10 of the most no-good, upsetting frogs in gaming—from Dark Souls nightmares to Larian’s amphibious freaks

Frogs (the animal) have become an indie darling in the past couple of years—as our former features producer Nat Clayton pointed out last year, people like ’em. They’re round, they’re cute, they’re in Frog Detective, what’s not to like? A lot. 

Listen, I like a little round green guy as much as the next person, but gaming’s croaks gallery is often just as upsetting as it is soothing. Below the iceberg of the friend-shaped blob lies an underbelly of gnarly-looking rejects that’ve slimed their way from the swamps of hell. I’m here to remind you of them, because the only way to know you’ve escaped the abyss is to stare into it every now and then.

But first, let me set out some expectations: not everything on this list is (strictly-speaking) a frog. Some are toads or basilisks—one’s even a rabbit that’s been warped by unspeakable sorcery. The frog’s energy is more important than the scientific definition.

Secondly, a frog can be upsetting even if it’s not physically repulsive to look at, either through its game mechanics or the moral fibre of its being. Some tick all three boxes, others only tick one or two. All of them are terrible. With that aside: welcome to my psychic prison-zoo. It’s bad here.

The Basilisk (Dark Souls, Elden Ring)

(Image credit: FromSoftware / BonfireVN on YouTube.)

These guys are the first and most obvious choice when one asks themselves: ‘What video game frogs haunt my nightmares?’

Consider the basilisk. Upsetting, bulbous eyes that are a mere facade for the beady pin-pricks below them. A maw of razor-sharp teeth. In the place of a humble croak, the basilisk instead spews petrifying fog that will curse you dead. They represent both a physical and a psychic danger.

Part of it’s their typical introduction in Dark Souls—you’re trudging through a dark sewer, when you suddenly plunge through a hole in the ground. A trio of the buggers are upon you in moments: Completely alien, breathing mist with a cryptic status bar, swarming you in an enclosed space—immediately memorable, objectively awful.

Oggdo Bogdo (Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Fallen Order)

(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

Oggdo Bogdo is an accursed bastard that wields the soulslike genre’s most hated mechanic: the grapple. Shockingly fast for something that looks like it weighs 5 tons, Oggdo Bogdo’s first appearance in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is just a little too early for you to handle, but it’s not even the worst version of this hellbeast. No, that comes from the game’s sequel.

While its initial cameo is frustrating, it’s manageable—Cal’s a touch more mobile in Survivor, and he has a wider range of tools to deal with the cad. You get a poncho for your efforts and it’s a good time. Then you go back to town and there’s a force tear waiting for you. You enter it out of curiosity.

You find two of them. Two of them.

Yes, they still have the insta-kill grab attack. Yes, they’re just as aggressive. No, there’s basically no reason why you should fight them this early, but you can. And you will, because you want to punish yourself. 

I stuck around and bashed my head against the wall of the Oggdo Bogdo duo simply because it was there. I needed to prove that I could overcome this nightmare from the deep—and I did, though I’m certain part of my soul was devoured along the way.

The Addled Frog (Baldur’s Gate 3)

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

This thing was so upsetting that Larian Studios commissioned a whole animation around its accursed existence. Physically, there’s nothing wrong with it—the studio just has a fascination with making random animals capable of extreme violence.

While you can talk to this creature after you’ve dealt with the local hag, doing so beforehand will likely cause you to come to blows with it. It has an attack called venomous discharge that deals a bunch of poison damage in an AoE, and it starts combat with Mirror Image. What’s more, it bounces the first ranged attack you make against it back at its assailant.

It’s not actually that hard to kill, seeing as you can just fire AoE spells at it, but you’re unlikely to have many of those to-hand in the early game. What’s most upsetting about this creature is the innocent guise it inhabits—you go in expecting a pleasant little chat with a hoppy fella, then end up scrambling to chug healing potions while it punishes you for your hubris.

Frogger (Frogger: The Great Quest)

(Image credit: Konami / SnapCube on YouTube.)

Now we’re cooking with (toxic, swamp) gas. Frogger is one of gaming’s simplest icons—he’s a little frog, he hops across the road, that’s it. But for some reason the eldritch minds at Papa Yeti Studio decided he needed an adventure-platformer reboot in 2001.

The problem is, Frogger acts with all the naive optimism of Spyro despite having the proportions of a small man, and he’s kind of a creep, too. Frogger’s entire quest is to, and I quote, “Find a Princess before [he] busts.” I’m not making that up, this is well-documented.

In fairness, this is because Frogger wants to become a Prince. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on him—maybe frogs are relegated to a lower social caste, and he simply wants to experience some upward mobility. Maybe he wants to abolish the monarchy once he’s there. None of that excuses the fairy frogmother that shows up immediately after his wish, though.

(Image credit: Konami)

I don’t know if she has Frogger’s same moral corruption of the spirit, I just… I don’t like looking at her. It’s the lips, maybe? Moving on.

