Tuesday Nov 06, 2012
In which the funk — in the form of intergalactic aliens with hip-hop style — is returned to Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network!
Behold, Earthlings! The — to quote the scriptures — ‘hippinest hoppinest party that’s kicking around the world‘ has arrived for digital download on both XBLA and PSN. That means both of the Genesis/Mega Drive adventures! Here’s, if I may use the lingo of the time, “what’s up”:
Xbox LIVE Arcade:
The games have been fully updated with achievements and trophies — as well as full multiplayer support! The games are, after all, called ToeJam and Earl: playing with a friend is what I think in the nineties they referred to as groovy. I’m not sure though; it’s been a while.
But let me rap at you a moment. Few games define the Genesis/Mega Drive era of SEGA as adeptly as ToeJam & Earl: a kinetic mixture of gameplay styles, inventive music, imaginative character designs, and yes, nineties attitude.
The original ToeJam & Earl is a totally different kind of game from anything else that was on a console — closer to dungeon crawler than the platformers that dominated the era. You take control of the eponymous aliens on an Earthbound quest to recover the bits and pieces of their spaceship, while dealing with all the sorts of things one might find on Earth, such as gigantic hamsters in hamster balls, hula dancers, and roaming packs of aggressive nerds. And — in what is increasingly marking TJ&E as more documentary than mere video game — you could repel all these things with improvised weapons such as hurled tomatoes.
The nineties were a different time, is all we’re saying. Some of you may not remember, but all these things happened.
And then they happened again in Panic on Funkotron, which ditched the three-quarters scale view of the first game for a more “traditional” side-scroller, but upgraded the graphics and added a ton of endearing gameplay mechanics, including the endearingly bizarre dance-offs. The game sees the duo cleansing their home planet of overly enthusiastic tourists.
And yes: we could not bring up these games without mentioning that the sound and music were absolutely fantastic. I mean … funktastic. Sorry. We are legally obligated to call the sound and music funktastic or funktacular, but that’s okay, because they truly were. Hip-hop styled sounds didn’t always translate well into 16-bits of synthesized music, but somehow — I’m going to guess the magic of the synthesized slap bass — it worked for these games, and the sound effects and music blend together to add a terrific depth and spirit of goofy fun to the game.
Enjoy these classic titles — this was the pinnacle of funk … on a whole new level.
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