
  • Publisher: Hasbro Interactive
  • Released: 2000 (US only)
  • Also available on PC (2000, US only) and Playstation [PS1] (2000, US/EU)
  • Review originally written in 2012; improved for posting on this site on 9/11/2014

DC cover

In the late ’90s to early ’00s, Hasbro and a few other companies including Activision got made some new titles in classic first and second-gen game series like Pong, Centipede, and Frogger after getting the rights to those classic games.  Opinions on these games in restrospect seem to often be mediocre, but I got and always liked the Centipede remake from Hasbro, and have liked most of their other ones I’ve played too, including Frogger 2, Missile Command, Pong: The Next Level, and Q*Bert.  Activision’s Space Invaders is fun, though I haven’t played Asteroids.  The only one I disliked really was Frogger, the first one, but I haven’t played too much of it.  These late ’90s to early ’00s classic reboots are good games!  I like most of them, and they are absolutely worth checking out.

On that note, though reviews for the first Frogger remake (released on PC and PSX in about 1997) weren’t great, it clearly sold well, because its success inspired Hasbro to make many more classic remakes.  Several years later, Hasbro made a sequel to the game, Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge.  It was released on PC, Playstation, and Dreamcast.  A handheld title for the GBC, called simply Frogger 2, was also made; Frogger 1 for GB and GBC is a port of the arcade original, not a new title, but the second one is entirely new.  I will review that game separately.  The two games both released in 2000. I don’t remember hearing a lot about the games, though I think they got okay reviews. However, when I got Frogger 2 for Dreamcast in 2011 or so, my expectations weren’t especially high; sure, I’d liked some of Hasbro’s remakes, but I remembered the poor reviews of their Frogger 1… so, well, let’s just say that the game far exceeded my expectations. Frogger 2 has some issues, certainly, but is a pretty good game overall.

PC?

Maybe the PC version? DC looks the same other than resolution, though.

Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge is, like the first new Frogger game before it, a 3d arcade-style platform/action game with Frogger-inspired gameplay. This game is hugely improved over the first one. I find it interesting how much it feels like the classic original title — while it is a new game, they clearly were working from that early ’80s playbook as well. It doesn’t change as much as people would think from the original formula, and that is part of why it’s such a good, and challenging, game.

Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge is, as the title suggests, a sequel to the first game. Wanting revenge from his defeat, the evil croc Swampy has kidnapped numerous baby frogs!  Now Frogger and his friends have to go rescue them.  Yeah, it’s a pretty basic plot, but it’s good enough I guess, and some of the CG cutscenes are amusing. 🙂 In story mode, Frogger and the pink girl frog Lilly Frog team up to rescue the babies from Swampy. You play as each in certain levels, though functionally they are the same. In addition to the main two though, there are five other frog and toad characters playable in the other modes. Some of them must be unlocked.

The most important mode is of course the main Story mode, but there are several other modes of play. First there’s the expected single stage mode, where you can replay any level you’ve beaten and try to collect everything or complete the level in a faster time. This is good for going back and improving performance in levels later, after beating the game. Second there’s Super Retro mode, which I will explain later. Last, there’s a four player multiplayer mode.

Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge uses 3d, overhead-angle graphics.  The game has decent graphics, but doesn’t come close to pushing the DC’s hardware.  This game was clearly designed to run on the PS1 also, and the mostly overhead camera does not allow for sweeping vistas or the like.  Still, the game looks nice enough, and has good sharp graphics, as expected on Dreamcast.  As for the music, it’s there, but forgettable.

Despite the 3d graphics, the game plays traditionally — like the original Frogger games, this game works on a grid. Pressing a direction on the d-pad will move your frog one square in the direction you press. There’s no auto-movement, you need to press for each move. Also, it often allows you to walk off sides of platforms, so watch out! Don’t expect everything to have walls, that would make things too easy. The camera is far enough back that you can get a good view and see all of the potential dangers around you; in the first game the camera was far too close. In addition, you usually can’t kill enemies, either; you do far more avoiding threats than defeating enemies. This is key to the Frogger feel, if you could just kill the monsters at will it wouldn’t be as tense, or as much like classic Frogger. There is a powerup that lets you destroy some, but still, there is far more avoiding than destroying in this game. The characters can take a couple of hits, but not many, and of course instant-death hazards are everywhere.

pc

PC version?

