Gamespot.com is the primary reason this game didn't receive
the recognition it deserved, and why there will never be another ToeJam
& Earl game. ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth was given a 5.0 out of 10,
a kiss of death in any game magazine. However, the reasoning behind such a low
score is flawed at best, manipulative at worst.
The reviewer's only gripe about the game was that he didn't think it was funny.
The gameplay is still like the original game's, it's got all of the elements
of the original, the additional gameplay elements, and boss fights. Even in
concept TJ&E3 sounds much better than "mediocre" to me. Having
owned it, I now know that the Gamespot reviewer just had some beef with TJ&E's
style of humor. Seriously, in the whole review all he says against the game
is that it wasn't funny, and he didn't like the music or the rapping. He even
says that it plays like the original and lists all of the functions of the gameplay
that would make it do so:
"The actual gameplay in ToeJam & Earl III is like a cross between the
first two games in the series. Like in the original, you, either alone or with
a friend, must move from level to level, exploring the maps from a third-person
perspective and ending each level with a trip in a flying elevator. Like in
the second game, you'll find earthlings and, with a blast of your "funk
fu," bless them with the healing power of the funk. The game is broken
up into worlds, each with a handful of different stages and each culminating
in a boss fight or other task. However, the standard level gives you a checklist
of things to accomplish. Some levels will force you to convert every earthling
in the level. Others will have you unlocking "presents," which are
the game's equivalent to power-ups. You'll discover presents that give you various
movement items, like spring shoes, rocket skates, and so on. Other presents
are weapons, such as the large funk fu blast or the funkify notes. Still others
are simple pleasures, such as life-recovering food, a decoy to trick pesky earthlings,
and the like.
Regardless of the tasks at hand, all you really need to do is run around,
blasting humans with the funk via your funk fu attack or the specialized
weapons granted by the presents. Along the way you'll pick up keys,
microphones, and other items that can be used to unlock later levels. In
cooperative mode, the two players can split off from one another, which
automatically changes the game's viewpoint to a split screen, which remerges
when the two players enter the same area--a nice feature that unfortunately
doesn't help the gameplay much. "
"The game's music, which is unlocked as you collect more of the missing
records, is mostly drum machine and synthesized slap bass. It may be on par
with early Genesis games, but you'd probably expect to hear something that
sounds a little more current. "
and his conclusion:
"Big fans of the original ToeJam & Earl game will probably have
feelings about the game. On one hand, the gameplay is roughly the same as
that of the original game, full of wacky presents with varied effects. On
the other, the poor voices and music really date the game and make it feel
incredibly stale. The simple mechanics certainly don't help hide the game's
other flaws, either, and ultimately the original ToeJam & Earl still remains
a better game overall. So anyone looking for a ToeJam & Earl fix would
be better off digging up a copy of the original. And anyone who has no idea
what the previous games in the series are even about should look elsewhere
for entertainment, at this point."
These are the only useful paragraphs in his entire review and even they are
dripping with his bias against the game. Everything else is just bitching and
moaning about the game not being as "hip" as he'd have liked it to
Toe Jam & Earl is an amazing game! It's one of the few that I played
for ages without end, never caring that I was replaying sections to get
to the next. I still cringe when I think of the Gamespot review of TJ&E
3 on Xbox, and its subsequent rejection, it's every bit as good as the
original. The only real problem is that it doesn't try to be anything
but what it is. If it'd tried to look like Jak & Daxter, or whatnot, no
comparisons to "hip hop" culture would have been made, it just would
have been pronounced "good".
If you like Toe Jam & Earl 1, it's a very good continuation of that concept.
If you're looking for anything else, I seriously doubt you'll find it.