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Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron (Genesis) artwork

Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron (Genesis) review

"Rummaging through the amount of platform games on the Sega Genesis it was actually hard to find one that was a stand out from the crowd. Apart from the Sonic series there weren’t that many great games on it. Granted there were a few other that Sega made that were great but it seemed to me that after you went through the games developed in house it was seemingly impossible to find a good and original platform game. Sega had to play by this and after releasing and scoring with Sonic they had to ba..."

Rummaging through the amount of platform games on the Sega Genesis it was actually hard to find one that was a stand out from the crowd. Apart from the Sonic series there weren’t that many great games on it. Granted there were a few other that Sega made that were great but it seemed to me that after you went through the games developed in house it was seemingly impossible to find a good and original platform game. Sega had to play by this and after releasing and scoring with Sonic they had to back it up with something special. One of these games was Toejam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron.

The sequel to the classic game continued the original story, picking up exactly where the original stopped. After TJ and Earl collect all the parts of their broken spaceship and set off from earth to go home to planet Funkotron they find out something terrible. They have accidentally taken a whole bunch of “uncool” earthlings over to Funkotron and now these morons are becoming a nuisance to everyone on the planet and of course, TJ and Earl have to go through Funkotron and capture of all the earthlings

The unique style that was in the original has been completely thrown out of the window and replaced by your basic platform style. You can choose to control one of the protagonists and take him through the different areas of Funkotron, or you can play as two-player. Every part of Funkotron has a number of humans that you have to catch before you enter the next area and like I said you have to put the humans in jars to catch them. Most of the enemies take about two or three hits maximum to jar but some of them are obviously a lot harder to jar than others. When you have collected your required amount of earthlings you will have to make your way to the rocket so you deposit your humans and cart them all back to earth.

Earthlings can either simply running around on the actual field making them easy prey for you and your jars but some can be a bit tricky. Some of them will hide in trees or bushes and you will have to shake them out. Beware though that you may come across some earthling objects hidden in the trees such as bowling balls, tyres and trashcans which will come down hard on your head. There are quite a few different types of enemies in this game including kids that throw tomatoes at you, kids that kick your shins, tourists who will dazzle you with flash photography and the classic invisible oogie-boogie men who barely resemble anything from earth but they are quite funny.

Not only will you find humans and hazardous objects in the trees but you will find a nice variety of items that can help you a lot. Finding presents in the trees is a bonus and most of them will give you things like an extra life, super jars which will decrease the amount of hits an opponent will sustain and money. You may also be able to collect special items and abilities like the giant vacuum cleaner that sucks up all collectables on the screen from presents to enemies. Unfortunately though, the items are quite limited but they don’t hinder the game at all.

Another good aspect is the amount of mini-games that actually extend the gameplay a lot. They include a bouncing game where you fall onto a trampoline like substance and have to perform as many stunts as you can, like one of those Olympic style diving competitions. Three judges appear from nowhere an give you a score out of ten which you can try to beat if you want. This is a bit tricky as you basically are just thrown into it without warning and at first you will have no idea what on earth (or Funkotron) is happening. Other ones include the groove pad where you meet one of your “homies” and you will have to copy their movements, this will cost you though but it is very addictive and once you have got the hang of it you will have next to no problem finishing it and gaining some deserved funk points.

Just looking at the cartoon related graphics of the game will make you grin in satisfaction especially if you were a fan of the original. The original game didn’t have the best graphics but this one improves on that so well making it probably one of the most colourful and detail games on the system. First of all the sprites of been enlarged a lot and Toejam and Earl are about five times bigger than what they were before but with all of their original features still intact. Toejam still has his cap and medallion and Earl is still wearing sunglasses and beach shorts but now the true image of our heroes are revealed and you have to admit that it looks so much better this way. Other sprites are also high quality and there are so many other aliens and humans around, all with great detail and animation, making this game have some of the most detailed and colourful graphics seen in the early nineties.

The backgrounds of all the levels are exactly what you expected them to be, psychedelic colours, funny shaped trees and aliens walking around nearly all the time. They always seem to be some vivid bright colour such as bright pink or blue which really stand out when you play it. The detail that is put into the backgrounds is nothing short of magnificent and I have to say it is probably the best cartoon style graphics in all of the games released on the Sega Genesis and I can’t see any fault to them.

Music is another great part of the game and is once again another mass improvement over the predecessor. The original theme song has been revamped up and put on the first level, with astounding quality and just hearing it again will probably bring back a whole of lot of memories of the game. Other tunes still follow a similar theme to what the original does but although they don’t have the prowess of that tune they are still funky tunes.

Some of the music has the “beat-boxing” sounds in it, the sound of the groove pad for example has the whole “boom-chicka-boom” element which relates to the theme of the game well. The sound effects are also great, a lot of voice clips from bad guys make it very funny (and annoying) such examples are the “Hey, catch” by the baseball kid who will promptly through a tomato at you, or the “neh-neh- nene-neh” of that stupid kid that runs up and kicks you in the shins but there are many more sound effects like this that are just as good, and just as funny.

The system obviously didn’t have the best sound processor out of the 16-bit machines but this game really pushed it to its limits. The sound is pure quality and really helps give the game an already high score. The graphics are great, the amount of detailed sprites is alone great but with the even better animation makes it an impressive accomplishment for its time. The whole thing is immensely coloured and looks as if you’re on an LSD trip (not that I would know that) but the bright 60’s style colour and even sound is absolutely brilliant, no problems!

You will want to play this game again and again, it’s very addictive and quite a challenging platform game in its later stages. Although this game is two-player it’s actually a lot more fun just playing it on your own as the two-player game can get slightly annoying because you’ll find that the second player will end up running of the screen if he falls of a ledge and the first player is still at the top, also if he goes underwater it may be harder for him to re-surface if the other character is way at the end of the screen, although canning certain bad guys is a lot easier with two. Overall though, I have to say I would recommend this game to any platform fan, although fans of the original may be disappointed with the change but I think most people would welcome it and love it just as much as the original.

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Community review by goldenvortex (July 05, 2004)

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