Saturday, July 4, 2009
A Little Bit of Funk: Toejam & Earl
HOW MANY BITS, MERCER?: 6.5/8
This game has had multiple reincarnations over the path of my gaming-career, but none of them were as good, or ever will be as good as the original. I think the thing that struck me the most about this game was how the aliens were consciously created to act like humans/teens from the time that the game was made (the early nineties).
Alright, so, there are two aliens, One (Toejam) is a tiny little skinny one, and (Earl) a fat-monsterous orange one; and they are both from Funkotron. The premise of the game is that Toejam and Earl have crashed their ship and need to find all of the pieces to it. This sounds like a fairly basic, and boring idea for a game. Howe
ver, strangely, it's enthralling.
There are multiple levels of this planet that almost look like islands, and the levels are connected by mini-elevators that are guarded by a plethora of strange people/things/objects. For example:hula girls, giant hamsters, packs of "nerds", ice-cream trucks, Bogeymen, man-eating mailboxes, and chicken policemen who's only form of weaponry are tomatoes. Obviously, judging by the antagonists of the game, Toejam & Earl aren't given the best means for protection either. The only weapon that they have the same aforementioned tomatoes, and t
hey don't even get them all the time. Other weapons/toys the aliens get to play with are inner-tubes, books, super-skates, and wings. AND DON'T FORGET THE CHUCK TAYLOR HIGH-TOP SHOES (how 90's can we get?). Though, those can also only be found in the boost-up packages scattered around the game world.
So basically, this game consists of running around as aliens with bling-chains and backwards hats on, whilst being pelted with tomatoes, and searching for missing elevators to take you to the next level of the planet. All the while, these aliens are speaking in California Surfer-Dude lingo (example: "Jamming" on the game's original cover), and opening up random gifties containing power-ups or power-downs. They are chased by mail-men, hamsters in hamster-balls, and gigantic packs of nerds. This sounds like the worst marijuana-induced nightmare ever, which seems fitting for the time that it came out.
Now, I generally try to keep away from the technical aspects of the game, because, I mean, they're totally boring, and who the fuck cares butttttt: the final, and most interesting/innovative aspect of this game (remember, it came out in 1991) is the two player functionality. This game (for SEGA) would actually SPLIT up into two screens if there were two players playing and the two aliens became separated. This openned up whole new venues, and actually effected game-play AND dialogue. So, depending on whether you played two player, or single the whole game changed, and the relationship between Toejam & Earl was developed completely differently.
So, really, if you haven't played this game yet, pick it up. I know that it's impossible to find old school gaming consoles lying around anymore (unless you're totally awesome like me), but it's for Xbox, N64 (oh god, that one's old now too, huh?), and even Wii. The game play is basically the same, and so is the premise; the only thing that really changed was the graphics.
So go and have some nerd-toastin', tomato-hurlin', high-top-wearin', slammin', jammin', bitchin' fun!