I'd write a letter, but I simply haven't got the time,
Give me a call tomorrow (if I haven't died),
And I can tell you how I made it to the other side (Up, left, up-right, right, right, down-left-up-up)
If I make it to the other side, (Up, left, up-right, right, right, down-left-up-up)
I hope I make it to the other side, (Up, left, up-right, right, right, down-left-up-up)
I gotta make it to the other side.
Frogger is an arcade game introduced in 1981. It was developed by Konami, and licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin. The game is regarded as a classic and was noted for its novel gameplay and theme. Frogger is still popular and versions can be found on many Internet game sites, as well as having spawned numerous sequels for a variety of systems.
The object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one. To do this, each frog must avoid cars while crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. The skillful player may obtain many bonuses along the way.
The player starts with three frogs (lives). The player guides a frog which starts at the bottom of the screen. The lower half of the screen contains a five lane road with motor vehicles, which in various versions include cars, trucks, buses, taxis, bicyclists, motorcycles, or some combination thereof, speeding along it horizontally. The upper half of the screen consists of a river with logs, alligators, and turtles, all moving horizontally across the screen. The very top of the screen contains five "frog homes" which are the goals for each frog. Every level is timed; the player must act quickly to finish each level before the time expires.
The only player control is the joystick used to navigate the frog; each push in a direction causes the frog to hop once in that direction. On the bottom half of the screen, the player must successfully guide the frog between opposing lanes of trucks, cars and other vehicles, to avoid becoming roadkill.
The middle of the screen, after the road, has a median where the player must prepare to navigate the river.
By jumping on swiftly moving logs and the backs of turtles, the player can guide their frog safely to one of the empty lilypads. For some odd reason, the frog cannot swim. The player must avoid alligators, snakes, and otters in the river, but may catch bugs or escort a lady frog for bonuses. When all five frogs are directed home, the game progresses to the next, harder level.
Konami and Sega had a legal battle over who owned Frogger. Despite this, the original Frogger was the final licensed game ever produced and released for the Sega Genesis in 1998 (as well as the SNES in the same year, where it is the final cartridge ever released, but only the penultimate official SNES release in any format - the title of final release proper goes to Star Fox 2 in 2017 thanks to the SNES Classic) and Konami would bring installments of Contra and Castlevania to Sega consoles.
While the original game never got any in-arcade sequels, Frogger would receive many console and handheld installments that adapted the tile-hopping gameplay, and would use Frogger as the name for the player character. The most well-known of these are the Hasbro Interactive-published Frogger and Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge, 3D games which feature Frogger and friends exploring levels to find five baby frogs. Konami would take over development and publishing for Frogger games on sixth-gen systems, starting with the poorly-received 3D platformer reboot Frogger: The Great Quest and then moving into the Frogger's Adventures series, which all used a similar design for Frogger and mostly similar play styles. This series would end after Frogger: Helmet Chaos, and since then most Frogger games have been strictly arcade throwbacks, with the exception of the Nintendo DS-exclusive spin-off My Frogger Toy Trials.
Frogger was also featured in a subplot of an episode of Seinfeld, aptly named "The Frogger". Additionally, there is a Game Show based on and named after Frogger that premiered on streaming service Peacock in 2021.
This series has examples of:
- Animals Not to Scale: Frogs, turtles, and gators large enough to fit neatly on a vehicle lane.
- Animated Adaptation: There was a Frogger cartoon show, as part of Saturday Supercade. No, it didn't feature him just jumping over things.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: After being depicted as a non-anthropomorphic frog in the Hasbro Interactive titles, Frogger received a semi-Mascot with Attitude revamp for Frogger: The Great Quest, turning him into a adult swamp-dweller who talks and walks on two legs. The Frogger's Adventures games would dial this back a bit: Frogger still talks, but is younger, wears simpler clothes, and usually prefers to hop around like real frogs.
- Art Evolution: Usually, the protagonist looks more like a bullfrog, but he is a green tree frog in Frogger 3D on the 3DS.
