ToeJam & Earl
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ToeJam & Earl (トージャム＆アール) is an action game developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions, and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive. It stars two extraterrestrial rappers who, by way of pilot error, end up crash-landing on Earth. While there, they must search for the missing pieces of their spacecraft in hopes of reassembling it. The game frequently parodies and satirizes 1990s urban culture, and includes common 90's slang and a funk soundtrack. Much of this charm is what drew people toward the game. The game was followed by Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron.
The game takes place in a surreal isometric world representing Earth, where land is in the form of a stack of randomly-generated floating islands. In each of the game's 25 island, the player must find the elevator that will bring them to the next level. Occasionally, a rocketship piece will be hidden somewhere on an island, although the player is not required to collect it right away before moving onto the next island. Every island besides the first is surrounded by a void, falling in at any time will cause the player to fall to the previous level.
Presents are scattered around the island that can be collected and used at any time. The effects of each present box are randomized each time the game is played. Some presents have helpful effects, such as restoring health, temporarily bestowing special abilities, or revealing hidden sections of the map. Others, however, can do more harm, and can do things such as summon enemies, cause the character to fall asleep and leave them open to attack, or randomize the effects of all the presents.
While most inhabitants of Earth will attack or otherwise hinder Toejam & Earl when they spot them, some will help them in exchange for money. The man in the carrot suit will identify presents, and the wizard will fully restore a character's health. On occasion, Santa Claus can be found, if the player is successful in sneaking up to him without alerting him, he will drop a few random presents.
The player has a rank shown on the bottom of the screen with their health and number of extra lives, and begins the game at the rank of 'Weiner'. As the player scores points by uncovering squares of the map and opening presents, their rank will increase at certain point values. When the player increases in rank, their maximum health increases, and for every second increase in rank, the player receives an extra life. The player is able to increase in rank eight times.
The game can either be played with one or two players. In two-player mode, if Toejam & Earl wander too far apart, the game will go into a split-screen so both players can keep track of their characters, with the screen returning to normal once the characters reunite. If Toejam & Earl walk into each other, they will high-five, causing the player with the most health to give a little to the player with less health. If one player loses all of their lives, they can also take a life from the other player to come back into the game.
The game ends when the player finds all 10 pieces of the spacecraft.
Game Design: Greg Johnson