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Posted on May 18th 2011 at 12:31:07 PM by (dsheinem)
Posted under Frogger, Genesis, SNES, Frogger, Majesco, Hasbro

Ah, the 16-bit era.  The two major systems in North America during those years were home to amazing shmups, RPGs, platformers, fighters and pretty much every other genre.  What title would finally hold the honor of closing out the retail market?  What magnum opus could serve as the cross-platform release to end the glory days of 2D gaming?  The answer, surprisingly, was Frogger.


Frogger, of course, had been a hit when it launched in arcades in 1981. In the years afterward, it would be ported to every computer and home console imaginable.  According to Wikipedia, for example, there are over 20 Frogger clones for the ZX Spectrum alone.  There was certainly not a frothing demand for a Frogger game when Majesco and Hasbro collaborated to bring the game to the Genesis and SNES in 1998, but that is exactly what they did.  By most counts, Frogger was the final retail release for both of these systems.

The Genesis and SNES versions, respectively

The two games are actually quite different in terms of graphics and playability.  The Genesis port of Frogger is widely hailed as one of the best ports the game has ever seen, and though it fails to really take advantage of the Genesis hardware, it is extremely faithful to the arcade version.  It offers no high score tables, no difficulty settings or other options, but it is nonetheless Frogger.


My copy of this game shows how cheap the Genesis packaging had become by the end of the Genesis lifespan.  Long gone, of course, were the clamshell cases...but this is even cheaper than the slide out cardboard games from the latter half of the Genesis run.  Theres also a lot of red border and text surrounding the box art, something which detracts significantly from the look of the packaging.  From the pictures available of the SNES box (I dont have a copy), it looks like there is a little more uniformity with the rest of the library.

Even Frogger himself looks depressed by this shoddy port

The SNES box art may have been the best part about that release of the game, as not only are the updated graphics a travesty for the eyes, but the control and sound are a mess as well.  It seems that the folks at Majesco wanted to make a different version of the game for each console  but it is hard to imagine what they were thinking with the SNES port. 


As an interesting footnote, Frogger received a near-simultaneous release on the PlayStation and PC as these 16-bit versions.  These versions place Frogger in 3D perspective and offer a lot of interesting additions to the game.  The PS1 port is especially worth a look, if you are a fan of Frogger (it even spawned a sequel).



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Comments
 
Such a surprising title to end the SNES and Genesis...
 
This makes me want to fire up some Frogger. I really enjoyed the SNES and Genesis version. I have never tried the PSX Frogger and wouldn't mind doing so one day.
 
I have never noticed such blatant and outstanding differences in a multi-console release before. Seeing the shots here for the genesis and SNES and also firing up the PSX version in my possession, it would almost appear as though they could be three separate developers. Perhaps Majesco was experimenting with different graphics engines at the time to see what direction to turn into the new generation of consoles? Very enlightening read. Thank you for posting.

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