Sunday, August 8, 2021

Matter of Import 52: Frog & Spiders [1981 Taito]


Today's game is Taito's 1981 Frog and Spiders, a fixed screen shooter where the player controls a frog as he shoots at spiders on a web slung between two trees. 

It controls like many other fixed shooters – you can move left, right, and shoot – with the addition of a jump button to help you leap over the snakes that will occasionally slither by from either side of the screen. 

Why is a frog shooting? Why are the spiders and bees you face shooting back? I don't know. Maybe coding your frog tongue was too complex, but it seems like a waste to invoke a frog and bugs without letting you actually eat any of them. 

In a twist that reminds me of Sasuke vs Commander if you shoot a spider once they don't die, they just fall out of the web towards you, and upon hitting the ground will eventually emerge from the holes in the trees on either side to rejoin the web. 

The bee enemy likewise has a slightly interesting mechanic – shoot their hive and a trio will fly out to harry you for awhile. But in the end slightly interesting is the best thing I can say about Frog and Spiders – maybe I'd think more highly of it if it'd come out the year earlier, but by the end of 1981 we'd already seen many of the classic golden age titles – notably Frogger – and Frog and Spiders just pales in comparison. 

I give the game a D ranking.

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