Crazy Frog (Crazy Frog Racer, Crazy Frog Racer 2)

(Image credit: Neko Entertainment)

I remember Crazy Frog (A.K.A The Annoying Thing). I remember how he lingered on early-to-mid 2000s flash websites like a plague. I remember how he haunted the radio, how his imprisoned babbling warbled from the Nokia phone. Did you know they made a racing game based around him? Did you know they made two of them? Here’s some 12-year old gameplay courtesy of YouTube channel GXZ95. 

You could play as a host of characters from the CFEU (the Crazy Frog Extended Universe), such as The Annoying Thing, Flash, Drone, and The Annoying Thing but with a fishing hat this time. Bobo is there. He’s a ninja monkey with banana nunchucks. Who are any of these people?

The Gigantoad (Final Fantasy 14)

(Image credit: Square Enix)

There’s a dungeon in FF14 that strikes fear into the heart of the dungeon roulette: The Aurum Vale. Its infamous first room is wide, open, and has a huge clump of easily-aggroed enemies at its centre. What’s more, you can be yanked into it by these horrible creations from a vengeful god.

I don’t have many positive things to say about the Gigantoad’s visual design either. In FF11, the Gigantoad is a royal, noble creature—in FF14, it looks like a sleep-deprived egg that someone put spines and legs onto. It breathes like it’s hyperventilating and it looks at the world as if it was wronged by the very air it breathes. To the pits of hades with thee.

Buzz (Spyro 3, the original one)

(Image credit: Insomniac Games / Thegamerwalkthroughs on YouTube.)

I liked Toys for Bob’s character redesigns for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. They’re cute, colourful, well-animated, and they made the adult dragons dilfs for some reason. But they massacred my boy Buzz—in that they made him visually appealing. Those of us who played the game on the PS1 remember his true form.

The result of arcane sorceries that turned an innocent rabbit into a monster, this unpleasant, crunchy nugget of a being’s idle animations made it look like he was undulating. He had a row of razor-sharp teeth that never shut, and he could survive dips in lava—which is around 700-1,000 degrees Celsius on average.  

This means that Buzz could probably live on the surface of the planet Venus, which is about 465 degrees Celsius—and probably where this hell-sent spawn belongs. Shoot him into space.

The Toad Prince (The Witcher 3)

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

This one came recommended by our Guides Writer Sean Martin. While I’ve never had the pleasure of brawling with the Witcher 3’s Toad Prince, I can certainly see why it left an impression.

This cur has all the hallmarks of an absolutely awful frog-like boss—annoying acid spit, frustratingly fast stomps that knock you back, an absurd amount of health—and he can attack you with his tongue.

It’s just occurred to me now that the frog/toad’s tongue gives game developers a licence to make a boss that’s slow, but attacks fast. For instance: imagine if you were fighting a golem in a game, but a little compartment in its chest opened and a guy with a whip started snapping at you. That’s how frogs in games work, and it’s always terrible.

The Demon of Song (Dark Souls 2)

(Image credit: FromSoftware (Dark Souls 2 Design Works art book))

Dark Souls 2 dared to ask: you know the frog Mario suit from Super Mario Bros. 3? What if it was like that, but utterly horrible. Also it has the voice of an angel.

It’s a shame really, because the ambience it lends to Dark Souls 2’s Shrine of Amana is absolutely lovely. It’s one of the rare places where the game’s sometimes-crunchy graphics and weird overcast lighting drift away, replaced by lovely luminescent lights and old ruins.

Then you get there and it’s some big creep in a frog suit. It even cowers inside its stolen flesh as a living shield. Then it picks you up with its mouth and freakily long man-arms and slams you into the ground again, and again, and again, until the words ‘You Died’ are a relief.

Granted, I don’t remember the boss itself being much harder than the rest of the game’s rogues’ gallery, but there’s something sad about dealing with a bunch of mages, clawing your way towards a beautiful voice, then finding out it’s a failed singer-songwriter crammed into an amphibian like a skinsuit.

Amphibians (Divinity: Original Sin 2)

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Larian: We need to talk about your frogs, because this is twice you’ve made a terrifying early-game frog encounter in your game’s first Act.

The issue with these guys is less to do with their specific design and more to do with the way Divinity: Original Sin 2’s first act is structured. I went into that in some more detail recently, but the short version is that Fort Joy has a bunch of deadly fights that are easy to stumble into when you’re under-levelled. This is one of them.

These guys are a pushover if you go into the brawl prepared—or with an Undead, who will happily soak up their poison damage. But if you dare make the reasonable assumption that the first early-game area you’re led to by an NPC also contains a good starting fight, you’ll be left hopping mad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Meteor Lake muscles into the portable gaming PC market with the new OneXPlayer three-in-one X1
Next post Elden Ring’s friendly dog actually wants to rip you to shreds