- Difficulty by Acceleration: The obstacles speed up after completing a screen.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: In the original game, the death of the playable character was limited to drowning or being flattened by a vehicle, and maybe being eaten by the occasional alligator. Other games in the series got a little more creative. The 1997 Frogger alone had: being mauled by a dog, crushed between spiked walls, getting run over by a lawnmower, etc. And in Frogger 3D, you have all those deaths, plus green blood oozes from Frogger. No wonder it was rated E10+.
- Nostalgia Level: The classic level from the arcade game shows up a lot.
- Retraux: The 3DS game, Frogger 3D has the original level as a playable intro and replicates the sound and graphics as well. (After it's completed, it zooms out to an arcade machine displaying it and shows Frogger hopping off it.)
- Sequel Number Snarl: There are three different games called Frogger II:
- Frogger II: Threeedeep!, A sequel to the original released on 8-bit home systems.
- Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge, a sequel to the 1997 Frogger.
- Frogger 2 for Xbox Live Arcade.
- Super Drowning Skills: And you're a frog. It's left up to the player's imagination as to why, but go figure.
- Handwaved in some editions as the currents being too fast and dangerous for a frog to navigate. Reasonable in that real life frogs hang around ponds and swamps, not fast flowing rivers.
- Frogger 3D also parodies this trope: if you drown in the water, you get the In-Universe "Frogs can't swim?" achievement.
- It's never mentioned in-game, but the manuals for Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge (the fourth game) and Frogger: Helmet Chaos reveal that Frogger suffers from a never-described childhood trauma involving water. The suggestion is that jumping into water gives him a panic attack, causing him to flail and drown. Still doesn't explain why every other playable character (including frogs) has exactly the same problem.
- Timed Mission: You have limited time to get your frog home safely.
The original game has examples of:
- 1-Up: Noteworthy in that it is difficult to earn as classic arcade games go. Getting all five frogs home safely is worth about 4,000 points; the default setting for an extra life is 20,000 points, which means you need to survive about five levels. And that's the only extra life you can earn.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Both played straight and inverted. "Inu no Omawari-san" note , along with "Yankee Doodle"note and "Camptown Races" are among the straight examples, but inverted by other songs (the themes from Rascal the Raccoon, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, Hana no Ko Lunlun, and Moero Arthur: Hakuba no Ouji are heavily used as background music). The latter is why most ports, even otherwise arcade-perfect ports, change all the music (even the public domain songs).
- Reality Has No Soundtrack: Curiously, the SNES port, released in 1998, contains no music at all, either on the menus or in-game.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Killer snakes and gatorsnote , plus annoyingly fickle turtles.note
- Re-Release Soundtrack: The 2006 re-release for Xbox Live replaced the music from the arcade with new tunes. Most versions do, in fact, due to the copyrighted music used without permission (as noted above).
Other games in the series have examples of:
- The Artifact: The game retains a pretty surprising amount of aspects from the original arcade game that many (particularly critics) argued didn't have a solid place in a home console game. For example, the Timed Mission aspect remains despite how large some of the levels are and you still are sent back to the start every time you rescue a baby frog with no checkpoints. The sequel knocked out a lot of these aspects.
- Bee Afraid: Honey Bee Hollow (single-player) and Swarming Frogs (multiplayer).
- Blackout Basement: Dark Dark Cavern, which requires you to eat several fireflies to be able to see farther.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Technically in order to finish the game, all you need to do is find the golden frogs in every zone and finish the last level. As such, any levels at and past where the golden frogs reside in each zone are, in all technicality, completely meaningless. For that reason, finishing all the levels counts as this.
- Cut and Paste Environments: Alongside the five retro levels, there are several stages that are just more difficult versions of preceding levels. A common element of these is that obstacles move much faster.
- Spinning Lillies is a rehash of Lily Islands, except beyond some altered level geometry and taking place as dusk, several extra hazards (a mower and several bulldogs) were added and, as the name implies, every lily pad spins. The area the red frog rested was raised, requiring the player to ride up to it with the assistance of two birds.
- Bow Wow Revenge is a recycled version of Bow Wow Falls, though it did add a new area in the bottom left corner of the map.
