REVIEW: ToeJam & Earl (1991, Genesis)

Today’s game is a…bizarre one, to say the least. Developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions and released for the Sega Genesis in 1991, it’s none other than the cult classic ToeJam & Earl.

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The game’s plot revolves around two alien rappers (Don’t question it) as they have crash landed on the planet Earth, which is inhabited by elderly men in carrot costumes and giant hamsters (Hey, what did I say? Don’t question it!). But is this game truly deserving of its surprisingly large following, or does it fall flat faster than every single Sega console released after the Genesis? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS – “Simplistic, but charming” is the best way to describe the game’s visuals. The graphics have a rather “animated” feeling to them, with some character sprites having some cartoonish and quite creative designs. The backgrounds, although recycled, are also very appealing, having a detailed look to them. Unfortunately, the visuals lead up to what is personally my biggest problem with the game: the main protagonists themselves. Now, hear me out for a brief moment. You ever heard of the term “product of its time”, or in this case, “products of their time”? Yeah, ToeJam & Earl are pretty much that. From their gangsta lingo to their designs in general, everything about them just feels…dated. Maybe it’s just me, though.

THE SOUND – The music is also one of this game’s strongest traits. The music itself is well-composed and quite catchy, having a great use of instruments such as bass and the saxophone. The sound effects are also good, giving out a feeling of satisfaction whenever you pull of a certain action. But every time I listen to the music, it reminds me of something. But I don’t know what…

Eh, probably my imagination.

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The titular protagonists, in all their 90’s infested glory.

THE GAMEPLAY – Now THIS is where the game really gets good. Throughout the game, you’re mostly traveling across the Earth trying to collect your ship pieces, collecting various power-ups and items and avoiding earthlings along the way. You can also restore your health by eating food – but only good ones, such as fries, ice cream, and candy canes. Others, such as moldy cheese and old cabbage will NOT help you in the long run. There’s also a co-op mode in which you and your friend can play as either ToeJam & Earl, which greatly increases the fun factor. The gameplay itself is rather slow-paced, but for a game like this, it works very well to its advantage.

THE BOTTOM LINE – ToeJam & Earl offers a great amount of fun, quirkiness, and creativity, but the archaic title characters hinder it from being one of the Genesis’ top 10 games. If you’re a hardcore Sega fan, then you will most definitely love this game. As for others, well, judge it for yourself I guess.

8/10

Also, be sure to post comments and leave feedback!

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