Shall We Play A Game?


For Christmas I asked for a Game Boy Advance game named Mario vs. Donkey Kong. I got Donkey Konga, but not the aforementioned GBA title, which I wanted so badly I made a special trip into the local town to get on Boxing Day morning.


I haven’t stopped playing it since. Forget Fire Emblem, and all the other Super Mario Advance titles, even. Mario vs. DK is WHERE IT’S AT.

What makes this game even more incredible than it already is (I won’t go into details, this isn’t a review) happens to be the fact that Mario vs. DK is in fact a basic port of an earlier game called Donkey Kong ’94 for the Game Boy (Classic), which in itself is a port of the original Donkey Kong arcade game! The GB version added to that, and Mario vs. DK adds even more.


Now, I was daydreaming recently, as a friend of mine asked me if she could play on my GBA, and I said sure. She enjoyed Mario vs. DK, but found the puzzles a little too hard. What she needed, I reasoned, was a straight platformer. One where you pick things up, and race through the levels. Something slick and playable, but fun and not too taxing. Something, one might say, green.


I envisioned a world where Superfrog has been a classic Game Boy title. Can you imagine it? Holding one of those old, chunky Game Boys, playing Superfrog! Magnificent! Wonderful! And incredibly geeky…


So geeky, in fact, that I even wrote a list of categories regarding how Superfrog might work on the Game Boy…


List Of Categories Regarding How Superfrog Might Work On The Game Boy


1)      Graphics. This is a little puzzling. All Game Boy games were made to work in a monochrome fashion, yet there must have been some degree of colour in the programming. Plug a GB game into a Super Game Boy, a GB player, a GB Colour or a GBA, and the game will immediately look like it’s been fed steroids. That, or it will be in colour – rather basic colour, agreed, but colour. The problem with Superfrog is that colour is a very important factor to it – you can tell where the secret passages are because they are a slightly different shade from the rest of the walls, and so on. Superfrog himself, being a frog, needs to be green. However, we have to remember that this is Game Boy… I don’t see the problem with having the outlines of the Superfrog sprite in black, with a little shading of his body, but nothing too complex. Well, I do, but, anyway…

2)      Gameplay. Easy as hell. Consider the controls of Superfrog for a minute. Jump = Button A. Fire = Button B. Move = Control Pad. Taking into account that’s all that Superfrog does, this could easily work. Think… you’re on an ice slope in World 5. You slide along. Hit A to launch yourself into the air, and pummel B… he flaps the wings. Marvellous!

3)      Lastability. Again, this isn’t a problem. Let’s do some basic maths. Six worlds, four levels in each = 6 x 4 = 24 levels. Add Project F and the Final Battle = 26 levels. The aforementioned Donkey Kong ’94 had one hundred levels, PLUS the original 4-level arcade game as a starter world! There’s definitely enough space in the GB cart to hold all of Superfrog, if not twice! (Anyone remember Super Mario Land? You could play through that game and then you could play through a new version of the same!)

4)      Music. Definitely the best thing about the game. Now, I don’t know about you, but I really like Game Boy music. For a basic machine, it pulls off sound incredibly well. The Dr. Mario ‘Fever’ theme still remains one of my favourite video game scores – and so many more. Remember the music from Pokémon? Put me next to a GB and have the music from Superfrog blasting out of it; I won’t complain!

5)      Improvements. Taking Donkey Kong ’94 into account again here… the original DK, plus a hundred new levels. How about the Witch reanimating and making off with Superfrog’s girlfriend, after she has been turned into a frog… OR, making off with Superfrog? In desperation, he chucks (anyone notice the pun? ‘Chucks’? No?) a bottle of Lucozade at her… commence four new levels, in a fast ‘chase’ style, in order for him/her to rescue his/her Beloved, with the Witch finally running into a wall at the end, or something? Maybe six new worlds are a bit too much, but a few good chase scenes would really spice it up, don’t you think?

6)      Porting. There are three existing versions of Superfrog – Amiga, Amiga CD32, and PC. They are all (basically) the same game. Annoyingly, it’s one classic 16-bit title that hasn’t been ported to a cartridge console of any type. The only problem (apart from re-coding to a cartridge!) would be downgrading it a little, from 16 to 8 bits. As we’ve already discussed, the graphics would need to be somewhat grayscaled. Surely that would be enough… in fact, I think that the only reason Team17 didn’t port Superfrog to the Game Boy was Worms!



So, as I have illustrated quite clearly here, Superfrog would make the perfect Game Boy Classic title and would probably have sold thousands. But instead, Team17 released a poor port of Worms and their future in handheld consoles was sealed as unsuccessful. Damn it!


And a few years later, Game Boy Advance owners would unearth their old GB Classics with Superfrog still inside them. They would play through the game and marvel at its brilliance, then Nintendo would approach Team17 with the idea of a version of Superfrog for Game Boy Advance, and a whole new generation of gamers would discover the joys of frogs, witches, princesses, spuds and Lucozade.


Superfrog vs. Donkey Kong, anyone?