Saturday 28 August 2021

Superfrog (Commodore Amiga review)

Developer: Team17
Publisher: Team17
Released: 1993

Superfrog is a platformer that was remastered in HD in 2013 (various platforms including the PlayStation 3 and Steam).

The game's objective is to rescue the Princess from the old witch and turn yourself back from a frog to a Prince. To do this, you must collect a set number of coins in each level, and while you can bounce on top of enemies to defeat them a green blob can be obtained to fire at them from distance. The exploratory nature of the level design is the game's best feature, as there's many secret passages that keep the excitement of discovery alive. Where things falter is in the control department, as Superfrog's movements are very slippery and trying to precisely line-up a head stomp will occasionally result in you overshooting your target and taking damage. To add to the frustration, World 2 introduces far too many disappearing platforms that force you to waste time climbing back up sections of the level you've already conquered. To give it its dues, the game does run at a smooth frame-rate and the action is incredibly fast; in fact, World 3's suction pipes are very reminiscent of the similar mechanic found in Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992, Sega Genesis). Also, after World 5 you're transported into space for a side-scrolling shooter level that adds some much needed variety. The world themes are intriguing too, but while you'll find yourself battling in settings such as ancient pyramids and the fun park, the level design is indistinguishable throughout and never plays to these themes to create some unique challenges. Shamefully, there's only one boss which takes place at the end of the game and it's a huge let-down due to the old witch having a simple attack pattern that's insultingly easy to learn.

Superfrog has its technical merits, but its controls are sub-par and a constant source of annoyance. What's most disappointing is that its world themes are basically window dressing for what is repeated level design throughout the entire game and as such the more you play the less exciting the monotonous adventure becomes.

Random trivia: The HD remaster was delisted in 2016 due to low sales and poor reviews.

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