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Banzai Rabbit

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Why did the rabbit cross the road?

Product: Banzai Rabbit (formerly Frogman) | Publisher: Big Pixel Studios | Developer: Revolutionary Concepts | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Banzai Rabbit (formerly Frogman) iPhone, thumbnail 1
There’s a school of thought which suggests that the most enduring video game concepts revolve around a single, simple, straightforward objective.

In Konami’s arcade classic Frogger that was merely getting from one side of a busy road to the other.

Revolutionary Concepts's Banzai Rabbit owes a massive debt to that coin-op veteran – as its original title, Frogman, attests – but developer Revolutionary Concepts has successfully taken the time-worn blueprint and embellished it enough to create a thoroughly enjoyable iPhone action game.

Hop to it

Donning the skintight bodysuit of the heroic Banzai Rabbit – an unholy fusion of domestic pet and brilliant scientist – you have to rescue civilians that have been contaminated by an evil genius known as The Flea.

To do this you have to navigate your way across a wide range of obstacles – including busy roads, shipping lanes, railways tracks, and grimy sewer networks.

Each rescue is done against the clock. Take too long to reach your target and the mutating effects of The Flea’s poison will take hold and the civilian in question will be turned into a hideous insect.

Every time you save someone, the camera spins around 180-degrees and you have to get back to the other side of the screen, where yet another hapless human awaits. Once you've liberated five victims then it's off to the next stage, but doing so isn’t an easy task by any means.

Bright eyes, burning like fire

There's an array of hazards: for example, you might find you have to cross a busy freeway before hopping onto a railway track and then negotiating a river choked with ships and submarines – the latter of which have a nasty habit of submerging when you least expect it.

Thankfully, Banzai Rabbit has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. You can collect power-ups that slow down time or allow you to suspend your character in mid-air, thus avoiding an unfortunate collision or drowning.

You also want to collect as many glowing mutagen balls as possible because these allow you to continue from where you left off if you happen to run out of lives.

Speaking of which, you get the chance to boost your tally of chances by participating in bonus stages that crop up every now and then. Set against the backdrop of a busy street, these levels contain a multitude of stars – five of which grant you an additional life.

A matter of perspective

It’s clear that Banzai Rabbit has the trademark Frogger gameplay nailed down and the eye-catching 3D visuals really accentuate the experience. In-game objects are tremendously detailed and the comic-book aesthetic works brilliantly.

The biggest bugbear is that the 3D camera often doesn’t provide the best perspective. It tracks your character, but it's sometimes slow to move and the awkward viewing angle can result in some annoying deaths as you misjudge exactly where you are in relation to the various hazards.

Mercifully, this doesn’t impinge on your enjoyment too much, and the lion’s share of the challenge comes fairly and squarely, with some of the later levels requiring lightning reflexes, a keen eye, and considerable levels of concentration.

With its mixture of fantastic visuals, engaging gameplay, and stern challenge, Banzai Rabbit is easily the best Frogger clone we’ve seen to date.
 
Banzai Rabbit
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 15 June 2010
Banzai Rabbit doesn’t try to conceal its source of inspiration, but the end result is a fantastic recreation of Konami’s classic Frogger – albeit one with a few regrettable camera niggles
 
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