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ToeJam & Earl – Sega Genesis

ToeJam & Earl – Sega Genesis

ToeJamEarlPlatform: Sega Genesis

Developer: Johnson Voorsanger Productions

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: 1991

Genre: Adventure, Dungeon-Crawler

Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed by Lady Russell


Sometimes, the best we can expect from a video game is the unexpected. ToeJam & Earl is a zany adventure that makes no sense at all, but is fun nonetheless.

ToeJam and Earl are aliens from the planet Funkotron. They’re cruisin’ through the galaxy when their ship crashes onto a fearsome new planet: Earth. Their mission is to find all 10 pieces of their ship so they can get the heck out of this place. You’ll be exploring many, many levels in order to complete this goal. Each is randomly generated, and not every level has a piece of your precious ship. In order to get to the next level, you have to find an elevator that will take you there (because Earth is totally some free-standing pieces of land all on top of each other).


See what I mean about making sense?

During the elevator scenes, you’ll also be seemingly transported back to the 90’s. Trust me. You’ll hear the music, and see the funky colors/shapes, and you’ll think of past times. You’ll also be treated to some very entertaining chats between ToeJam and Earl (when in co-op play).


Is that the chubby face of mercy? No.

Earthlings inhabit the land, either helping you or threatening to run you over with lawnmowers and Boogeymen who will scare the life out of you. There are MANY types of Earthlings you’ll encounter. Here’s a few you’ll see: giant hamsters in equally giant hamster balls ready to flatten you, hula girls who will distract you with their hip gyrations, Santas that when scared will drop presents, evil doctors who will stab you with huge needles, a strange man dressed in a carrot suit, and, of course, sharks. That’s really only a sampling. It get’s so much weirder and yet, so much more humorous. You’ll see a woman pushing her cart with her screaming kid within, and you’ll no doubt think of the terrible parents you’ve seen on trips to Walmart.


Sneak up on Santa to get some presents.

Besides walking (and tip-toeing), you have no moves or abilities (which can get very frustrating at higher levels). Your only hope of survival is to use the many presents you find on the ground. Each contains something different. In one you may find Super Hi-Tops that allow you to run quickly away from large hamsters, while in another you might get food to gain some health back. Mostly presents can be classified to contain either abilities, distractions, helpful items, and evil items. Abilities include wings, spring shoes, rocket-shoes, and so on. Distractions like boom boxes or decoys allow you to get away from harmful Earthlings. Helpful items can be something like food, money, or an extra life. And sadly, because not all presents are good presents, you get bad things like “Bogus” (which kills you instantly) or a shuffle present that randomizes what any gift will contain from that point. ToeJam & Earl is all about random, so be careful.


Twice as fun!

The great thing is, you don’t have to go it alone. While you do have the option to play solo, you can also team up with a friend. When playing with someone else, the screen will split when you do, and combine to one when you’re back together. Playing with someone else gives you a lot of advantages as far as covering ground and getting presents, but you’ll have to wait for the other person to go farther in the game. Elevators won’t work unless there are two of you. If someone has fallen to any of the lower levels you’ve already visited they can take elevators alone back to the highest level reached, but you’ll both have to wait to progress further.

Like most other games of its time, ToeJam & Earl gets pretty tough, especially in the higher levels. And you become increasingly aware of how SLOW these two characters are. While this game is very much enjoyable, it does get very old and monotonous when playing for awhile. The levels don’t vary too much from one another past level 10 or so. I don’t mean to suddenly turn you of this game, but to warn you. Otherwise, the colorful Earthlings and the joy (and disappointment) of finding new presents are very entertaining, especially when Earl accidentally drops his pants.


Even aliens can be embarrassed.

This game is great, and I’ve had my copy almost as long as I’ve lived. It still is one of my childhood favorites, and is especially a fantastic game to play with friends. While the game can get a little tedious at times, it can be hilarious and fun. It’s overall definitely worth a play!

Written by Nerd Bacon

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  1. Pingback: Nerd Bacon Celebrates Retroary! (Retro + February = Retroary) - Nerd Bacon Reviews

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