- Loonier Balloons is, quite obviously, a different version of Looney Balloons. Very little of it was changed but many of the paths leading to the frogs need to be taken differently.
- Boom Boom Barrel, a remix of Bang Bang Barrel. Beyond different lighting and different insects to collect, little has changed.
- Crumbled Point is a reused Cactus Point. The obstacle increase is turned up to eleven for this re-tread, though.
- The dreaded Big Boulder Alley, which takes Boulder Alley and ups the ante to the extreme. In addition to increasing the already annoying amount of obstacles, they even added enemies that weren't in Boulder Alley, and moved two of the baby frog locations to a widely expanded lower layer.
- Excuse Plot: Pretty much. The "plot" given in the manual makes very little sense, summing up as "Frogger died a long time ago and while he was gone, a bunch of baby frogs went missing. Now he's alive again and has to save them." But it still doesn't explain the more nonsensical elements of the game, such as how they ended up in the sewers and in the clouds.
- Giant Spider: The Cave Zone levels have a few, none more triumphant than in Webs Cavern.
- Golden Ending: No pun intended; getting all eight golden frogs allows you to see the game's ending upon finishing Tropical Trouble. If you miss any along the way, you simply only get to see the credits and nothing else.
- Grimy Water: In the sewer zone, and probably the only place where Frogger's Super Drowning Skills are actually justified, since sewage actually would kill most living things.
- Guide Dang It!:
- The game gives almost no indication that you're able to superhop on a few of the hedges in Mower Mania. The only hint that you can is that a few of the hedges are flat and recessed on the top, but if you don't have a keen eye for detail, it's incredibly easy to overlook.
- It is very easy to overlook the fact that one of the alligators that makes up the alligator bridge in Big Boulder Alley never goes under the water, even though he otherwise looks exactly the same as all the rest. That simple fact makes going across the bridge infinitely easier, though still not a cakewalk.
- Instant-Win Condition: It doesn't matter what else is happening, once Frogger reaches a baby frog, that's victory (or 1/5 of it, anyway). Bees and hawks will halt their chase mid-flight and give up for no visible reason, because they can't do anything until Frogger respawns to go after the next baby.
- Living MacGuffin: The golden frogs. Getting one of them unlocks a zone, and getting all of them lets you see the game's ending.
- Losing Horns: A solo trombone jingle plays when you get game over. Expect to hear it a lot.
- MacGuffin-Person Reveal: When you finish Tropical Trouble, the golden frogs are revealed to be this. If you missed any along the way, you don't get to see the ending.
- The Maze:
- Webs Cavern includes a few mazes of webs to navigate through in order to rescue the baby frogs. Made interesting by the fact that you are in a very dark cave that progressively gets darker the more time you spend without eating fireflies.
- Lava Crush may count as well, as getting the green frog requires you to press certain switches in the correct order, and sometimes with careful timing.
- Meaningless Lives: You only have three lives (or five, in the PC port) so Game Overs can and do happen, but all that happens is you get spit back to the main menu, where you can restart the level you just died on. Might as well have just had infinite lives, since navigating through the menus to pick up where you left off is annoying, especially if it happens repeatedly. And it often does on the harder levels.
- Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: In a case of Executive Meddling, Hasbro Interactive insisted the game needed to have a multiplayer mode, leading to one that feels quite tacked on as a result. The levels are quite difficult if you aren't familiar with the game mechanics, and one level in particular (Swarming Frogs) is going to be a Curb-Stomp Battle if one of the players is already familiar with the game from single player mode. In one particularly bad case, Jungle Rumble has a single flag that is much harder to reach than the others, which can lead to matches that drag on forever due to everyone fighting for the one flag if all the others get taken first.
- Nintendo Hard: Oy. For starters, time limits are present on every level, so you can't afford to dawdle lest you die. For another thing, unless it's another frog, a switch, or a platform, a single touch from anything else will kill you. Third, you have to find each and every frog or start a new life from the same starting point. And some of the levels are not only difficult, they're difficult and have gimmicks which will make them an utter nightmare. Uncanny Crusher, anyone?
