Frogger II: Threeedeep
While not nearly as successful as its predecessor, Frogger II was a unique three screened "forge ahead" action game. Although the overall game goal stayed the same (get your frog home), the action elements changed dramatically. Unlike Frogger, Frogger II was an original game by Parker Brothers and not based on an existing arcade game.
Frogger II is separated into three different screens: Water, Land, and Air. Each of these screens contains a certain number of berths (homes) that you must fill. The three screens are also connected, so if you fall out of the air you'll land in the land screen, and if you fall into the water on the land screen you'll end up in the underwater screen. This idea of connected screens makes the game much more enjoyable (and complex).
This is where you start out each level, at the bottom of a lake. Here Frogger must make is way to the top of the screen and fill all the log berths which float across the top of the screen. Unfortunately there are a lot of things between the lake bottom and the surface. Rows of colorful fish swim back and forth across the screen; these fish would like nothing better than to have Frogger for lunch. Also blocking Frogger's path are submarines (yes submarines!), so unless you want to be splattered against the hull of a fast moving sub you'd do best to avoid these. Larry the eel also makes an appearance on this screen blowing bubbles from the bottom of the screen. While Larry is deadly to the touch, his bubbles are worth big bonus points so try and grab all you can. If you feel that there's too much traffic in your way, you can hitch a ride on Joe the diving turtle. Joe will safely bring you through the fish and to the middle of the screen (you have to make it the rest of the way on your own). If you want to go to the surface of the lake (and to the next screen), simply jump on one of the floating logs (but not into a berth). Oh and be careful not to let the current carry you off the side of the screen, Frogger still hasn't gotten the hang of "wraparound".
I feel I should mention here that the Underwater screen in the 2600 version of Frogger II differs greatly from all other versions of the game. Other versions (400/800, 5200, Colecovision, C-64) have different creatures swimming in the water. The rows of fish are still present, but they are safe to touch and actually help prevent the current from sweeping Frogger off the side of the screen. Between the layers of these helpful fish are large barracuda and piranha which will kill Frogger instantly (like the tiny fish do in the 2600 version). Instead of submarines, other versions got two rows of crocodiles which make infinitely more sense than submarines (and look better too)! These changes may have been made due to the limitations of the 2600, but they also drastically changed the game. I just felt that these differences were worth noting.
The surface of this lake is also teeming with life, fortunately for Frogger most of the creatures on this screen are helpful and won't kill him. Frogger starts off on some lily pads, jumping on these lily pads is worth bonus points but they disappear when you jump off so be careful. Also take note that this screen becomes much more difficult as the levels get higher, I'll note what changes as we go on (watch out for the shark!). Now make your way to the row of baby ducks, the babies are safe to ride on but watch out for Momma! From the ducks, jump onto the hippos (they'll shake you off at higher levels so be careful), and then onto the whale. Mr. Whale has a bad tendency to dive under the surface at the higher levels so make sure your on his spout when he does so. From the whale make your way to the turtles (which also dive at the higher levels) and onto the life preservers that are pulled by the tugboat (Oh and don't smack into the tugboat!). If you want to go back to the underwater screen simply jump in the water (simple as that), but if you want to go to the air screen you need to jump on Momma duck's back. Be careful though, jumping on her head is still deadly!
This screen stayed pretty much the same as the other versions. There are a few notable differences however such as the lily pad pattern doesn't change at the higher levels, and some of the creatures have been rearranged. For some reason the hippos now replace the floating log that was below the whale, and an extra row of lily pads has been added where the hippos used to be. In all the other versions crocodiles populate the row below the ducks, but now there are some diving turtles there. Also notable is the fact that Frogger actually starts off the screen in the 2600 version, in all other versions he starts on one of the floating logs.
Frogger has finally made it to that deluxe apartment in the sky! Well maybe not, but he is airborne and needs to get past a nasty old dragon to make it home. Clyde the dragon likes to roam the sky protecting all those tasty butterflies (which Frogger can munch for points). Make sure Frogger doesn't come in contact with Clyde or he'll croak (I bet you were wondering when I was going to say that). Also note that for each butterfly that Frogger eats, a hole will appear in the clouds. If Frogger falls through this hole he'll plummet back to the lake surface, so unless that's the route you want to go be careful. Unbeknownst to most people, clouds are incredibly bouncy! In fact Frogger can use the clouds to propel himself skyward and grab onto those low flying birds. By jumping form bird to bird (and the occasional zeppelin), Frogger can make his way to the cloud berth at the top of the screen. Watch out for the plane at the higher levels, as little frogs were not meant to fly in planes! Also watch out for Juanita the white bat. Juanita looks like a large white butterfly and will appear at the higher levels, and in case you didn't guess it yet, she's deadly to the touch. If you've happened to earn 2,000 points somewhere along your journey, you will see a stork carrying a little bundle of froggy joy. Touch the stork and you'll earn an extra life (gotta love how they make you work for it in this game).
This screen is very similar to the other versions, with the exception of Juanita the bat. In every other version of the game Juanita is replaced by a black butterfly called Bertha (same deadly properties, different name). Clyde is much much larger in other versions, and he almost fills the screen when he appears. It is also possible to jump on Clyde's wings (which are clearly visible on the larger version of Clyde), but doing so is difficult. Also changed in other versions were the Zeppelins, they were taken out and replaced by other large birds such as pterodactyls.
While Frogger II may not bear much resemblance to its predecessor, it's still a fun game. The 2600 version may not be the prettiest out there, but most of the gameplay elements were retained and that's what's important. The one thing I could never understand is why the heck they called it Threeedeep (that's three e's). I'm sure marketing probably thought it sounded hip at the time.