Retro Gaming Radio

 

Shane R. Monroe’s Retro Gaming Radio featured a ‘flash back’ segment about Superfrog in its May 2006 show. For copyright reasons, I am not reproducing the audio of the feature, but I have transcribed the segment and have reproduced it here as text! Enjoy!

 

"Flashback" Segment on RetroGaming Radio, May 2006, hosted by Shane R. Monroe

Transcribed by Pooka, 28 May 2006

Uploaded 14 February 2008

 

This month's bonus flashback is the Team17 game Superfrog, which originally debuted on the Commodore Amiga. (It) also had a CD32 version, and I believe a PC version, which, of course, the PC version didn't quite capture the charm of the original Amiga version, and of course that's the one I'll be revieweing for you this month.

 

Superfrog, if for some reason you lived under a rock and you never played Nintendo games - let's say somehow you completely managed to bypass the whole Mario franchise: Mario Brothers, Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, um... if you managed to - if you managed to bypass all of those, and you look at Superfrog as a stand-alone game, it would be the definitive platform game.

And I say that because if you play Superfrog, you are essentially playing all of these different games combined into one absolutely gorgeous-looking platformer.

 

The game is actually even more clever than most of the platformers that I've played. Now, before we go any further, I'm a big slut for Super Mario Brothers; played it in the arcade, uh... didn't play it really at home, Great Giana Sisters, which was of course a complete knock-off of Super Mario Brothers, and I'm big into the New Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo DS. So I've had a bit of experience with some of the Nintendo-generation platformers. I've played a bit of Yoshi's Island on the GameBoy Advance.

Uh... so there's a lot of different things as you go through the Mario lore: things like hidden items, hidden passageways, coins, power-ups, uh... there's a whole facade of different Mario-related themes. Now, what I find interesting is that Superfrog gathers them all together into one platformer! And, not only being a very beautiful-looking game, a great sounding game, it's filled with all sorts of nuances that make it a great standing game all on its own!

 

Team17, of course, is responsible for all sorts of great games like Alien Breed, Project-X, uh, there's - there's so many great games from Team17 that you know it's gonna be a winner. Superfrog also had another characteristic for those of you who were big into the Amiga back at the time: there was a graphic artist that used to do these incredible animated movies, and his name was Eric Schwartz, and he used this, um... this Amiga animation package to create all these cartoons. This kinda came out with, like, like... one every couple of months. Well, he was charged to do the introduction animation to Superfrog, so that was kind of like his first commercial venture, and in those days it was a very small community, the Amiga kinda was. You know, you felt like if somebody owned an Amiga you've known 'em forever? Tha sort of thing? I know it's kinda creepy, but, you know, the Amiga people were a very tight community, you know, and we - of course - corresponded with Eric Schwartz, and we'd been big fans of his cartoons, and his little movies. So it kind of like seeing your buddy get publishes for the first time, so that was kinda cool.

 

Superfrog takes you, uh, through various levels, and the levels are very, very diverse. And that's the other cool thing about it. Takes you through levels looking for gold coins (sound familiar?), but ths time the coins aren't just extras or a means to an extra life, you have to find a certain number of coins in order to unlock the exit, usually - like - hidden in a tree. And... you have to find, like, a certain amount of coins. Now, there's always bonus coins, you can pick up extra coins. But you had to get a certain number of coins to get the exit open at the end.

 

Just forget about a story - okay, of course there's a story. Uh: bad witch takes your girlfriend, turns you into a frog, you gotta go find her: there you go. That's your story. You know what? That's all the sotry you really need for a game like this. Trust me, folks. So: you use, uh, this special... formula... I'm trying to think of what it is... it was some UK thing... Lu - co - zade? Something like that? (Yerrrrsss... - Pooka) I'm trying to remember exactly what the potion was, but there's these little, like, orange soda bottles. And these sort of things granted you powers, made you into Superfrog. And there are tons and tons of weapons and powerups. Uh - you had an invincibility, one that turns you invisible, one that increased - ah - ah, increased your speed, ah, what were those sort of things that were - ah! Wings! You could get wings! Uh - this would allow you... 'member in - I can't remember which Super Mario it was, shows how bad off I am - where you could, uh... it had that, like... it's not a raccoon, I know. I know it's not a raccoon, it's some Japanese raccoon-looking character (Tanooki - Pooka), you could put on this little suit, and could could kind of hover, kinda float - well, the wings in Superfrog help you float. You drink the Lucozade to build up your energy.