- Poison Mushroom: There are a couple of red bugs around some stages which, if you eat them, subtract from the time limit. Another type of bug exists to do nothing but subtract from your current score.
- Power-Up Letdown: Super Tongue is an almost completely pointless addition. Auto-Hop and Quick Jump both have their uses (despite their rarity), but Super Tongue just gives you a bit more reach on catching flies...which would be great, if it weren't for the fact that this is very seldom actually helpful. There's exactly one place in the entire game's set of 33 levels where you actually need it — there's a 1-up just barely out of reach on Lily Islands. Otherwise though, its functionality goes almost completely unused.
- Shout-Out: The last level in the Sewer Zone is called Reservoir Frogs.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: The flies are all sprites in this game.
- Stealth Pun: The level Time Flies. At first it just seems like a flying pun because the majority of the level is spent riding on a flock of ducks, but it's actually more or less a pun on all the time-increasing flies scattered across the level.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Frogger Goes Skiing, where you, well, go skiing.
- Adapted Out: For some reason, all the cutscenes are missing from the PC version.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Frogger seems to have no trouble surviving being in space, despite having Super Drowning Skills.
- Black Comedy: Basically everything Swampy does involving the baby frogs, including using one as a bludgeon, tossing them all over the place to distract Frogger and Lillie, terrorizing them on a make-believe TV show, and preparing to process and ship them as food.
- Collection Sidequest: There are 25 coins in every level, and collecting all of them unlocks one of a long list of bonuses.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Swampy is an Ascended Extra of one of the alligators of the previous games that Frogger had hopped onto. His response to that frog getting fame and recognition? Kidnap all the baby frogs and go out of his way to try to kill Frogger, in the name of Revenge!
- 11th-Hour Ranger: A baby blue frog (referred to as "Tad" in the game's multiplayer mode) takes up the reins for the final stage in the story mode after Frogger and Lillie get captured.
- Idiot Ball: When Frogger comes across Lillie trapped in a cage over a pool of lava in the end game, does he free her? No, he just opens the cage door, hops inside and stays there, letting Swampy get the opportunity to start lowering the both of them towards the lava.
- A closer look at the cutscene shows that the cliff Frogger was on collapsed, forcing him to jump into the cage to save his hide.
- Indy Escape: Boulder Canyon plays this up, where you have to rescue a baby frog on the trap that sets off the boulder.
- The Many Deaths of You: This game took the opposite direction of the Family Unfriendly Deaths mentioned above and went more comical, such as Frogger inflating after getting stung by a bee or being flung up to the camera.
- Minecart Madness: The mines provides a section where you hop across three mine carts to avoid the obstacles.
- Retraux: The Super Retro Levels are done entirely in retraux style, with the cars, water, logs, turtles, and basically everything except the frogs themselves looking exactly like they did in the original arcade game.
- Timed Mission: Averted surprisingly, unless you are on Hard Mode or are playing the Super Retro Levels.
- The Unfought: Swampy is never fought directly. He does manage to be a "Get Back Here!" Boss in spite of it, though, as one of the space levels involves pursuing him on a rocket as he drops obstacles and baby frogs.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If Frogger runs out of health, he respawns a short distance away, and enemies don't regain any health in the meantime.
- Foo Fu: Frogger had a melee combat ability called Frog Fu where when he gets close to an enemy or object he attacks it.
- Justified Extra Lives: One of the three gifts the Fairy Frog Mother gives to Frogger in the opening cutscene is that he cannot die until his quest is complete, explaining why he always revives after losing all his health.
- Oddball in the Series: The game plays differently from any main Frogger game (it features no grid-hopping, not even as a minigame), and its universe is a fantasy world that leans into a Fractured Fairy Tale. Frogger also acts very differently from how he is portrayed in the games before and after it.
- Save the Princess: This is Frogger's goal, but only by proxy: he needs to find a specific princess to get kissed by, and the one he needs happens to be imprisoned in her own castle by the Magical General of Light and Industry.
