Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Jun 23, 2009
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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If George Clinton And Parliament Made A Game, The Result Might Be ToeJam And Earl….

The Good

Released in 1991, for the Sega Genesis, ToeJam and Earl, is a unique game that is difficult to classify. Is it a platformer? An adventure game? Puzzle? Well I still don’t know what to label it. I can tell that it is one hell of an original game.

In ToeJam and Earl, you assume the role of two funky fresh cats from Funkotron. When out cruising, possibly for intergalactic booty, they crash land on one of un-funkiest places in the galaxy…Earth. Now they must find the all of there spaceship pieces, and get back home.

Playing in either 1 player or 2 player co-op. And choosing either a set map, that is always the same, or the random, which makes every game different, you must traverse some 25 levels, each getting progressively more difficult. Some stages contain ship pieces, others are a race to the exit. Taking the form of an elevator that transports you to the next level.

“For how else do you capture a boogie, if you do not attack from the back”-Theme From The Black Hole, Parliament-

Along the way you will have to avoid some crazy enemies. From stampeding, Nerd Herds, Insane Dentists,(Aren’t they all?-MM-) crazed shoppers, a Fat man with a lawn mower, and the nefarious Phantom Ice Cream Trucks, to name just a few.

Note worthy is the fact that there are some references to Parliament. A 70’s funk group headed up by one George Clinton. Including an enemy called a boogie, that is best avoided or attacked from behind thus the above quote. The music is also very funk-esque but more on that later. And I can assure you that this is all true not just one of my acid trips, or meltdowns, (I can also assure you that I am not or have not smoked any crack.-MM-) or what ever you want to call it.

There is even some strategy involved. For example, when being chased by a tornado, you can dive into water and, swim away from it. Cause this works is real life….right? Oh well who cares, the point is that there is some strategies that can be used to aid you.

To defend yourself, you have presents. These may include, icarus wings, slingshots, rocket skates, and super high-tops, among many others. You can also collect cash and purchase new presents, have current ones identified, or pay a fat opera lady to kill you foes.

There are also some RPG elements in TJ&E. You actually gain EXP points and level up in rank. From Wiener to Funk lord, and everything in between.

Levels are presented in a top-down view point. You navigate the maze like levels to find, you ship parts, and presents, and of course the exit to the next stage. There is also food items scattered about. These can heal injuries, but beware of the rotten foods which will harm or possibly kill you. If you find the ringing telephone, it will reveal the map to you, or some of it anyhow.

That beat is so fresh…snap!

The graphics are pretty good in TJ&E, and still look decent. Considering it has been some 18 years since it was released. They are very bright and colorful. And the animations of the enemies as well of ToeJam and Earl are great, and can be quite fun to watch.

The music and sound effect are great. From the funk-esque music.(George Clinton would be proud.-MM-) You would not think that a 16-Bit console could reproduce funk music so well, but you would be wrong. The silly sound effects, from Toe Jam and Earl’s responses to the creepy laugh of the dentist enemies, it is all great stuff. There is even a minigame where you can make ToeJam or Earl jam out to some fresh beats.

The Bad

Random is usually the way to go. As I find it offers the most fun and normally has a more gradual rise in difficulty. However sometimes it gets to hard to fast. And by stage 3 or 4 you are already seeing some of the most difficult enemies. Of course you might find it easier to use the fixed setting. It will all be up to the individual.

This game was really intended to be a Co-Op game. You can play alone and enjoy it all the same. But I think you will enjoy it more with another player. Furthermore there is no A.I. setting so playing alone, is literal. And it can be quite brutal to get killed twice in a row, by pain in the ass enemies. There is no way to master the game per se. Especially if you play on the random setting. At least that means more replay value, right?

Why is there no save feature? Or at least passwords. (And I hate passwords.-MM-) I mean, I am no expert when it comes to save and or password systems of video-games. Yet I can help but consider how absurd it is that you cannot save. It is a real pain in the lower backside.(Yeah, that whole region.-MM-)

The Bottom Line

Every once and a great while, a game that is totally fresh and original comes out. And one of these games is ToeJam and Earl. As it defies classification, it is also a game hard to describe to others. Just play it and I think that you will find it to be a great game. Now where is ToeJam and Earl 4?