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Sega Vintage Collection: ToeJam & Earl (Xbox360) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: Xbox360, PS3
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Final Score
6.5
6.5/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


Quirky old school game that has a certain charm.

Not so much?


Perhaps a bit too old school to be truly enjoyable on today's technology.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Both games earned their popularity on the funky sense of humor inherent in every aspect of ToeJam & Earl. From little comments like “ToeJam is a weiner” to levels like Mac Daddy Meadow to tools like the funk scan, there is a quirky sense of fun that endears you to the game. While the games (particularly the graphics) are decidedly old school, there is a certain element of charm that can’t be completely resisted. I did like a lot of elements in both games. However, like I stated earlier, both could have done with a little upgrading to make them more suited to today’s technology.

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Posted December 22, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Ah, nostalgia. It’s so…..nostalgic.

With the release of Sega Vintage Collection: ToeJam & Earl, you can now go back and play those old games you used to love (or never got a chance to play), in all their nostalgic, old school glory while enjoying the comfort of your very new school controllers and television setup. But is it worth your time (and money), or are some things best left in the past?

The Sega Vintage Collection contains two popular games from the original Sega console, ToeJam & Earl and its sequel, ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron. Both games feature the lovable teenage aliens, who manage to get themselves into trouble in both games. ToeJam is an odd looking three legged red dude, and Earl resembles an alpha version of Patrick from Spongebob. Of course, these being decades old games, it’s actually kind of hard to see any of the details in these funky characters.

In fact, that’s one of my biggest complaints with these ports of old games to new consoles. If people want it to be one hundred percent as it was, they can just go ahead and play the original on its original console. And to be fair, they did change the games a bit from the original anyway, in adding the opportunity to play online, so complete integrity isn’t apparently a huge priority. When a game is ported like this, I’d love to see the graphics cleaned up a bit, in a way that can take advantage of new technology while still preserving the story and gameplay from the original. /endrant

The first of the two games in the collection is ToeJam & Earl. Originally released in 1991, it features two “highly funky aliens…..from the planet Funkotron” who have crash landed on Earth. In order to make their way home, they need to find the ten missing pieces of their spaceship, which are unfortunately scattered around the planet. You can play as ToeJam, Earl, or both (if you find a willing friend). Each level consists of a series of floating green islands, connected by narrow strips. You need to make your way the randomly generated levels (without falling off), picking up presents, avoiding the natives, and making your way to the elevator that will take you to the next level.

Some of the levels contain parts of your ship. You’ll be told which levels do, so there isn’t too much fruitless searching involved, making sure you haven’t missed anything. There are a significant number of gifts in each level, though, so it’s worth searching just for those. The gifts contain such funky objects as bonus hitops, slingshots, rosebushes, and more, which can be a real help in making your way through the levels. Like any gift, they aren’t always a good thing, but they do play a major part in the game.

The levels are relatively short, and you do have  map which will show you all of the parts you have uncovered, including the location of the elevator. The biggest challenge is finding everything you can without running into the locals. These run the range from things like cupids that shoot arrows at you to mutant mailboxes to screaming kids in shopping carts, and all of them (even the hamsters) are deadly. One of my favorites is a hula girl, which cause you to break into a spontaneous hula dance that you are powerless to resist for a few seconds. Of course, your busting a move also makes you vulnerable to any other earthlings hanging around, so it isn’t a good thing (even if it is funny).

The second game, ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron, takes place after the two funky aliens have made their way back to their home planet. In their hasty return, they failed to notice the earthlings who had hitched a ride on their ship, and now the natives of Funkotron are in a panic. To make things right, ToeJam & Earl need to collect all the earthlings in jars and return them to their home planet. This game was created in 1993, and takes a noticeable departure from the original, both in graphics and play.

Panic in Funkotron is more of a platformer game. Like the original, you can choose to play as either alien (or both, with a friend). Your two main moves are jumping and throwing jars. You need to make your way through the levels, shaking trees and bushes and generally checking everywhere for those pesky earthlings. When you encounter one, you need to throw jars at it until it is captured, and then collect the jar before it gets back out. You need to clear a level completely of earthlings before you can advance to the next.

Both games earned their popularity on the funky sense of humor inherent in every aspect of ToeJam & Earl. From little comments like “ToeJam is a weiner” to levels like Mac Daddy Meadow to tools like the funk scan, there is a quirky sense of fun that endears you to the game. While the games (particularly the graphics) are decidedly old school, there is a certain element of charm that can’t be completely resisted. I did like a lot of elements in both games. However, like I stated earlier, both could have done with a little upgrading to make them more suited to today’s technology.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)