- Sequel Hook: In the final cutscene, the Witch from Dr. Starkenstein's castle interrupts the "The End" display, saying "I don't think so!" and cackling. After the credits, there's also some clips of Frogger back in his frog form and the Magical General alive and well. None of this would be followed up on since The Great Quest didn't get any direct sequels.
- Shout-Out: The boss of Dr. Starkenstein's Castle is a robotic chicken monster named Metal Chicken Ray, referencing another Konami property.
- Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Frogger wishes to find a princess on a shooting star that flies by Firefly Swamp, which summons his Fairy Frog Mother to aid him.
- Whole-Plot Reference: The game's story is a spoof of The Frog Prince, with Frogger overhearing the original tale and making a wish to find a princess who can turn him into a human prince.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: A literal case. Frogger meets several princesses throughout the game, including a fairy princess and a vampire princess, but none of them are the princess he needs to fulfill his wish, so they just point him in the right direction. One of the princesses isn't a person at all, just a boat named "River Princess" that Frogger gets confused by.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Some of the paths in Helmet Chaos lead to levels where you play as Frogger's friends Lumpy and Berry. Lumpy can turn into a ball to move separately from the grid and bowl over enemies, while Berry can climb on specific walls.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Most characters in this series wear clothing that covers most of their body, but no shoes. Frogger, Lily, and Finnius wear shirts and pants, Lumpy wears a shirt and overalls, and Berry wears an orange jumpsuit.
- Canon Immigrant: Lumpy the toad, Frogger's friend from The Great Quest, appears in most of the Frogger's Adventures games with a new design. Lillie (now named Lily), Frogger's girlfriend from Swampy's Revenge, also shows up a few times.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Frogger games usually require the right timing to hop or jump to a moving tile without falling into a pit. Frogger Beyond is slightly different: if Frogger is in line with a platform he is jumping to, he will adjust in the air to land on it no matter what. However, trying to jump early doesn't work anymore, which can cause Frogger to clip through platforms and fall into the abyss even if it looks like he made the jump. Helmet Chaos also includes this course-correction, but still lets Frogger time his jumps like normal.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The opening cutscene of Ancient Shadow begins with Frogger relaxing in a chair and listening to a slightly muffled version of the title screen/main menu theme on a radio.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Despite being the first game in the Frogger's Adventures line, Temple of the Frog takes place in the same universe as The Great Quest; there's no mention of its story and Frogger has an altered design, but the characters are taken from the game (most directly using concept art from The Great Quest), and the minor enemy Mr. D is the main villain. The later games dropped everything from The Great Quest, save a redesigned Lumpy and the Firefly Swamp setting.
- Ground Pound: Frogger gets this move in Ancient Shadow and Helmet Chaos, which can press switches and reveal secrets. According to a letter from Berry in Ancient Shadow, she can't use this move because "the circus has an insurance policy that prevents me from smashing things with my butt. Besides, it's rather unladylike."
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Dr. Wani in Ancient Shadow and Helmet Chaos wears a gothic coat and cape, but leaves his legs and feet uncovered.
- Heart Container:
- "Maximum life boosters" in Ancient Shadow; three are bought from Mohan's store, and one is received from Berry in a hidden cutscene. Each one increases Frogger's health by one, starting at four hits and ending at eight.
- Flies in Helmet Chaos increase Frogger's maximum health by one. He starts with four pieces of health and has a possible total of sixteen, though reaching this may not always be possible on particular routes.
- Inflating Body Gag: Lumpy is subject to this in Helmet Chaos after he eats some berries he finds while looking for Berry's sister. This becomes a gameplay mechanic, letting him roll up slopes and defeat certain enemies by inflating into a sphere at will.
- Mondegreen Gag: Ronin, Dr. Wani's dragon in Helmet Chaos, has a Running Gag of mishearing what other characters are saying because of his headphones, repeating it back in a mangled form. Right before his boss battle, Frogger catches on and says a mondegreen word-salad so that Ronin will hear the right thing instead.
