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Croak! The Amphibian Migration Simulation for the Amiga

May 14th, 2009
Croak! title screen

Croak! title screen

Croak! was written in 1992 because a friend wanted a decent Amiga version of Frogger. At that point I hadn’t managed to complete anything worthwhile for the Amiga, a machine which had so many other fun ways of wasting your time. Croak! took about a month to write, then I submitted it to Amiga Format magazine, and it took off from there.

If you are unfamiliar with the game concept then here is the synopsis from the readme file:

This program attempts to simulate, as accurately as possible, one of the most fascinating stages in the life-cycle of the Australian Cane Toad. As everyone knows, the eggs of the Cane Toad are laid within the carcasses of dead sheep. In this nutrient-rich environment the tadpoles quickly mature, and soon there are a multitude of young toads ready to begin their famous migration to the nearest creek or river bed. This journey frequently takes them across busy roads, and rivers whose erratic currents and high toxicity defy the bulky toad’s best attempts at swimming.

Croak! gameplay

Croak! gameplay

Croak! was not an exact conversion of Frogger and never tried to be (one reviewer described it as perversion rather than conversion!) The only Frogger I’d ever played was Hoppy for the TRS-80 Model 1. I didn’t even like Frogger and would have preferred to have released a completely original game. I know, however, that the success of Croak! was entirely due to the fact that there was a demand for Frogger on the Amiga. So I’d like to take this opportunity to kiss Konami’s butt and encourage everyone to buy whichever official Frogger they’re selling at the moment.

Croak! was never placed in the public domain. Amiga Format solicited for coverdisk submissions and paid me a token amount for the right to publish it, but that’s as far as it went. So now I officially declare Croak! to be in the public domain and all you people who copied it can finally sleep at night!

If you have an Amiga emulator (or a real Amiga) you can download CROAK.ZIP which containes a bootable ADF file. Make sure you emulate an early Amiga like the A500, or the game will run too fast (as seen in the YouTube video below).

Croak 2

The sequel, Croak 2, was released in 1995, resplendent with magic butterflies, an NTSC mode for the Yanks, spreadable blood stains, less flicker, no speed issues and generally more polish. This time I included a shareware notice.

Croak 2 title screen

Croak 2 title screen

A friend of mine uploaded it to Adam, a local BBS. Two years later it appeared on an Amiga User International coverdisk.  Two very noble individuals have sent me the optional fee. Many thanks to them.

I later discovered it had a bug where the frog was invisible if you launched the game from Workbench on some Amigas (something to do with setpatch?) but it was fine if you booted into it.

If you want to play Croak today, then Croak 2 is the version to get. Download CROAK2.ZIP for the bootable ADF file.

For a bit of fun, I’m going to maintain Croak 2’s status as shareware. Here’s a PayPal button to make it easy for you if you’ve been plagued by guilt all these years.

Croak Links

Having only recently discovered the extent of Croak’s presence on the net, my head is still spinning somewhat (and is appreciably larger too).

Croak 2 gameplay

Croak 2 gameplay

  • Here’s a description and some reviews of Croak! over at Lemon Amiga.
  • Here’s Croak! listed at the Hall of Light. Here’s the listing for Croak 2.
  • Here’s Croak 2 at Aminet.
  • I’m flattered that somebody called Syndicate has actually created a clone of Croak! using Flash. It’s not exactly the same, but you can play it online right now (it’s everywhere). The graphics and sounds are mine, but for some reason the turtles are from Frogger and the frog has shrunk. The title screen music demonstrates quite effectively why the original Croak! didn’t have any.
  • See this thread where bippym has managed to fix the speed and invisible frog issues when running on a real Amiga, using something called WHDLOAD.

Croak in the Media

Firstly I would like to express my extreme gratitude to all those over at the Amiga Magazine Rack. Until a week ago I knew that Croak! had been featured in six magazines. I had no idea that the count was almost double that!

Amiga Format 35

Amiga Format 35 - can you spot Croak?

