|ONLINE||Yes [PS3/360] 2 Player Co-Op|
|RELEASE DATE||January 8, 1993 [Genesis]; June 4 [NA], May 31 [EU] 2007 [Wii Virtual Console], November 7, 2012 [PS3/360]|
|PLATFORMS||Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation Vita|
|DEVELOPER||Toejam & Earl Productions|
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, almost Looney Tunes-like premise, but it manages to work, and it’s all good fun.
It’s an old video game, after all. They weren’t exactly known for compelling storytelling outside of the occasional RPG here and there.
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 – the sound was often awful, and visuals were usually weaker in comparison to a title’s SNES counterpart – so when something like this came along, it stood 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 – not unlike the shift from The Legend of Zelda to Zelda II on the NES.
Making use of lots of bass and low end – the crunch that the Genesis puts out works really well for deep electric bass or electric guitar as opposed to sweeping orchestral sounds.
When composers knew what they were doing, you could get some stellar music out of the Genesis – but you had to play to its strengths.
As mentioned above, this was a major change from the original game. Toejam & Earl 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 & 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 as 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 Hyperfunk Zone. This mini-game is akin to 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 with crayon-like visuals. 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 overall 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.
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 of Toejam & Earl also have Trophy/Achievement support, so they have a little more value, but not much. The trophies aren’t exactly difficult – you can even make use of level skips to get them if you want.
That version also features a bunch of extras – like the ability to listen to the soundtrack complete with an equalizer that showcases all the FM channels any given track is using and various other little details as well as a means to create playlists of the songs you want.
There’s also a trial mode with a handful of different challenges, each with their own leaderboards. I haven’t touched this mode much, though. Just enough to know they are very specific challenges that are timed/have target times/scores.
Like a run through the Hyperfunk Zone in an attempt to set a high score.
Overall, Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron is a solid platformer. It’s not the best game ever created by any stretch of the phrase, but it is definitely one of the better Genesis titles and definitely worth picking up in one of its various forms – I would recommend the PS3/360 version since it offers a bit more thanks to the addition of Trophies/Achievements as well as online co-op play and the other extras it has.