- Multipurpose Tongue: Frogger's tongue gets more versatile in these games, compared to how it just ate butterflies in the Hasbro Interactive games. It can grab items in a straight line, pull platforms with arrows on them, grab blocks to move them around, latch onto posts to grapple or swing across tiles, and even eat enemies (only in Frogger Beyond with one of the power-ups).
- No Antagonist: Frogger Beyond is the only game in the series with no villain, since the story focuses on Frogger's rite of passage. It's also the only game to not end with a final boss.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Played straight in Temple of the Frog, Frogger Beyond, The Lost Wand, and The Rescue, where Frogger loses a life on hit. Averted in The Forgotten Relic, Ancient Shadow, and Helmet Chaos, which give Frogger a segmented health bar.
- Remixed Level: Of a sort. Helmet Chaos has levels that are occasionally reused between alternate routes, but with different layouts for enemies and items.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Dr. Wani leads a whole organization of evil crocodile minions, named T.R.I.P. (Tyrannical Reptiles In Power).
- Retraux: Helmet Chaos has an unlockable Frogger minigame where everything is rendered in the style of the original arcade game... except the player characters, who still use models.
- Ship Tease: In Ancient Shadow, there's a hidden cutscene where Frogger spends some time alone with Berry and receives a maximum life booster from her. According to its description, "The secret ingredient is love."
- Wall Crawl: Berry, as an Amazon tree frog, has the ability to stick to and climb up walls, allowing her to reach places Frogger can't.
- Womb Level: Helmet Chaos has a stage that ends with Frogger falling into a river as a huge fish swims by. A subsequent image after the level complete screen shows him being swallowed, and the following level and boss are set inside the fish.
- World of Funny Animals: The games take place in this type of universe, as opposed to the fantasy world of The Great Quest and the semi-realistic settings of most other Frogger games. This is shown best in The Forgotten Relic, which has a whole town of animal characters.
- The Artifact: Two costumes in the game grant Frogger the ability to Wall Crawl and turn into a ball. These are obviously repurposed from the abilities of Berry and Lumpy in Frogger: Helmet Chaos; Toy Trials was developed by the same team but is a Continuity Reboot and doesn't feature either as playable characters (Lumpy is still around, but only as an NPC).
- Clothes Make the Superman: Throughout the game, Frogger can obtain costumes that give him new abilities necessary to traverse levels, such as a ninja suit that lets him stick to walls or a firefighter suit that gives him immunity to flame hazards.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: While Frogger and the other toys are sentient and the focus of the playable sections, the main plot revolves around the human characters that own the toys.
- King Incognito: Agent T, the man wearing the rabbit mascot head that frequently steps in to help the protagonist, turns out to be Tobi, the rich toy company president responsible for the tournament, all along.
- Living Toys: In this setting, Frogger, Lumpy, and Lily are all sentient "Toy Pets" custom-made by a toy company in order to compete in a tournament.
- Meaningless Lives: There are challenge stages in the game that swap your regular health meter with a three-life limit, but you can just retry the stage if you lose them all. Furthermore, when you lose a life during the stage, you restart from the beginning rather than from a checkpoint.
- Quest for a Wish: The grand prize for winning the toy tournament is having one wish granted. Unfortunately, as it's being run by a toy company instead of a magical being, they're unable to actually grant a wish like the protagonist's original desire to have President Tobi be his dad.
- Terrible Artist: The protagonist submits a drawing of a dragon to be turned into a toy for the competition, but his art skills are so awful that it gets mistaken for a frog, leading to Frogger's creation. It's later revealed that the drawing was perfectly fine, and the mix-up was actually sabotage.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: One of the human characters participating in the toy tournament is Tobi Jr., the son of the toy company's President Tobi, who resents his dad for focusing on his job of making other children happy. This is why Tobi Jr. sabotages the other contestants, such as by giving the main protagonist Frogger instead of the dragon pet he had originally wanted.
- Worthless Treasure Twist: When it turns out that President Tobi can't grant his original wish of adopting him (and that it might not have been the best wish in the first place, given Tobi Jr.'s relationship with his father), the protagonist realizes that the bond he formed with Frogger during the tournament is what he values most and simply wishes to keep him as his pet despite having been given Frogger by mistake.