ToeJam & Earl
Review by Joe Santulli
you've surprised me again! There I was, expecting this much-heralded cart to be a stupid
kiddie game, and next thing I know, I'm locked away for a weekend with
only a bag of chips, a bottle of Coke, and Toe
Jam & Earl cranking on the Genesis.
It's rare that a game with such fad-conscious mechanics comes off
being truly original, but it does, and it's an excellent 2 player game to
The story behind the game is a simple one - two aliens crash on Earth,
and must find the ten pieces of their ship to get back to their home
planet. The pieces are
scattered among 25 increasingly difficult levels.
That's where the standard stuff ends and the fun begins,
The saving grace of this unforgiving planet are the presents you will
find scattered about. Most of
these will help you in some way. The
super-hitops increase your speed. The
boombox makes the earthlings dance for awhile.
The telephone allows you to peek at some of the areas you haven't
explored yet. There are many,
many others. Not all of the
presents are beneficial, but there is a wise man that can identify your
presents (at a price) before you use them.
The digitized sound effects are all very well done.
I must say that this cart has some of the most bizarre (and
humorous) sound effects I've ever heard in a game.
The bogie-man's "BOOOGIE-BOOGIE-Boogie-bogie", the chorus
"Hallelujah!" that sounds when you are healed or find the last
piece of the ship, and the snoring and wake-up call you hear when you fall
asleep are all top-notch. No
single enemy in any videogame has ever sounded as sinister as the dentist
when he pokes you with his drill. His
maniacal laughter is a real gem. Add
to these outstanding effects a two player jam session demo and some pretty
upbeat background music, you'll find this game scores very high in the
Let's talk graphics. It's
obvious that this game is trying to capture that cartoonish look, so many
of the Genesis' graphic strong points are overlooked.
I would have to say that Toe
Jam & Earl's graphics could be compared to a very good Nintendo
game. The difference,
however, is in the animation, which is very smooth throughout.
There are so many different motions that these characters go
through (sleeping, hula-dancing, diving, running with hitops, sneaking on
tippy-toes, etc.) that the rather barren background graphics are
Finally, the real high point of the game: the two-player option.
Playing with one person is OK, but the entire game takes on a new
perspective when a friend plays along.
In many areas teamwork pays off greatly, and if you want to play
competetively, try going your separate ways.
The screen splits when the team breaks up, and joins together when
they are near. The
"random game" option keeps this cart from ever getting
repetitious, because the contents of presents, their location, the
location of the ship pieces, and the geography change with every game.
I can't see myself ever getting really bored with this cart.
It's unique, fun-to play (especially with a friend), and has one of
the best endings I've ever seen in a game.
TIP: There's a secret
level hidden beneath level 1! Using
either the innertube or the Icarus wings, move all the way to the bottom
left corner of the map on level one.
In the center of the island there is a hole leading to level 0.
Drop down into it and hang out with the hula-girls.
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