Review: Frogger 2 (Game Boy Color) – Maybe Even Better than the Console Version?

Sorry for the delay between posts.  I should have had something sooner, there are some more old reviews to post before I move on to posting up those often incomplete lists of mine.  As for this game, it’s a pretty good one.  Despite the similar title, this is entirely different from the other “Frogger 2” games out there.  The only additions to this version of the review are a minor tweaks, a new first paragraph, and the addition of a score.

  • Title: Frogger 2
  • Developer: Morning Star Media
  • Publisher: Hasbro Interactive
  • Released: Sept. 23, 2000 (US exclusive release)
  • Review originally written on 2/25/2012, and updated for reposting on 9/26/2014.

The title screen

After the success of their first new Frogger game for PC and Playstation in 1998, Hasbro started work on a sequel.  It’s a good game, and I reviewed it recently.  This time, however, in addition to the console game, Hasbro also got the handheld rights to the license.  This game, Frogger 2 for Game Boy Color, was the result.  The developer, Morning Star Multimedia, was a somewhat short-lived studio that mostly made mediocre licensed games.  They also did Hasbro’s extremely limited and disappointing GBC version of Pong: The Next Level, and the quite average original Frogger for GB/C dual-mode as well, published by Majesco in that case.  Frogger 2 is a lot better than most any of their other games, though, and I genuinely like it.  It’s also an original title, and not just a port like Frogger (GB/C) is.  Yes, Frogger for GB/C is a port of the arcade original, while Frogger 2 is an original game; it’s a little confusing, but it’s great this game happened.  Frogger 2 is a very simple game, and if you don’t like Frogger games there’s nothing here for you, but anyone who does enjoy Frogger’s style of tile-based avoidance action/platforming as I do, it’s decently fun stuff.

I got this game in 2011, after playing through the Dreamcast title above. I found a copy and, because the console title was good, though t the handheld one might be worth checking out as well. Well, simply, it was. Frogger 2 for GBC is a great, addictive, and challenging game that I loved. It hooked me and kept me coming back until I finished it, and even though it might not take as long to finish thanks to the small number of screens in each level, I’d probably rank it just as high as the DC game overall. It was that good.

Additionally, I want to say thank you to Hasbro for putting a battery in this title. So many second-tier handheld ports that generation had password-only saving, but Hasbro paid out the extra cash for a battery, and it really makes a difference — you won’t need passwords, and it will save your best times and whether you’ve gotten all the stuff in each level as well.  Pong: The Next Level for GBC barely even has any levels (it has like three), never mind a battery!  More effort went into this one.

level start screen

Each stage has a short description.

Frogger 2 –there is no subtitle on the GBC — is a fun, but challenging, game. In the game, you control Frogger or Lily Frog in their quest to rescue all of the kidnapped baby frogs. There’s no main villain in this version, only babies to rescue at the end of each world, and they aren’t really collectables here; instead, gems are. Also, the two frogs aren’t just identical, they swap out on the pause menu — you can change from green to pink by pausing and then hitting select to switch. Cutscenes are minimized here; there are a few static-screen images, and text boxes when you talk to the helper frog who gives you hints along the way (oh, do read them, they can be amusing) and at the beginning and end of the game, but this is a game you play more for the journey than for a great ending. Of course, as it’s on 8-bit hardware, it fits in quite nicely in that regard. The graphics and sound are okay, but nothing special. It looks a lot like a NES game. It looks good enough, and the style works. Each world has a different theme as well.  I like the variety of the settings.

The game plays largely vertically, and are all similar in length. Each stage’s playfield is about two screens wide by five or so screens high. There are 32 stages in the game; that may be twice as many levels as the console game, but with how many fewer screens each one is made up of, it’s certainly the smaller title. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that smaller is lesser, though!  While its 3d counterpart Swampy’s Revenge is a quality classic remake, GBC Frogger 2 is even more traditional. In standard levels, the goal is to reach the exit at the top of the stage. In stages where you rescue a baby frog, though, you will have to go back to the beginning of the stage after collecting it, instead of the stage ending at the top. These reverse sections definitely are interesting. Also, each stage has 16 gems in it to collect. The game records if you’ve gotten all 16 in each stage in the stage select screen, the “play single level” option at the main menu, so you can go back after you beat levels to get gems you may have missed. The main game rewards you for getting all the gems in a stage by refilling your time after you get the last one. The later worlds, like the ice world or the final stage, are challenging and tricky. I died many times before figuring them out. That certainly made it more rewarding once I did, though! This game’s fun hard — it was challenging enough to be frustrating, but not so much so that I wanted to give up for good or make victory near-impossible. The game kept things fun to the end, and the difficulty level is just right.

ingame 1

Level one is reminiscent of the original game.

