Princess & FrogThe 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 See the videothey 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.

Princess & FrogPerhaps 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.

2 quartersEither 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.