Some ideas are era defining. Others are so exceptional the magnitude of their genius is lost on the wastrel humans who first discover them.
And then there’s Superfrog (1993), another effort to create a hopeful Super Mario rival in the 16-bit heyday of platformer action. Huzzah!
The History of Superfrog
Like many 2D platformers in the early 1990s, developers tried to play off Nintendo’s iconic character and Sega’s Sonic to try and hit commercial gold.
We had weird efforts such as Mohawk & Headphone Jack that failed dismally and sank without a trace.
Others had a brief moment of glory before finding a cult following. Superfrog just about falls into that category.
The work of British developer Team17 (that one responsible for Worms), it launched on Commodore’s Amiga personal computer in 1993.
Once available, gamers were impressed by its easy charms and obvious Sonic the Hedgehog style mechanics.
Plus belting soundtrack numbers such as this. Rock on!
Naturally, there’s a game to defeat here as well. But the whole experience is prestened in rather user-friendly fashion.
The idea is to complete levels by defeating baddies in typical 2D action.
Superfrog is a surprisingly nimble beast who can amble through his world with much speed. There’s a plot at play here, too, which is explained in the game’s intro.
In case you’re a bit dim, the plot involves an unnamed prince who’s turned into a frog by a jealous witch.
Yes, so taken from that famous fairy tale majigger.
Worse for the frog, his princess love interest is nabbed by the witch. The horror!
Happy days, though, as he happens across a bottle of Lucozade and, after drinking it, he’s transformed into Superfrog with a bunch of new powers. Amazeballs!
And when you complete the game you’re treated to this quite extraordinary ending.
So, yes, there we have it. Superfrog is a short 2D platformer that had a strange appeal to Amiga gamers of the day.
It’s remained enduringly popular as a cult favourite thanks to the title’s breezy nature and mild-mannered ways.
We must say, the sight of that smug git on the front cover is a bit too wince-inducing. Smuggery is a tedious affair, but we guess it was influenced by the Garfield comics. Maybe.
It did enjoy a new lease of life on GOG, but this all came to a ribbity end a few years ago (more on that below).
But with a title like Superfrog, it was only ever going to catch our attention eventually. All hail the frog!
The Arrival of Superfrog HD
In 2013, to mark the game’s 20th anniversary, Team17 did a big old HD upgrade for Superfrog’s lingering fan base.
The HD overhaul was launched on PS3, Vita, Steam, and as a mobile game.
However, this version was discontinued in 2017 as sales were poor and critics/fan gave something of a backlash about its quality.
Team17 then seemed to want done with the series and removed the old version from GOG and the HD version from everything.
A rather ignominious end for Superfrog. But that’s what happens when you’re a smug git.