The Game: Frogger’s back, and he needs your help to do so much more than just cross the road. First, help Frogger navigate an assortment of underwater dangers to reach the safety of a log at the water’s surface, and then help him hop across the backs of various animals and objects to cross the river. Once this is accomplished, you help Frogger ascend to heaven…and then the whole process starts once more. (Parker Brothers, 1984)
Memories: Officially authorized by Sega (while Sega was still authorized by Konami as the American distributor of the original Frogger), Frogger II: Threeedeep! is a sequel to the hit arcade game – a sequel that never made it into the arcades itself.
If nothing else, Frogger II is really an exercise in just how far you could stretch the game play of Frogger without completely changing things around. Not a lot has really changed, though the various screens create a bit of challenge by changing the nature of how you get around. The “underwater” stage stands in for the busy roadway of Frogger here: you’re supposed to avoid everything. The “river” stage is simply a more grueling version of Frogger’s river, and then the “flying frog” stage is just another take on the river.
Designed and programmed for Frogger II, however, is a fourth stage that apparently didn’t make the cut: a “sewer” level – adhering to the “avoid everything” play mechanic of the roadway – was set beneath a busy roadway. Interestingly, the sewer level had a “sludge” effect – each time Frogger took a jump, he’d start to slide back toward the bottom, forcing either another jump or some quick thinking to avoid any oncoming obstacles. There were also diamond rings and other valuables that could be grabbed for extra points in the sewer stage; what happened to the sewer between programming and the final game is unknown, but it’s possible that the lack of a roadway stage – which the sewer would appear to have logically led to – nixed the completed sewer screen. (When you view the video of Frogger II in action, click the video window to see a demonstration of the lost sewer screen.)
With or without the missing stages of the game, Frogger II is an enjoyable enough fix for those who liked the original. Parker produced versions of the sequel for several consoles and home computers, but there’s no indication that Frogger II was ever considered as an arcade game. It stands out as one of the few “original” non-arcade titles released by Parker Brothers, and while it doesn’t push the basic parameters of Frogger very far, it’s a fun game.