"Who out there, could have lived through the ninties, and not have heard of ToeJam and Earl? What about the even more popular, second game in the series? Well, actually it's a much higher number than it should have been. The fact remains, that it is generally considered a favorite, among Sega Genesis owners. And though it took a while, the third game is finally here, and it looks like ToeJam and Big E. have finally made their way into the third dimension. Now the question you're probably asking y..."
Who out there, could have lived through the ninties, and not have heard of ToeJam and Earl? What about the even more popular, second game in the series? Well, actually it's a much higher number than it should have been. The fact remains, that it is generally considered a favorite, among Sega Genesis owners. And though it took a while, the third game is finally here, and it looks like ToeJam and Big E. have finally made their way into the third dimension. Now the question you're probably asking yourself, is "Did it turn out to be any good?" Well, the third game isn't bad, but sadly, it just seems to have lost some of its charm over the years.
The story opens up wacky enough, which is great for a game like this. You'll see TJ and Earl messing around with a camera. Early even falls asleep at one point. A bit later, they move on to meet up with the new member of the series, their friend Latisha, to go on a mission to funkify the earth. It's rare that I'd actually reccomend having less characters, but you'll have to ask yourself, why this girl, with no background, is now out saving the world with the stars of the series. Well, regaurdless, she's along for the ride - Though, you will be able
to select your character between every stage, thankfully.
Obviously, the game goes deeper than characters though. That holds true here, as well. Whichever character you pick will go through levels, funkifying earthlings, and picking up keys. For those of you who are reading this with strange looks on your face, ToeJam and Earl are masters of Funk-Fu. That is, they attack using the power of Funk. Whether it be a basic attack swinging the Funk, like a karate chop, or using Funk-FX notes, like bullets, your goal is to convert those earthlings. There are even over seventy different powerup presents in the game, which you can gather, and use wheenver it is convenient for you. There are lot's of different abilities to. Throughout the course of the game, you'll find wings that allow you to fly, shoes that mank you run faster, decoys for the enemies, presents that make you dance - sending out blasts of Funk-Fu - and many more. This is truly the essence of a ToeJam and earl game, and it made a great transisiton. Sadly, you can not shake trees, or bushes, for like you could in the second one, and that was a let down.
On top of the awesome gameplay, there is a surplus of levels. There are normal levels, which contain a preset amount of keys, enemies, and presents. There are mini-game levels, which in essence, allow you to test new presents, while trying to defeat enemies. Often, these can be funny as well, for example, in one level, you will be trying tol chase down and slap down the funk, on chickens armed with mortar grenade launchers. Finally, there are boss battles, where you will face the dreaded anti-funk - The enemy that ToeJam and Big E. are trying to prevent from taking over the humans' minds. Finally, with some effort, you can unlock "Random Mode" which will allow you to play through randomly generated levels. Though not as fun as the actuall levels, they will add some replay value. There are also a few levels downloadable (as well as a couple of characters) that XBox live users can download. A split-screen multiplayer mode is also available, if you'd like to go to earth with a friend. The thing is, the game may in fact be too long for it's own good, as you can only ride the gameplay for so long, before you begin to get bored -- and when you do get bored, it will most likely be before the midpoint of the game.
There's also a funk-load of humorous elements to the game. Most of this will come from the voices that the characters in the game have, and in a few cases how they look. For example, on the map, there is a man allowing you to download features from XBox live. He calls you a "girly man" and is an apparent body builder, wearing nothing but a speedo and a piece of paper with the XBox logo. This is an obvious allusion to Arnold Shwartzanegger, right down to his Austrian accent. There are also many girls in the game, that will try to hit on Earl in the game - This is often followed, by a funny reaction by Earl as well. Mix this with decent level music, that won't annoy you, but isn't great, and the sound seems pretty good. Unfortunately, the theme of rap almost covers funk, for the music videos shown between levels. True it is oldschool rap, it just doesn't seem to belong, especially after two games based on funk. Hell, there is even gospel singers, for reasons I simply can not understand.
The graphics for the music videos stated, look really good. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for ingame graphics. Sure, the characters look good, but to be truthful, the walking animations seem to be missing a few keyframes - At least for Earl, that is. The backgrounds and landscape look rather good, and in certain parts of the game, realistic. However, as many fans of the second game see it, this is one of the upsets. The second game was filled to the brim with funny and cool backgrounds, and colors that make you ask yourself, if you are really sober. Though it may sound strange if you've never played it, this color scheme along with the choice of cartoon-like graphics, really fits the mood for games like this. It's a shame, the developers didn't decide to keep third game in the series didn't keep the style.
All-in-all, though, it's a pretty fun game. I'd have to reccomend it to anyone who liked either of the first two games in the series, although it is quite long, and gets repetetive rather early on. For anyone else, you may be a bit dissapointed - Although, the game is pretty long, if that is of any value. You may also want to give it a rent, if for nothing but to just try it out. The humor alone makes it worth that, and odds are, once you play it, you are going to want to play it longer. Even if you don't play all the way though - As the game is indeed long, and sadly get's boring after you play through enough of it - you will have fun. It's as simple as that.
Community review by sayainprince (September 21, 2005)
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