Back in the SEGA Megadrive days two characters named ToeJam and Earl graced our screens in a completely out of this world adventure. Later on a sequel Panic on Funkotron arrived with a different take on the series. Fast forward years later ToeJam and Earl 3 arrived on the Xbox taking the adventure back to Earth. The year now is 2019 and ToeJam and Earl are back with an adventure similar to the first game in ToeJam and Earl Back in the Groove. Who are they you may ask? Below is a brief history of what I feel was one of the highlights of the SEGA Megadrives history.
The year was 1991, SEGA had its fair share of games at the time but nothing like ToeJam and Earl. The game was full of creativity, it really felt out of its time with its multiplayer mode and random level generation which would change layouts to make it fresher each time and it used an interesting hip-hop theme throughout that really when you go back to it today, takes you back to the early 90s. This was the love child of TJ&E Productions ran by Mark Voorsanger and Greg Johnson. ToeJam and Earl were considered to become SEGA’s mascot at one point but sadly missed out by such a small amount to Sonic the Hedgehog.
Later a sequel spawned after the characters featured in the Ready, Aim Tomatoes! mini game on the Menacer 6 -in -1 cart which you could use a special gun peripheral with. ToeJam and Earl Panic on Funktron saw the two crazy characters return to the planet Funkotron in a 2D platformer this time round. ToeJam and Earl’s task this time was to clear up the chaos made by the earthlings that have secretly hitched a lift on their spaceship to Funkotron and get rid of them. While the developers of this title wanted to stick to the creativity of the original, SEGA America had other plans to try and make it more mainstream, sadly it didn’t do as well as the previous game but still kept what made it great in the first place.
Fast forward a few years, both Johnson and Voorsanger after completing other projects jumped back into the TJ&E seat to bring another sequel out, this time on the Xbox. Originally slated to arrive on the SEGA Dreamcast, both developers saw how the Dreamcast was going and decided it was best to release on Xbox instead. Not wanting to slack on the quality of ToeJam and Earl 3 Mission to Earth, they decided to release on the Xbox only stating that focusing on to many system would ruin there original vision and not give them enough time. With much more creative freedom this time around they were able to return to similar routes as the first one with giving players complete freedom to explore interesting and funky levels while trying to obtain the 12 records of funk from around planet Earth. Fans absolutely loved the title but unfortunately due to newer players in 2002 not quite knowing who they were it sadly led to the abandonment of the studio.
Two decades later Greg Johnson has brought them back to life, the year is 2019 and we’re only a couple months away from the fourth instalment, ToeJam and Earl Back in the Groove. A trailer features below:
Human Nature Studios have for years being developing the perfect sequel to the original games capturing the feel of the first game and expanding upon it much more. This time round more characters have joined, multiplayer mode is back and the game will be available on PlayStation 4, Switch and PC on March 1st and Xbox One at a later date.
Are you as excited as I am for the sequel?