Not bad, but Frogger is much better
By Ethan C. NoblesMarch 6, 2006
"We goin' riding on the 'Freeway'!"
The computer opponent isn't much of a challenge.
Here's a variation that just has trucks (filled with cows, no doubt) gunning for your chicken.
Every Atari 2600 fan knows (or ought to
know!) that Activision mastered the craft of creating games that were
influenced by arcade hits, but different enough to avoid lawsuits. After
all, Chopper Command is quite similar to Defender on many levels,
and what is Robot Tank but a “lite” version of Battlezone? Freeway
was obviously influenced by Frogger, but not nearly as successful as
other arcade-like games produced by Activision.
Now, 1981's Freeway isn't bad at all, but it pales in comparison
to the 2600 version of Frogger released by Parker Brothers. The 2600
version of Frogger, after all, preserved many of the elements folks
went all crazy for in the arcades. The fact Frogger is so good rather
rendered Freeway unnecessary in the minds of many, I'm afraid. Let me
explain. Remember Atari's Defender for the 2600? That game is hated by
many, and Activison's Chopper Command was viewed as a superior
alternative for fans of the Defender arcade game. That's not the case
with Freeway -- a darn good port of Frogger already exists, so why
bother with this game?
Ah, but there is a redeeming quality to Freeway. The game is an
absolute hoot with two players. Believe me, two players competing to see
which one can get his chicken to the other side of the road 20 times in
the alloted time creates some heated competition, indeed.
In Freeway, the player is charged with getting his chicken from one
side of the highway to the other while avoiding traffic. Why did the
chicken cross the road? Who cares? That chicken is determined, and it's
your job to get him there without getting hit by a car. There are eight
whole variations of the game, each one with various traffic conditions.
With all that variety, you're sure to find one which will challenge you.
If the game seems to easy, set the difficulty switch to “A.” See,
there's not much violence per se in the game as the chicken doesn't die
when hit by a car. On the “B” difficulty setting , he'll be pushed back
a little bit and sent back to the starting point if the “A” difficulty
Indeed, this is a very simple game which requires a successful player to
have good eye-hand coordination and timing. What makes the game
difficult is the fact the chicken can only move in a straight, vertical
line. There's no horizontal movement at all, so forget about trying to
run from cars and such nonsense. The poor chicken can only advance or
The graphics in this thing are quite good and the animation is
top-notch, too. That's no surprise in an Activision game, of course. The
vehicles are multi-colored and drawn quite well. The chicken is solid
yellow, but “flutters” amusingly when hit by a car. Graphically, this
thing is simple but very nice to see. The sounds aren't bad, either.
Cars honk their horns very convincingly, which helps create the
atmosphere of crowded freeways quite well.
The control is fine, too. Moving the chicken forward and back isn't a
problem at all. There's nothing worse than sloppy controls in a game,
and such a nasty condition is avoided in Freeway.
All in all, this isn't a bad game, but it does seem very unnecessary
when the superior Frogger is available. Frogger is one of the better
games available for the 2600, and it isn't exactly hard to find, either.
Still, this is a pretty good two-player game featuring good graphics and
a good amount of challenge. If you can find it for a decent price, grab
it. Otherwise, just stick with Frogger and you probably won't feel too
bad about not having a copy of Freeway.