Frogger: Helmet Havoc
Hop on over and check out our hands-on impressions of the latest Frogger game for the Nintendo DS.
While he's not as popular as Mario, Sonic, and Pac-Man, Konami's Frogger has certainly enjoyed his time in the sun, as his career has been anything but a disaster. Appearing on a plethora of systems past and present, our green friend continues to delight audiences, and he's set to leap onto the Nintendo DS this fall in Frogger Helmet Havoc, a platform game that, despite being in full 3D manages to retain those classic 2D elements.
Unlike the original game that debuted years ago, Helmet Havoc actually has a pretty involving plot which has a pro-environmental theme. With the evil Dr. Wani trying to drill holes into everything to further his mining efforts, Frogger's called in to save not only the kingdom of Bunnington Hollow but also his home Firefly Swamp.
Much like the first Frogger you'll hop and dodge obstacles but not necessarily cars. Now there are more organic enemies to be afraid of such as lizards and giant bugs (though I would assume that he finds insects to be rather tasty...sort of like how I feel about nachos), but he's more than capable of holding his own, as he can double jump, tongue grab, and scale walls. There are also a lot of traditional platform elements such as coin nabbing and chasm leaping, and the best part is all of the action is contained within the Nintendo DS's touch screen, so you'll be able to play minigames using the stylus.
I have to admit that I'm surprised that Konami's loaded Helmet Havoc with so much stuff. Not only does the single player game include 30 levels but there are also multiplayer games you can play with up to three other people via the DS's WiFi capabilities. There's even the 1981 Frogger arcade game, but that's not that big of a surprise as retro games in classic updates are the norm these days.
Helmet Havoc is a milestone of sorts as it is the first fully 3D Frogger game to appear on a hand held, and it looks fairly decent. Resembling a PSOne game, it features bright and colorful visuals and some neat effects, but nothing about it is particularly eye-catching. It's cool to see a 3D game on a hand held, but after serious PSP playing, Frogger's pixilated visuals become a tad less impressive.
The same goes for the gameplay. While what I checked out was early the game didn't exactly knock my socks off as it appears to be a fairly straight-forward platform game that doesn't necessarily take any risks. Acceptable 3D visuals. Frogger controls well. Somewhat challenging gameplay. That's all you can really ask.
While I wasn't necessarily wowed by Frogger Helmet Havoc I do appreciate Konami's decision to keep reinventing the character by throwing him into fresh gameplay experiences. It may not topple Super Mario 64 DS in terms of platform superiority, but Frogger is a cool game that's great for kids and fans of the series.