|Compatibility:||Model I and III, disk and tape|
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Although there were many Frogger adaptations for the TRS-80, this Cornsoft Group version, written by Robert Pappas, was licensed by Sega and was the “official” Frogger.
The premise of Frogger is simple. The goal is to guide as many frogs as possible back to their homes, crossing a busy road and dangerous river in the process.
The TRS-80 version of Frogger offers a choice of five difficulty levels and an option to play background music. The famous theme music, taken from the Japanese children’s song “Inu No Omawarisan,” is the same used by the original arcade version. Most TRS-80 games played music during title screens and sound effects during the game, but Frogger was one of the few to also play background music during the game. This was not an easy feat on a computer with no sound controller.
The first stage of the game involves crossing the road. Vehicles (which resemble cars, trucks, and tanks!) travel across the screen constantly, threatening to run over your frog. You need to cross the road by hopping from empty area to empty area, always keeping one step ahead of the vehicles. The vehicles travel at different speeds, so careful timing is very important.
The second river stage appears after your frog successfully crosses the road and reaches the median. The goal here is to cross the river and reach home at the top of the screen without landing in the water and drowning. Logs and turtles float down the river, and you travel by hopping from one log or turtle to another.
Complicating matters is the fact the the turtles sometimes dive into the water, drowning your frog if it is sitting on one at the time. Also floating down the river are crocodiles and snakes which will eat your frog if you make a wrong hop. On the plus side, there are bonus points for eating insects and saving a “lady frog.”
Frogger does a very good job of representing the arcade game within the limitations of the TRS-80 low-resolution graphics. My only complaint is that it is occasionally difficult to distinguish the crocodiles from the logs. Some other Frogger adaptations I have seen suffer from sluggish player controls, but this version has a very snappy keyboard response.
One problem common to computer adaptations of Frogger resulted from the fact that the Frogger arcade game used a screen that was higher than it was wide. The very tall playing field meant that both the road and river stages could be visible at all times. Computer screens were not that tall and this often meant that the road and river were compressed to fit together on the screen.
The TRS-80 version took the novel approach of splitting the playing field into two stages. Only after completing the road stage does the river stage scroll into view. I happen to think that this works better because the two stages are completely separate.
Frog is safe!
The Cornsoft Group sold Frogger until the end of the TRS-80 game market in 1983.
Radio Shack began selling the Cogito Software rerelease of the Cornsoft Group Frogger in their 1985 catalog. Both the cassette version (catalog number 26-1958) and disk version (catalog number 26-1959) cost $19.95. Several years after that, Roy Soltoff of MISOSYS brought back Frogger as part of a Cornsoft Group game collection.