Can a simple funky collect-em-up still appeal?
The original ToeJam & Earl is one of my favourite Megadrive games for when I want a game I can really relax with, because while it has its tough moments, it’s not exactly built to be a high-speed, high stress affair. It’s light, it’s funny, and it features two rapping Aliens who couldn’t be more early 1990s without a guest appearance by Vanilla Ice.
The Iceman, though, hooked up with different alien-looking beings.
It was followed by a platform sequel that…
stunning admission incoming…
I’ve never played.
I’m not even sure why. I’ve only ever rarely seen copies, which doesn’t help, I guess. But when ToeJam & Earl III was announced for the Xbox, it was on my to-buy list from very early on. As I’ve previously noted, the original Xbox’s release schedule coincided with the period when I was writing extensively for Gamespot Australia, which meant that much of the collection is ex-review code. ToeJam & Earl III was a game I spent my own actual money on, and for a while, I played it happily, retrieving the 12 sacred albums of funk.
Eight of which were undeniably by this dude.
It’s been a long while since I’ve played any ToeJam & Earl, though, but it turned out it was pretty much exactly what I needed tonight.
It’s still essentially relaxed, it’s still got an offbeat sense of humour, and it still (mostly) works well in multiplayer modes. There are a few genuinely odd moments early on, like when I’m trying to convert the earthling youngsters with my Funk Fu and one of the little girls screams “help, he’s after me!” (which, contextually, is super awkward, really), but still, this is a game I can kick back and relax with.
Will I finish it? Nah, I’m really only dabbling in it, laughing at a few jokes and moving on. Sega hitched its horse hard to the original Xbox, having seen the Dreamcast die, and that meant that it had a whole host of games that never saw light of day on the competing PS2 or Gamecube formats.
If you’re curious, I never did get around to backing the “all new” ToeJam & Earl kickstarter… but I’m pretty sure that the backers are still waiting for that thing.
Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings
- Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
- Taito Legends 2
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
- Outrun 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer
- The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
- Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
- Godzilla: Save The Earth
- The Punisher
- The Hulk
- SSX Tricky
- ToeJam & Earl III
- NFL Street
- Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
- FIFA 2004
- NHL Rivals 2004
- Spy vs Spy
- Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
- Rugby League
- Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
- Wrestlemania 21
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
This was another tough call, because while I like it, I can’t deny that it’s not a terribly substantial game, and it’s totally one that I’ve got to be in a very particular mood to play. Hence its middle-of-the-pack placing.
Next time: The videogame equivalent of Con Air.