The Game: Two frogs, Bull and Pip, set out on a hazardous journey…to find some flies to eat. They must grab yummy flies while avoiding several lanes of poisonous spider “traffic”, and they also have to cross the occasional river on the backs of turtles and logs, snatching more flies out of the air without falling into the water. Each screen is cleared by the frogs eating the required number of flies. (Sega, 1991)
Memories: It’s not Frogger. It’s not even officially a sequel to Frogger (by this time, Konami, the originators of that game, had reasserted their ownership rights). But I’ll be croaked if Ribbit! isn’t at least “inspired by” Frogger – how that one didn’t get the lawyers suited up for an amphibious mission, we may never know.
If anything, Ribbit! is a nicer-looking but vastly scaled-back homage to Frogger. The “traffic” screens now feature tarantula traffic, and fairly slow-moving tarantula traffic at that. The “river” screens are also significantly pared down in difficulty. It all looks nice, but it’s not going to get seasoned Frogger veterans worked into a sweat. And what’s even funnier is that the game is now divided up into individual screens, sort of like the Odyssey2 version of Frogger. Great graphics, sure, but not much game left. (And what’s up with the huge orchestral interlude on the between-stages scoring screens? There’s something incongruously funny about all that musical bombast accompanying a game about frogs.)
Where this game really excels is in its cooperative mode, with each player controlling a different colored frog (green for player one, brown for player two). That’s about the only way that Ribbit! doesn’t come off as a somewhat sleepy Frogger clone.
Ribbit! certainly isn’t a patch on the legacy of Frogger, but this arcade obscurity from the SNES era is certainly an interesting look at how an arcade classic was being viewed some ten years later.