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Toejam & Earl Collection (Video Game Review)

ToeJam & Earl is a long beloved franchise initially released by SEGA back in 1991, and although most of us still hold fond memories of playing the game with our siblings and friends, most of us have long since parted with our Genesis and copy of the original title or its sequel, ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron. However, SEGA has brought back the classic titles for a new generation in the SEGA Vintage Collection, but this poses a big dilemma that we will discuss during the course of the review. We'll give you the good news first; the ToeJam & Earl Collection as part of the SEGA Vintage Collection allows you to pick up both classic titles for cheap with new features not available in the original release. Unfortunately, there is bad news as well, as the games have aged terribly over the last two decades, and with nearly no improvement to the actual gameplay in either title, SEGA will have a tough time selling this title to any but the most hardcore fans of the series.

In ToeJam & Earl, our title protagonists find themselves crash landing on Earth thanks to Earl's terrible piloting skills. The duo will then have to venture across various parts of Earth in search of missing ship parts to put their vehicle back together again and make their way back to Funkotron. Along the way, ToeJam & Earl will meet up with plenty of Earthlings who don't appreciate the funky ways of the visiting aliens. All sorts of zany enemies clash with our heroes including bogeymen, nerds, police chickens, demons and more. The duo will find plenty of powerups along the way and tomatoes to throw at enemies as a means to defeat them. The heroes will need to find 10 parts to finish their ship, and after thoroughly exploring an area, an elevator can be accessed to go up to a new level.

The sequel, ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron, completely changes the way you play the game. top-down camera view is traded in for side-scrolling platforming, and while the sequel is a slight step ahead in the graphics department, its still a pain to play. The duo finally make it back to their home planet of Funkotron only to discover Earthling stowaways snuck onto their ship and have now been set free on the planet. It will be up to ToeJam & Earl to use special jars to find and capture all the Earthlings and send them back to their own planet before they suck all of the funk from the cool world. Much of the story in the sequel is told through interacting with other aliens from the planet, but most can only be talked to once, meaning if you accidentally walk past a NPC or skip important dialogue, you'll have to replay the whole stage to learn where to go or what to do. The poor storyline of both games is made all the more apparent by the poor execution of its storytelling, which is something that may not have bothered us when we were 5, but it seems very out of place in modern gaming.

Still, you don't expect older games to feature much of a storyline, but old school games can still be a lot of fun with good gameplay. Both games are crippled by some of the poorest controls in any games ever. The slow, awkward controls makes the games drag on at an incredibly boring pace and the precision of the controls is enough to make most people quit within the first hour spent with the game. The game is overshadowed by nearly any platforming game from the era including the much superior Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog, and even classic titles such as Super Mario Bros., Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden produced much more fun experiences. The games are slightly more entertaining with a friend in online cooperative play, but that would be like saying being tortured is easier when someone is going through the same pains; it's still not fun. Even the fun of cooperative play has been lessened by the fact that you can't earn Trophies or Achievements while playing with a friend. The only inviting new feature is the ability to save at anytime during the game and come back after you're drunk enough to continue the horrid games.

Ten bucks is a small price to pay for two games, but if you're into terrible deals, SEGA is also throwing in ruined childhood memories with every purchase of the ToeJam & Earl Collection. Honestly, the game were probably never too much fun and were only cult favorites because of there witty 90s humor and bright colors that any kid would've loved when the games were new. The pretty packaging obviously hid some very noticeable flaws that stick out like a sore thumb in the modern generation of gaming. If you do decide to pick up the ToeJam & Earl Collection even after reading the review, at least you can join co-op with a friend and miss out on any Trophies, save your replays of a horrible game to share with friends as a terrible joke or work your way up the leaderboards for one of the worst collections ever. So, at least there's that. The funk has officially left Funkotron and will never return.

ToeJam & Earl Collection is now available for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade and can be purchase for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points respectively. ToeJam & Earl Collection is rated E by the ESRB for Comic Mischief. For more information on the game, check out the official ToeJam & Earl Collection website.

Game Features:
  • Online Cooperative Multiplayer 1-2
  • 2 Games in 1 Package
  • Classic Characters and Gameplay
  • Online Leaderboards
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer & Publisher: SEGA
    Platforms: PlayStation Network (reviewed) & Xbox LIVE Arcade
    Release Date: November 7, 2012

    Score: 2 out of 10 
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