ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron!

ESRB:E
ONLINE:Yes [PS3/360] 2 Player Co-Op
INSTALL:N/A
RELEASE DATE:January 8, 1993 [Genesis]; June 4 [NA], May 31 [EU] 2007 [Wii Virtual Console], November 7, 2012 [PS3/360]
PLATFORM:Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita
PUBLISHER:SEGA
DEVELOPER:Toejam & Earl Productions
ONLINE PASS:N/A

Story

The three-legged alien Toejam, and his rather large friend Earl have left Earth and come back home to planet Funkotron. However, they’ve also kind of brought back some human beings with them, and these tourists are completely wrecking the vibe of their home.

It’s up to Toejam & Earl to capture and send these pesky human beings back to their home planet.

It’s a very silly premise, but it manages to work, and it’s all good fun.

Presentation

Allow me to start by saying this is quite possibly one of the best looking and sounding Genesis games I have ever played. Neither of which is something the Genesis was really known for – sound was usually awful, and a game’s visuals were usually weaker than their SNES counterparts – so when something like this comes along, it stands out.

The visuals are crisp, with bright colors, great animation, and expressive characters. A rather large departure from the original game – which was a top down, 3rd-person isometric title with relatively small sprites and not a lot of detail [It’s a lot like the shift Nintendo made from The Legend of Zelda, to Zelda II].

The sound is top notch – none of that awful, compressed sound that plagued many Genesis/32X titles, like this.

Gameplay

As mentioned above, this was a major change from the original game. TJ&E 2 is a standard side-scrolling platformer. You walk/run left and right, hunting for the human tourists on each stage. The goal is to collect them all on a given stage, then load them up on a spaceship and send them home to move on to the next stage.

To find them, you have a few tools at your disposal – a radar system which is just a little arrow on the hud that points in the direction of the nearest human, and turns to a flashing red light when one is near. The Funk Scan, that can reveal hidden items and humans, wherever they may be on the screen and your trusty jars that you use to capture the humans. There’s also a “Panic Button”, which grants limited invincibility while Toejam and Earl run around throwing jars randomly, in all directions.

There are also a few powerups in the game – these include the Super Jars, which allow you to catch humans in one hit. And the FunkVac, which collects any and everything on the screen.

For variety, there are a couple of mini-games. The first is a rhythm game in which Toejam or Earl dances with their pal Peabo, Sharla or Lamont in front of a boombox. The goal is to match their rhythm as best you can.

The next is the “Fungus Olympics”, activated usually by a parking meter next to, well, some fungus. The goal is to do some acrobatic maneuvers in midair while bouncing on the fungus. You want to try and do as many flips as you can, while landing on your feet at the end.

The last is the Hyper Funk Zone. This mini games is like Sonic the Hedgehog “Lite”. You jump through a hidden door, revealed by activating a meter, or some other switch and enter a world that is rendered in crayon like graphics. The goal is to run to the right, picking up any items you can, and avoiding all obstacles and exit doors until you complete all three Zones. The reward for doing this? Unlimited SuperJars – so it’s worth it.

The gameplay is nothing to write home about, but it’s solid. The controls are fairly responsive, and you won’t feel like you were cheated into dying or anything. It plays well.

Replay Value

There isn’t much. There are alternate endings depending on if you got all of Lamont’s Favorite Things or not, but they aren’t too different. Once you’ve gone through the game, unless you’re a complete perfectionist and have to see every little secret a game has to offer, you’ve pretty much done all there is to do.

The PS3/360 versions coming out soon will have Trophy/Achievement support, so they’ll have a little more value, but not much.

Overall

Overall, Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron is a very solid platformer. It’s not the best game ever created by any stretch of the phrase, but it is definitely one of the best Genesis titles and definitely worth picking up in one of its various forms – I would recommend the upcoming PS3/360 version since it offers just a little bit more thanks to the addition of Trophies/Achievements.

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PROS CONS
  • Solid platforming gameplay.
  • Nice, sharp, colorful visuals.
  • One of the best Genesis soundtracks I've ever heard.
  • Not a ton of variety in the gameplay.
  • Not a lot to do once the game is actually over.
  • FINAL VERDICT
    Click here or on the verdict image to the left for full disclosure of what these ratings mean!

    About James Headrick

    James is an aspiring game reviewer that plays primarily on the Playstation 3 & 4. He also works freelance as a graphic designer, doing print and branding based design.
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