  • Croak! first appeared in June 1992 in Amiga Format, Issue 35 (page 8) after I personally submitted it to them. It was included on the coverdisk and you can see it on the front cover too. They paid me something like forty pounds for the right to publish it (after I sent them a friendly reminder). From there, the ball really started rolling…
  • It was next picked up in September 1992 by The One Amiga, Issue 48 (page 9). Croak! is on coverdisk two and you can see a bit of it on the front cover. They said: “Yes, it’s Frogger!  And not just any old Frogger.  We reckon it’s the best Amiga version of the classic arcade game yet.”
  • The same month it was reviewed in Amiga Power, Issue 17 (page 83). “Croak is a polished version of the game. The controls are very positive so that you can wait quite happily until the very last second to make a jump if needs be. It also shifts at a fair old rate which is essential to make playing this type of game worthwhile.” … “As Frogger clones go this is first rate, but do we really need another one?”
  • The October 1994 editions of Amiga Format and The One Amiga both mentioned Croak in their reviews of the Golden Oldies 2 PD compilation, the latter describing it as a “superb Frogger clone”.
  • In January 1994 it was gushingly reviewed by Australian Commodore and Amiga Review, Vol 11 No 1. “Apart from the fact that it’s flawlessly programmed, the best thing about Croak is the simultaneous two-player mode, that transforms the game into a vicious contest for homes and bonuses.” Their effusive praise might have something to do with the fact they were trying to flog it on a disk for five bucks.
  • In April 1994 Croak! appeared on a coverdisk attached to Amiga User International Vol 8 No 3 (page 10). “Amphibian fun for everyone!”
  • In June 1994 it was included on the coverdisk of a French magazine Amiga Dream Issue 8. There are no scans available but it was on page 7.
  • Croak! was reviewed again in August 1994 by the The One, Issue 71 (page 105). The reviewer was obviously a different person this time around: “Sadly, this isn’t so much conversion as perversion, as Croak does little to duplicate the original Frogger other than capture its playability. The sounds are new and the dinky tunes that enhanced the original have gone. All that said, this still remains one of the more fun copies of an ageless classic.”
  • In October 1994, Amiga CD32 Gamer, Issue 5 (page 6) said “Everyone loves a good Frogger clone!”. They included Croak! on their CD. A shame that it runs at twice normal speed on a CD32!
  • Croak 2 got its day in the sun in April 1997 when it was included on a coverdisk (The Great AUI Games Disk No. 1) attached to Amiga User International Vol 11 No 4 (page 10). On this occasion I was sent a note of congratulations and a copy of the magazine!
  • And finally, Croak 2 was included on the coverdisk for Amiga Format, Issue 127 (page 82). The article’s author might have licked one-too-many cane toads though, because he mentions snakes, alligators and otters, none of which are in the game!

Leaving the 20th century behind, I was delighted to find Croak! on YouTube. The emulator is obviously running way too fast, but who cares!

Croak Trivia

(As if most of the above wasn’t trivial!)

Croak 2 victory


  • When Croak! starts, the subliminal message “Kate Bush is God – she really is!” can sometimes be seen briefly at the top of the screen. I have since come to accept that this statement probably isn’t wholly true.
  • To croak, of course, is to die. Add an exclamation point and it becomes a command. Quite a violent title, really. When you die, you leave a persistent blood stain on the road that later frogs can slip on. There are no less than ten different blood splatter images.
  • Croak was written in C on a 2MB Amiga 1000 with Phoenix replacement motherboard and 52MB Quantum Fireball hard disk.
  • The chicken and crow impersonations were made by me with a microphone and a digitizer. I can’t remember where I stole the croaking sound from.
  • The blood in Croak 2 is smearable. With a little effort, you can cover the whole road in blood. For a family game, I probably should have made the blood green.
  • There is a chicken on the other side of the road because a snake would be too wide to fit into a single sprite. It also makes a lot of sense to have a chicken on the other side of the road.
  • The original game runs flat-out which is why it is too fast on Amigas with a clock speed greater than 7.14MHz. It doesn’t use double-buffering, so it flickers a fair bit.
  • Croak 2 works out how far to move each row of cars or logs based on how much time has passed since the last move, so it runs at the same speed on all Amigas and smoother on faster ones. Flicker is almost eliminated by waiting until the raster beam has moved beyond each row before moving it.

The Butterfly Effect

These are the effects of the various butterflies in Croak 2. Persistent effects last until the next butterfly is caught or disappears off the bottom of the screen.

  • White gives you an extra frog
  • Pink awards 500 points
  • Red slows you down
  • Green speeds you up
  • Purple kills you
  • Cyan freezes the traffic
  • Magenta slows the traffic and river
  • Yellow speeds up the traffic and river
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