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 is selected.
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 retreat.
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.