Princess & Frog 8K
The Game: You’re a frog who has a hot date with the princess in the castle. But in order to reach her, you’ll have to cross four lanes of jousting knight traffic – avoiding the knights’ horses and lances – and then you’ll have to cross the moat on the backs of snakes and alligators, all without ending up in the drink when they submerge. (There’s also occasionally a lady frog you can hook up with en route to the castle; apparently this whole thing with the princess doesn’t have any guarantee of exclusivity.) When you reach the castle, you can hop into any open window, but if you see a pair of lips in that window, that’s where the princess is. (Romox, 1982)
Memories: It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Romox’s Princess & Frog is, in fact, a cut-rate Frogger clone. And it really doesn’t even bother to change the game play at all – Princess & Frog is to Frogger what the arcade ripoff Pirhana was to Pac-Man: it tries to get by with changing the graphics and nothing else.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s not even a terribly good Frogger clone. The sprites are big and clunky (the size of the “knights” makes the lower half of the screen a real knightmare to get through), and while I can forgive a game for graphics so low-res that they border on stick figure abstraction, I can’t forgive it when graphics don’t clearly convey what’s going on to the player. The submersion of the water-bound critters – which can signal doom for the frog – is apparently signified by those sprites suddenly being chopped in half, offering virtually no warning to allow the player to escape imminent doom.
Either through limited distribution or lack of sales, Romox didn’t move a huge number of Princess & Frog cartridges, so it’s not the most common game to find in a TI owner’s library. Parker Bros. had an official port of Frogger for the TI on the market as well, which may have had an effect on sales.