|Match Date||Friday, August 13th, 2004|
|Frog - 61.76%|
76 for - 2 against
|Frog - 44.33%|
I barely even know where to start on this one. Due in large part to creativename's sig during the entire 2003 offseason, Frog gathered a lot of board support by the time the nomination page opened up. CJayC even mentioned "a strong fan drive" that got Frog into the field this year.
Okay, so most of the board nominated Frog, and we wound up in the field. That's nice. What followed after Frog's acceptance into the contest was one of the greatest epics ever seen in this contest. Frog vs Liquid Snake was wound up being what we were hoping to see from Tidus vs Shadow, and the best part of it all is that this match hit us from well out in left field.
Coming into this contest, Frog was expected to dominate a fourpack consisting of Frog, Liquid Snake, Master Chief, and Crash Bandicoot with ease. After all, Crono has been taking names in every contest, and the belief is that due to Crono's performances, Chrono Trigger itself has gotten more popular. Chrono Trigger itself getting into the finals of the Spring Contest certainly helps the claim. As the match drew closer, a couple of people mentioned that Liquid Snake could very well make a run at the match, and most of them were laughed at.
Aren't unexpected close matches fun to watch? In the very beginning of the poll, Frog jumped out to the early lead, but instead of letting Frog run away with the poll with ease, Liquid Snake soon fought back. Liquid began chipping away at Frog's percentage fairly quickly, though in terms of the vote gap, Frog managed to hold his own. Frog eventually recovered from Liquid's small push and began building his lead again. However, with every small push that Frog made, Liquid managed to hold his own and avoid being rolled over. Despite the fact that Frog retained control of the poll throughout the first few hours, Liquid constantly made small pushes at Frog's slim lead of only a few hundred as if to let everyone know that the match was far from being over.
Despite all of Frog's efforts during the early vote and the morning vote to put Liquid Snake away, he failed to do so. Despite all of Frog's best efforts, the biggest lead that he was able to manage was 460 votes. That's it. It was at this point that the day vote kicked in, and it was at this point that Liquid decided to make a move of his own. Anyone who has been following these contests knows that the day vote is never kind to Chrono Trigger. Crono, Magus, and even Chrono Trigger itself in the spring all managed to suffer during the day vote. And this is where all of Frog's problems began. If characters like Crono and Magus had problems during the day vote, then how could Frog, who is a very distant third in terms of the most popular characters in the game in the first place, avoid the same problems?
As the day vote began, Liquid Snake began making a push of his own. Frog's 460 vote lead soon started getting smaller and smaller, and even though Liquid never managed any massive, constant pushes on Frog's lead, he still kept a slow, methodical pace. As Liquid constantly used the day vote against Frog, the best thing that Frog was able to manage was to occasionally stall Liquid's advance. But even then, Liquid kept managing to chip away at Frog's lead. Frog tried as hard as he could to fight back, but by the time the evening rolled around, Liquid proved to be too much for him.
Much like the Chrono Trigger/Link to the Past match in the spring, the match between Frog and Liquid Snake was tied before the evening rolled around. The typical evening demographic favors Square, but Liquid seemed to care less about this. Much like the Chrono Trigger/Link to the Past match in the spring, Frog and Liquid Snake defied any and all voting patterns in the dogfight that was to follow.
For the next few hours of the poll, Frog and Liquid Snake went at it like animals (bad pun, I know =p). For every small push that Liquid made, Frog was able to counter and keep the match close. Every time one character looked like he was going to pull away and begin building a lead in the match, the other character was able to counter and pull the match even again. This match was unlike CT/LTTP in that during the time that Frog and Liquid were tied, both characters were constantly making pushes to try and separate themselves from the other. In CT/LTTP, Chrono Trigger was the entrant constantly breaking away from its opponent, while LTTP was the one constantly trying to catch up. Frog/Liquid was different. Through the entire evening, there were no subtle hints as to which character would be the one to finally break away and win the poll. The two simply went at it as if they were in a war, and the loser would likely be the first one to blink. Through the entire evening, we were constantly seeing a pattern of one character going ahead by a little bit, with the other character fighting back and refusing to give up. No matter who you were rooting for to win, seeing two characters stay dead even for a time period of several hours was truly a sight to behold.
Unfortunately for Liquid Snake however, Frog was the one to finally make a major push at winning the match. As the evening wore on, Frog finally found enough of the evening Square voting pool to draw from, and after a slow push that was similar to the way Frog built his lead in the beginning of the poll, Frog managed to slowly build a lead of 170 by the time 1 AM rolled around.
But even still, what happened in the next two hours made Frog's win look very unconvincing. Frog's advance came to an absolute halt at 1 AM, and Liquid Snake, ever the "Why the **** won't you just die?" character if there was one, began a desperate final push at Frog's lead. Unfortunately for Liquid, it was too late. There were not enough votes coming in at that point in the poll for him to stage a comeback, and it was clear after an hour that Frog's incoming votes would have to stop altogether in order for Liquid to win the match. Despite all of Liquid's efforts to make a huge push in the match, it soon became clear that it would take a small miracle for him to pull it out.
Liquid Snake made a nice push in the final two hours of the poll, but the only thing that there was to root for was for the vote difference in the match to be as close as possible. It was clear that Liquid wasn't going to win, but at least he has a place on the "Closest Matches of All Time" list. A 93 vote difference is nothing to sneeze at, and you only have to wonder if things could have been different had Liquid started his final push an hour earlier. Another thought to ponder is how this match would have turned out had Liquid started his day vote comeback an hour or two earlier.