Several things make this game challenging, despite the short stages. First, there’s no health bar like on the console version; instead, one hit kills you and sends you back to the last checkpoint. The last set of levels don’t have any checkpoints, so dying sends you back to the beginning of the level for those. Second, it is impossible to attack the enemies in any way; you will simply need to avoid them. They all follow specific patterns, but still, it’s easy to slip up and get killed. Third, you have a time limit. I rarely ran out of time, but you do need to pay some attention to it or you might die. And last, deadly hazards and pits abound everywhere, and you will often need perfect precision to not die; one instant too late and you’ll fall into the pit instead of making the jump onto that next mine-car in the last area. And with death awaiting you if the car you’re on goes off screen, you’d better hurry, and have planned your moves ahead by watching the pattern. Also, this game does not save after every level. Instead, you’ll need to beat three or four levels before your progress is saved. This definitely increases the difficulty, as I often found myself playing the same levels over and over because I was dying at a harder stage farther on. I didn’t really mind, though; while limited saving like this is often annoying, in this case I think it works just fine. It increases the difficulty nicely and provides for a solid challenge, but it’s not impossible; you can still win, you just need to play better next time. There are precious extra lives scattered around the levels, though, so look for them.


And that really is what this game is about: pattern recognition and split-second timing. Sure, the game starts out somewhat easy, but it gets much harder later on.  I felt that the main game went by far too quickly, probably because of how much I was enjoying it, though.  There are some things to do once you’ve beaten it, though.  The game has awards to win for several accomplishments in each stage.  You can go back and try to get all the crystals in each level, try for the best times, and try to beat levels without dying even once.  The game keeps track of each of these three accomplishments on the stage select screen, with a gem for stages you got all the gems in, a trophy for ones you got a best time in, and a gold-colored gem or trophy for ones you beat without dying.  This adds some nice replay value to the game.  You don’t need to do all of these things at once, fortunately, so you can upgrade the trophy in each stage through doing one objective each time. Those times would be nearly impossible to get if you were trying to get all the gems anyway, so that’s nice. It is kind of too bad that the original Frogger wasn’t included, but of course, that did have its own GB/C release, so it’s understandable. It is too bad that there’s no mode where you have to get five frogs across a stage to goals, though; I know it’s already retro-styled, but where’s the equivalent of Swampy’s Revenge’s Super Retro mode? 🙂

The levels get more varied settings later on; this is just the start.

Overall, Frogger 2 for GBC impressed me. It’s a simple and straightforward game, and it’s fun.  It works very well: just collect the gems and get to the goal, avoiding the hazards along the way. Anyone who likes Frogger games should absolutely play this. It’s clearly much lower budget than the major-console title, with average graphics and a mediocre ending, but the great level designs and good gameplay carry it and make it a good, fun challenge that I really enjoyed playing. This is not a well known game, and it got some mixed reviews, but if you like Frogger at all, I think that it’d be hard not to like this. The only real issue is that you’ll want even more stages to find your way through. 🙂 Go back and try to collect all the gold trophies instead… that’ll probably take a decent while.  Overall, I give it a B, maybe even a B+.  I’ll go with a B+ because while I liked Swampy’s Revenge, I think I had even more fun with this game.
So yeah, both of Hasbro’s Frogger 2 games are pretty fun, challenging arcade-style platform/action games. Maybe check them out. 🙂 They are a bit on the short side, challenge aside, but I at least found them fun enough while they lasted to be well worth the play, and there is at least some replay value to try to improve your runs.

Oh… and lastly, yes, it is pretty bizarre that Frogger is a frog who can’t swim. 🙂

About Brian

Computer and video game lover
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