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LOAD "FRANTIC FREDDIE II REVIEW"

Classification: Game / Platformer
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Publisher: Independent
Programmer: Dan Hotop / John Henderson
Music/Sound: NM156
Year: 2019
Rating: ★★★★
Disk: FF2 for C64.d64
FF2 for C128.d64

Finally got around to writing this review for the sequel to one of my most favourite games for the good ol' 64 when I was a kid, Frantic Freddie II. The original, Frantic Freddie, was a game that I collected very early in my floppy disk trading days in the eighties. You could say it was a “staple” for me and I enjoyed it very much, even though I wasn't all that good at playing it. In fact, at times I found it down right frustrating to play, but I kept coming back for more. I especially enjoyed the music; sometimes I would load up the game just to listen to the title track, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

I'm very thankful that Frantic Freddie II stays faithful to the vision of original developers, Kris Hatlelid and Gregor Larson. Interesting side note: it wasn't until just few years ago that I discovered that Kris and Gregor, and their publishing company Commercial Data Systems, were based in Saskatchewan, Canada, not too far from where I'm living now.

Anyway, Frantic Freddie II can be described as a continuation of the original, with new tunes, brand new levels and baddies to challenge you. Like the original, your goal is to collect all of the pots of gold on each screen without being caught by one of the three monsters inhabiting each level. Use the ladders to climb to the different levels, but you cannot cross in front of them. To get to the other side, you need to climb up one side and go down the other.

Each level has it's own layout and (as far as I can tell) different monsters that chase after you. Along with this, you also have one of the unique features that makes this Frantic Freddie: C64 SID renditions of several classic pop and rock tunes. In Frantic Freddie II, you're entertained by tunes from The Kinks, Stevie Wonder, Bananarama, Eric Clapton, Black Sabbath, and Queen. If you happen to play as miserably as I do, thankfully you can hear all the tunes by pressing :f1: and :f3: on the title screen to cycle through them.

As for how the game plays, I find it just as addicting and frustrating as the original. I know that each of the monsters' movements all follow their own rules, but I just don't seem to have the ability to anticipate their moves. Sometimes I think I know what my movements will cause them to do and for a while it seems to work. But then, BAM, they do something I wasn't expecting and catch me! Sometimes I can get a half dozen screens beat before losing a single life. Other times, I can't even make it past level three. It's frustrating as heck, but I keep coming back for more. The level interludes also made it into the sequel, which was a treat to see.

One of the really nice things about Frantic Freddie II is that there is a version of the game for both the C64 and for the C128 (running in C128 mode!). I'm not sure if it's just my personal bias or not, but the movements of Freddie seem to be more fluid when played on the C128.

This brings me to my only complaint about the game: Freddie's controls. I wish that the controls were just a little bit more forgiving, because quite often I end up losing a life from getting hung up on the ladders. Many times I'm not at the right spot to climb off or on, so trying to make precisely timed moves is rather difficult, if not impossible. But, this is also an issue I have with the original Frantic Freddie. So, here's another regard in which the sequel stays true.

Even though Frantic Freddie II doesn't bring any advancements in game-play to the Freddie franchise, I don't think it really had to. To this day I still enjoy playing Frantic Freddie, and having the expanded levels and additional tunes in Frantic Freddie II is all that I need or expected.

Lastly, I'll also say that the developers were very kind by providing different versions of the game (both for the C64 and C128) for those who have machines with different SID chips. They really seemed to try hard to provide us with the best sounding game for our particular Commodores. Nice going, guys!

Conclusion

★★★★ - Fast and responsive game-play, an excellent sound track, and very loyal to the Frantic Freddie franchise. Love it!


Frantic Freddie II C64 Frantic Freddie II C64
Frantic Freddie II C64 Frantic Freddie II C128

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reviews/franfred2.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/12 21:13 by David