 

So. You had tons of different powerups, as well as - um - uh, bonus things that you could pick up that would be worth more points. Now, your goal, your - your trip - took you through, um, many different worlds. It took you through a forest-type level, a castle, a circus, a pyramid, an ice world, a space world, and there's even a couple more hidden worlds in there. So you have the - the Mario Haunted Castle - I mean, it's really, really easy to, um... to say, "Hey! This is a complete knock-off of everything Mario!" and, in some respects, you'd be right. However, in doing a little research, I realised that Superfrog actually predates, by several years in some cases, the Mario technology. The flying raccoon suit: uh, I believe that Superfrog predated that! And I know for a fact that Superfrog had hidden areas, inside of the landscape, which Yoshi's Island used!

 

So: I think it's kind of funny (and I'm sure someone's gonna come up with some numbers that prove me wrong, but I wanted you guys to know, I went out and researched this crap)... I thought it was kind of interesting that it's very simple to disregard Superfrog as nothing more than a Mario clone, but it really does stand on its own. The hidden areas, there are spikes all over the place, there are tons of arcadish type of little puzzles for you to solve, and sometimes - they've got springboards, y'know, that you can jump and you have to hover and fly, there are hidden coin - uh, like, hudden mushrooms, or, uh, hidden, uh, coin blocks just like in Mario. This - this is absolutely THE Amiga Mario. I mena, literally, you could reskin this and you'd have Mario Brothers. You could. (You could? - Pooka) But, it's insane, some of the stuff (extra stuff) that this thing has.

 

You're also on a time limit to get out of the... you know, to get out of the forest... and, something that's kind of unique to, uh (well, I know you're gonna say it's not really unique, but...) it's unique to Superfrog in the fact that you can gamble the coins! This is pretty cool, okay, follow me on this one: everybody likes the fruit machines, especially the folks in the UK. The fruit machines are all over the place. Well: inside of Superfrog, when you finsh the level, you can actually gamble away the coins that you've collected, and you play a fruit machine, and based on your winnings you can earn points, an extra life - or, and this is the cool part, this is that really made Superfrog kick ass - every now and then you could get the three Lucozade cans, or whatever, and you'll get a level code that lets you skip everything, and go to some world, some other world, that you haven't been to before! That's way cool.

 

There's so many cool little nuances about the game, um, along with - again, I harp on the fact that the graphics are absolutely unreal. Go to LemonAmiga.com and search for Superfrog. (Excuse me? Go where for Superfrog graphics? - Pooka) The graphics are very, very clean. They're exactly what you'd expect out of the Amiga.

 

Uh - anyway.

So... where am I going with this? I wanted to talk about Superfrog because, with the - with the New Super Mario Brothers out I keep thinking to myself, "Man, so much of this, you know, so much of this came from, you know, seemingly came from Superfrog!" You know, I played Superfrog more than I ever played Mario, and this is, this is... this is my Mario: Superfrog! And if you hadn't had an opportunity to play it, and I know there's more of you out there that are platform whores than I am, you must play Superfrog. This is the g... this is, like, like, sorta like Super Mar... the new Super Mario Brothers... it is a Greatest Hits platformer. Pretty much anything you've seen in a platform game is in here somewhere. These guys have combined it all into this cool game.

 

Anyway, there's t... like I said, there's tons and tons of levels: the ice, the, uh... there's even a hidden level - there's a hidden level called Project-F where, if you're familiar with Team17 games, it was called Project-X, where you actually fly through space inside of the Project-X environment, shooting things down, like, um - R-Type! It's an R-Type... game! But you play with the frog! I mean - how cool is that? The game is loaded with secrets, loaded with hidden stuff, uh, it is a first class job. It was absolutely one of the cleanest, best games I'd seen for the Amiga.

I still play it today, through emulation, and - you know - if you got a GP2X, you throw WinUAE or, uh, UAE2X on there, uh, it's - it's great. Um... especially if you've just finished Super Mario Brothers, you haven't taken up Super Princess Peach yet on the DS, uh... you know, you're looking for a new platformer to hold you over until Yoshi's Island 2 comes out, go find Superfrog. And play it. I think you will agree that it is the culmination of all the best platformers, in a very tidy clean package, and it's fun! It's very cute, very fun... I don't know what else I could tell you about it, folks. I... I play so much Superfrog it's actually criminal. Somewhere, on my Amiga CD32 copy of Superfrog, I actually have the level codes written down that I'd won inside the game.

 

Way cool, folks. The... I... the... the fruit machine's a blast, I'd... I'd waste all my coins, every single level, frickin' playing that stupid fruit machine. Very cool.