Howdy peeps and welcome to Day #7/8 of Month of Nostalgic Video Game Reviews 2! This is a blog series where I review video games from my childhood. Today’s game is one of the strangest games I came across during my childhood while playing my Sega Mega Drive, ladies and gentlemen I present to you ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron!
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron was released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1993 in North America and 1994 in Europe and was a sequel to the game ToeJam & Earl that came out in 1991.
The plot of the game follows on from that of its predecessor, which followed the adventures of alien protagonists ToeJam and Earl after they crash landed on Earth. After escaping to their home planet of Funkotron, the characters discover that antagonistic Earthlings have stowed-away on the duo’s spacecraft. A sub-plot involves ToeJam and Earl’s attempt to lure Lamont the Funkapotamus back from the Funk Dimension, where he is hiding from the invading Earthlings. ToeJam, a “three-legged red alien”, wears a gold medallion and backwards baseball cap while Earl, a “fat orange alien”, dresses in high-tops and oversized sunglasses, both outfits being “over-the-top appropriation” of 1990s urban culture.
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron is a side-scrolling platform game, in which ToeJam and Earl must hunt down Earthling antagonists, which include a “pneumatic-drill-crazed construction worker, a camera-wielding tourist, our old friends the bogymen, pea-shooter armed kids and a rather rotund woman with ankle-snapping poodles.” Capturing Earthlings involves rummaging for them in bushes and trees, before pelting the antagonist with “jars” which imprison them. The player completes a level by catching all the at large Earthlings and sending them back to Earth via spacecraft. There are ten secret objects to be found, belonging to Lamont the Funkopotamus, “the source of all funk in the universe”.
The player can use points, earned by capturing Earthlings, to buy power-ups such as the “Funk Scan” or “Funk Move”. The former is a “radar view”, which “applies a warped, colorful filter over the screen, revealing hidden power ups”. The “Funk Move” allows the protagonists to teleport, thus dodging enemies or passing through walls. Bonus mini games can also be found throughout the game. “Jam Out” involves repetition of a rhythm in an effort to score points. The “Hyper Funk Zone” sees the characters propelled forward in search of bonus points, while “Fungus Olympics” is “not unlike synchronized swimming”.
I can still remember this game very well in my mind even though I played for about a week when I was 10 or something. I borrowed it off of a friend when we traded games and I though ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron looked like a weird and cool game so I had to try it out for myself. And I ate gonna lie… I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Everything about the game was so random from the level design to the visuals and crazy music and gameplay. This game was strangely addictive but was you got stuck (and you would if you weren’t that smart of a kid like me) then the game’s playtime would be short. I was just confused most of the time, why was I collecting presents? Why was I shaking trees or jumping at balloons or pushing weird rocks with faces!?! It was all too much for me to take in when I was younger so I gave up and played Sonic instead haha. Now I’ve never played the first game so I can’t compared them, but I’ve heard that ToeJam & Earl is meant to be a much better game overall but I haven’t gotten around to playing it yet but I hope to do so eventually.
In conclusion ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron is a strange title on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, it’s hard to recommend unless you’re looking for a retro and unconventional platforming game with aliens and other sorts of funky stuff. But yeah I played it and never forgot it so maybe you should give it a try.
Well that’s another game review done, just 23 days left to go! If you have experiences with this game or any of the following ones do comment below! Sorry again about my lateness, I’m working really hard right now to correct it! I’ll see ya tomorrow with another nostalgic video game review yo! 😀