The problem in analyzing this match is that both characters were brand new to the field when coming into it. There are a lot of ways to look at how each character did, though a majority opinion was reached when looking at them both in a positive and negative light.
- Chrono Trigger spoilers*
- - - -
First, look at Frog. It was nice that he got into the field, but when you look at him as a character, it's very easy to argue that Frog doing well in this poll was little more than him leeching off the popularity of Crono, Magus, and Chrono Trigger as a whole. Frog's entire character is based off of Magus. Frog's best friend was killed by Magus, and Frog himself was turned into a frog in the process. This is tragic for the little guy, but the way he handled it was pathetic. He did little more than sit down in his little hole whining about his fate all the time. When you meet him, he whines about how how powerless he is. He is always toying with whether or not he should join the party, but no matter how much you try to help him, he constantly goes back into his little hole to whine about everything. As events progress, you learn that the only way to defeat Magus is with the Masamune, and you also learn that Frog is the only character who can wield the sword. So naturally, given that Frog can do little more for himself but sit and whine in his little hole, you have to go find the Masamune parts and get the sword fixed for him.
But that's fine, right? Given that Frog was such a pain in the ass to get in your party in the first place, he surely has a positive effect when you finally get him in your party for good. After all, he must have some huge in-battle secret that has been hidden for all this time, right?
Yeah, the secret is that Frog absolutely sucks in battle. He is outdone physically by three other characters, and his most powerful spell is Water 2. The only way for Frog to be of any use whatsoever is for him to constantly be in critical status so that Frog Drop may cause damage. You can also commit Frog to using Dual Techs, but then you're wasting the turns of other characters when they would likely be better off doing damage for themselves.
But all that being said, Frog's attitude once Magus joins your party is priceless. Instead of growing some manlihood and trying to understand Magus's past, as well as his intentions, Frog does nothing more than sit there like a ball of snot and keep to himself about everything. Later in the story, Magus's entire past is laid out in front of you, and Frog still acts like a selfish ball of snot about everything. All he cared about was a duel with Magus. That's it. He's a bad character with little to no development at all, and he sucks in battle. If he isn't a prime example of someone who did well in the contest because of leeching, I don't know what is.
- Metal Gear Solid spoilers*
- - - -
Liquid Snake, while clearly a better character than Frog, is equally difficult to look at. There is no way to tell whether or not Liquid is weaker than Solid by a great deal, whether or not he comes close to Solid, whether or not he leeches off of Solid, or whether or not Liquid's stock went up simply due to bracket voting. If you noticed, over half of all brackets had Liquid Snake winning this match. If for nothing else, this proves that Liquid has more mainstream exposure than Frog does. And while Frog is busy pulling his best Alice In Chains impersonation (they have a song called "Down in a Hole", for those who don't listen to them), Liquid Snake takes his unfavorable fate and does something with it. Using a group like FOXHOUND to fit your own desires is not an easy task, and even though Ocelot had his own intentions the entire time, he still managed to assist Liquid in his plot. Liquid Snake was so damned good at what he was doing that despite the fact that he could have theoretically done Solid in whenever he chose, he instead chose to toy with him. This, along with Liquid believing that he was the inferior sibling in the Les Enfants Terrible project, were Liquid's only weaknesses. Had Liquid acted to the fullest extent of his power without believing himself to be inferior, I fully believe that he could have beaten Solid Snake.
But regardless of all that, Liquid is clearly the better character than Frog, and comparing the two in battle is pointless. Frog's entire character is very easily summarized, while Liquid's character is being debated among Metal Gear Solid loyalists even today. Why did Liquid believe from the start that he was the inferior sibling, and why did he let this influence his actions? We may never know, and I demand that MWIS get in this topic and give me his opinion on the subject.
No matter who you were rooting for in this match, it is clear that some degree of respect needs to be given to both characters. Frog may be leeching off of the characters clearly better than him in Chrono Trigger, but regardless of this, he was still able to have enough power to win the match in the end. And Liquid, complete contest newcomer, managed to put up a fight that would allow this poll to go down as the closest wire-to-wire poll in contest history. It may be a very long time until we see another poll in which the largest gap is 480 votes or less at any point. I tip my hat to Liquid here, because even though he lost, he proved that he can cause some real damage in this contest given a bracket that favors his positioning. Another thing that I believed that this poll helped prove is that Liquid may very well be close to Solid Snake in popularity. It's hard to believe that both Liquid and Frog could be all that far away from him.
Match Trends Edit
Board 8’s hero of the year in 2004 was Frog. Probably the board's most-nominated character, Frog had a huge push and a plethora of hype to get him into the contest. Most people figured he was a lock to take his four-pack, which consisted of Master Chief, Crash Bandicoot, and his first-round opponent, Liquid Snake.
Well, this was Liquid’s inaugural year as well, and if there’s one thing Liquid Snake does not do, villains contest withstanding, it’s roll over and die. Frog got off the ground to a good lead, but Liquid kept cutting and cutting into said lead until the match became totally debatable. In the end, Frog does what Frog does best and made a huge push to victory. Funny thing is, this wouldn’t be Frog’s last debatable match that year – his match against Master Chief in Round Two was more of the same, and his match against Snake in Round Three was a fluke of Tifa/Samus proportions. Weird guy, that Frog.