Graphics: 5
Sound: 4
Control: 4
Depth: 3
Overall: 4.5

Frogger (Starpath Version)

By: Stephen Landrum
Published By: Starpath Corporation
Original Arcade Game By: Konami
Released: 1983

As a young lad, Frogger was one of my favorite arcade games, and I later played many, many rounds of Parker Bros’ home version on the Atari VCS. Streamlined to suit the system’s limitations, it was solid conversion and the addictive gameplay was largely intact. I would not be surprised if Frogger was the company’s bestselling cartridge.

Years later, I discovered the Starpath Supercharger, a device that loaded games via cassette tapes and also gave the VCS some much needed extra RAM. Through a licensing loophole, Starpath was able to produce another port of Frogger. They swung for the fences, and their version—with the superior capabilities of the Supercharger—bests the previous one in every way. The incidental music is fully implemented, the turtles look like turtles and the cars have wheels. More importantly, the gameplay is more accurate—it really feels like the arcade game.

One welcome feature they retained from the Parker Bros’ version is the easy mode, which allows you to stay on the logs, looping over to the other side of the screen rather than being crushed.

Acquiring both a rare hardware add-on and a working cassette tape from the 80s is a tall order these days, but a CD compilation of all the Starpath titles (Stella Gets a New Brain) was released more recently, and well… the internet provides. If you do have a Supercharger, I highly recommend tracking down this version of Frogger. In some ways I prefer it even to the arcade!

- Ben Langberg


Game Variations

Difficulty switches: In the "A" position (more difficult), you'll lose a life if you float beyond the edge of the river (screen). In the "B" position, you will appear again on the other side of the screen.