Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Ten years after the original Pac-Man, Bally Midway released a cute, playful descendant called Trog. Featuring silly “PLAYmation” graphics (a look similar to Claymation), the game was visually much more advanced than its pellet-eating ancestor, but the challenge remained the same.
In the bizarre prehistoric land of Og, four different-hued dinosaurs named Rex (red), Bloop (blue), Spike (yellow) and Gwen (fuchsia) wanted nothing more than to make their way back home, collecting brightly-colored eggs along the way. Unfortunately, a band of one-eyed, dino-eating cavemen dubbed Trogs had other plans for our brave little heroes.
And so, in true Pac-Man fashion, Rex, Bloop, Spike and Gwen (all four could play at once) had to avoid the hungry Trogs while collecting their yolk-filled booty, moving on to a new Og island after all eggs were cleared. On the plus side, beating the Trogs gave the dinos an excuse to do a little victory dance after each level.
Expanding well beyond the Pac-Man energizers, Trog gave players several offensive and defensive powers and power-ups. To start with, the dinos actually had a “Punch” button, allowing them to temporarily stun the Trogs or even knock them off the edge of the island if they were standing close enough (Trogs were stupid that way).
In addition, several items gave Rex and pals special, but temporary powers when eaten: red plants sped them up, chili peppers gave fire breath, yellow horseshoes placed a protective shield around the dino, icy jewels froze the cavemen and pineapples turned the meek little dinos into sharp-toothed T-rexes, big enough to eat the terrified Trogs.
The Og islands may have been ripe with power-ups, but they had more than their share of dangers as well. The Trogs came in several varieties: some merely punched, others wielded clubs, some rolled giant stone wheels and still others hopped around the screen on springs. Other island pitfalls included tar pits, open shafts, slow-down mushrooms and those always-precarious edges.
Building everything from a simple grid system of rocks and bones, Trog featured 49 different islands, adding new tricks and twists every so often. Some islands had color-coded transporters (red transported to red, blue to blue and so on), while others featured island-crossing springboards. Bonus levels allowed the dinos to feast on Trogs, roast them with fire breath or collect bonus gems, all within a given time limit. And as a final nod to its Pac-ancestor, the game included a handful of animated intermissions, comedy bits that carried on the game’s light-hearted spirit.
Pac-Man clones had flooded the market in the early 1980’s, but by the time Trog came out, the maze game had all but disappeared. With its classic style, modeled graphics and impish tone, Trog recaptured the magic of the original, and a new generation of gamers was introduced to the fun of “eat or be eaten” gameplay.