In addition to standard movement (that is, jumping to the tiles around you with the d-pad), Frogger and the other characters also can jump upwards up to a higher platform in front of them with A, jump forward over two tiles in the direction you are facing by double tapping A (DC controls), use a Power Croak which lets you identify if any babies are nearby, and use your Bug-Seeking Tongue which lets you grab bugs, which will each refill your health one. There are several powerups as well, including extra lives and a quick-hop powerup which allows you to move by just holding down directions on the dpad, as well as a few others.

In each level, your primary goal is to get to the end, but along the way you should find the five kidnapped baby frogs. You’ll need them if you want to really complete the stage. Some are kind of hidden, so explore around and find them. There are also 25 gems to find in each level. Some are well hidden, as you’d expect. There are 16 levels in story mode. More might be nice, but sixteen felt like enough to me, considering the challenge and replay value — collecting everything and getting a good time add plenty of replay for anyone interested. The difficulty gradually increases as expected as you go through the game. There’s a nice variety of settings, and the graphics are pretty nice. Sure, this is a port and not a DC original, but the sharp, clear graphics look good and certainly far better than anything the PS1 could put on the screen. (Oh, the game is d-pad only; no analog stick support. Given the strict grid system movement though, that makes sense.) Some levels, like the Aztec pyramid-style stage, gave me a lot of trouble. Between worlds there are short CG cutscenes showing the next bit of the story. If you die in a level you restart from the last checkpoint in the stage, but if you run out of lives and get game over — and with only five lives, this is easy to do — you’ll have to start the level over. Nice, classic design. Exploring each level, figuring out what to do at each challenge, and then getting through successfully was both fun and rewarding.

PS1 version maybe? Not sure

Super Retro mode stages are unlocked as you make progress through the main campaign. There are ten levels in this mode. Each one is a level played in a straight overhead perspective, original Frogger style, and your goal is to get five frogs to the five spots at the other end of the level. That is, it’s a modern update of the original Frogger’s gameplay. I loved these levels, and they were one of my favorite things about the game; the main game is very good as well, but these were just fantastic. The levels are set in settings from the main game, but the stage designs get nasty, and some of these levels are pretty hard to just finish, much less finish with a best time. So many moving platforms to move between, so few safe spots… Fun stuff. Frustrating when you’re losing, certainly, but fun. 🙂

As for the multiplayer, I haven’t played it myself, but there are three multiplayer games for up to four players on the DC, or on PSX as well with a multitap. One is a race mode with two specially designed courses — try to be the first player to the end. Snake mode is a cross between the classic game Snake and Tron –you create blocks behind you as you move, can’t stop, and try to get the other players to crash into your trails. Your trail gets longer as you grab more coins. There are three stages. Last is Time Trial mode. Played on three stages from Super Retro mode, there are five babies in the stage and the players try to get as many as they can. The player with the most wins.

Overall, Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge is a good game. The graphics, audio, and story are decent enough to do, but it’s the gameplay that carries it. The simple, oldschool style is pretty fun.  Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge gets a solid B.  The game probably plays just as well on Playstation, but doesn’t look nearly as nice, of course, so get the game for Dreamcast or PC for sure.  After this game’s apparent success, Konami took back the rights to the Frogger series that they had originally created, so all subsequent Frogger games come from Konami.  However, the same team that made Swampy’s Revenge made another similar title a few years later, sans the Frogger license — Zapper: One Wicked Cricket. There are two versions, one for GC/PS2/XBox and the other for GBA. Both versions are good as well; I cover the GC version in my recent GC Game Opinion Summaries list.

About Brian

Computer and video game lover
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