- You control Frogger, guiding him in four directions with the joystick.
- You must guide Frogger to each of the five empty slots at the top of the screen in order to advance to the next stage.
- You start at the bottom of the screen beneath five lanes of traffic.
- You must reach the sidewalk in the middle of the screen without getting hit by any vehicles.
- You must not fall in the water on the way to one of the slots at the top. Ride the turtles and logs to the top, but don't get pulled off the side of the screen.
- Beware of diving turtles. If Frogger is on them when they dive, he loses a life.
- Avoid crocodile mouths, catch flies in the slots for bonus points, and bring the lady frog to your home for more bonus points.
- Joystick: Use to direct the frog throughout the screen. Unlike many games, the joystick must be returned to the neutral position before being moved again to make the frog continue in the direction you wish for him to go.
- 1 or 2 Players: Push these buttons to begin a one or two player game.
You control the green frog throughout the game. Your primary goal is to guide the frog to safety from the bottom of the screen to one of his five lily pad homes at the top before time runs out. In order to do that, the frog must cross five lanes of traffic to reach the bank of the river. Then he must navigate over turtles and logs until he reaches an unoccupied home on the opposite bank, without ever once falling in the water. Your ultimate goal is to fill all five slots on the opposite bank in order to advance to the next stage. Occasionally, a purple female frog will be perched on a log in the middle of the river. If you touch the female with your frog, the female will hitch a ride with you back to your home for 200 bonus points.
There may be five different vehicles but they all behave identically. They travel across the road in a set number of groups with a set spacing at a constant speed. If the player takes too long occupying all five homes, some of the cars, particularly the white cars in the fourth lane, will speed up. Contact with any vehicle results in the loss of one frog life.
Logs and Crocodiles
In order to cross the river, the frog must hitch a ride on the tops of the logs the float by. The frog may ride on a log for as long as he likes, but he may not be pulled off the side of the screen or the player loses one frog life. Starting on the second round, some small logs may be replaced with crocodiles. It is safe for the frog to ride on a crocodile's back, but do not allow the frog to go anywhere near the croc's mouth, or another frog life is lost.
When logs are not available, the frog must cross the water on the backs of turtles. Turtles swim in groups, and it is safe to jump from one turtle in a group to another, but not between different turtle groups. To make matters worse, some turtle groups are composed of diving turtles. It is not safe to remain on the backs of diving turtles for long. If the frog remains on their backs by the time they are completely submerged, you lose another frog life.
Otters and Snakes
After the second round, new species of life begin to make their appearance around the river. One is the snake. Snakes can appear on the large log that floats down the middle of the river, and they can also appear on the river bank on the side of the road. Only the head of the snake will kill you; you can jump on the body of the snake without harm. Another animal that appears is the otter. Otters chase after logs and submerge when they reach them. You are safe from the threat of an otter as long as you are not close to the edge of a log that the otter is swimming towards. If you are too close to the left side, the otter will catch you.
Flies and Croc Mouths
Before jumping in to an empty lily pad home, be on the lookout for two things that might appear in the opening. One is a fly. If you land in a home when a fly appears, you earn an additional 200 bonus points. However, if you happen to see a croc's mouth passing through the home, stay away. Landing in the home while the croc's jaws are about to snap results in the loss of a frog life.