|ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth|
|Developer(s)|| ToeJam & Earl Productions |
Visual Concepts Entertainment
|Series||ToeJam & Earl|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, action, platform|
ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth is an action video game released for the Xbox on October 22, 2002. Developed by ToeJam & Earl Productions and Visual Concepts, and published by Sega, it is the third installment in the ToeJam & Earl series. Players assume the role of one of three extraterrestrial protagonists: ToeJam and Earl, who starred in the series' first two games, and Latisha, a new character. While using power-ups to combat enemies, players seek to collect the twelve "Sacred Albums of Funk" and defeat the antagonistic "Anti-Funk."
The original two ToeJam & Earl games were a key Sega Genesis franchise, but development of a third game was prevented by disharmony between ToeJam & Earl Productions and original publisher Sega. Versions of ToeJam & Earl III developed at different times for the Nintendo 64 and the Dreamcast were canceled, but the latter was completed for the Xbox. On release, the game met with poor sales and mixed reviews; while certain critics found its gameplay innovative, its humor, soundtrack and graphics were variously praised and derided. Opinions of the game's overall enjoyability and longevity were also mixed.
This was the last game in the ToeJam & Earl series until 2019's Back in the Groove , which was made without Sega's involvement.
ToeJam & Earl III follows the extraterrestrial protagonists ToeJam and Earl, who starred in the series' previous games, and a new female character named Latisha.ToeJam is three-legged and red; Earl is overweight and orange. Both characters have been considered parodies of American hip-hop and urban culture. Latisha has been variously described as "feisty" and "brimming with attitude" by critics.
The three characters journey to Earth, in order to retrieve the stolen twelve Sacred Albums of Funk and return them to Lamont the Funkopotamus.Levels take place on terrains that represent Earth's ecosystems. The game's ultimate antagonist is the Anti-Funk, whose defeat will "save the world from all that is unfunky." The "funk" has been described as a parody of the Force from Star Wars , with the Anti-Funk being the dark side.
The game has been called both a platform gameand an action-adventure game. GameSpot asserts that it combines elements of ToeJam & Earl and its platformer sequel, ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron , while GameNOW and Electronic Gaming Monthly liken it to the former game. The game features both single- and two-player modes; in both, players control one of the three protagonists. ToeJam moves quickly and jumps high, but has weak attacks; Earl is tougher and has more powerful attacks, but is slow and jumps lower than ToeJam; Latisha ranks between the two in terms of athleticism, and gains additional power-ups later in the game. In the game's two-player mode, the camera moves between single and split-screen as players maneuver their characters away from each other. Characters can share power-ups when in close proximity.
The game's randomly generated levels are connected together by hubs.Additional levels could be downloaded from Xbox Live. Level exploration is based around collecting items: the player searches for the Sacred Albums of Funk, and for keys that grant access to more levels. Enemies include rabbit ninja, a "demented chicken," and "psycho cheerleaders," which the player combats with Funk-Fu and Funk Notes. Funk Notes are projectiles that render enemies "funkified," or harmless; more powerful than Funk-Fu, they require the player to gather ammunition. The player may also find wrapped presents, which contain power-ups such as rocket skates, spring shoes and food; these variously grant greater defensive abilities, access to certain areas, and additional health. Another power-up involves a simple rhythm game, and leaves nearby enemies "funkified" if the player successfully copies on-screen rhythms.
ToeJam & Earl and its sequel ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron together formed one of the Sega Genesis' main series.However, creator Greg Johnson said that installments for the console's Sega CD or 32X add-ons were never planned. Johnson and programmer Mark Voorsanger regained the rights to ToeJam and Earl in 1995, and stated that Sega's ownership of the franchise had prevented their creating a third installment. In early 1998 they expressed interest in making a new ToeJam & Earl game for a non-Sega platform, and in November 1998 made an agreement with GT Interactive to publish a new game in the franchise for the Nintendo 64. Johnson and Voorsanger conducted research to determine whether series fans preferred the original ToeJam & Earl or its sequel; the former emerged as the clear favorite. In April 1999, however, it was reported that the deal with GT Interactive had fallen through; the publisher had decided that the series' previous game was not an encouraging success commercially, particularly in Europe. GT Interactive's restructuring and the Nintendo 64's declining commercial performance were also believed to be factors by commentators.
It was reported the following month that the developer was planning to create the game for Sony's PlayStation 2, perhaps to coincide with the console's release.Ultimately, however, the developer became involved with Sega's Dreamcast through Visual Concepts—a Sega developer in charge of third-party game development. Johnson and Voorsanger began development of the third game with the intention to re-make ToeJam & Earl; according to Johnson, the game would include the same elements as the first game, but with improved graphics. However, this notion was curtailed by Visual Concepts, who felt that the result would be too old-fashioned, and too niche in appeal. Johnson later said that he was unsure, at the time, whether to cater to fans who wanted a remake of the original or attempt to capture a new audience.
Visual Concepts assisted with the development process, as ToeJam & Earl Productions was struggling with the game's technical demands. Johnson and Voorsanger indicated the development of a new character with the game's working title, "ToeJam, Earl, and Latisha."Lisa Lopes was nearly signed to provide Latisha's voice acting, but disagreements over fees caused the deal to fail. Actress Sherrie Jackson provided the character's voice instead. The game was previewed at E3 in 2001, but Sega subsequently ceased its support of the Dreamcast due to poor commercial performance. Once again, Johnson's preferred format was the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo GameCube, but the developer ultimately ported the game to Microsoft's Xbox because of its technical simplicity, as well as free advertising offered to Sega by Microsoft. Promotional copies of the game portrayed the Anti-Funk as a disembodied head reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan mask—an anti-racism statement, according to Johnson. Sega vetoed this, however, and the character was changed to a skull design for the game's retail release.
In September 2013, an unreleased Dreamcast version of ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth was found on a Katana Development Kit. Sega was asked to approve its release, but no response was ever received. The creators of this series, Greg Johnson and Mark Voorsanger, agreed to a community release. The Dreamcast prototype is now available for downloading online.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||7.17/10|
|Official Xbox Magazine (US)||8.2/10|
The game received "average" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.IGN asserted that the game was "thrashed soundly by critics", and GameSpot named it the year's most disappointing Xbox game. Computer and Video Games lauded its "superb sense of humour and the kind of offbeat gameplay that shows up every other identikit shooter, stealth 'em up and extreme sports title as imagination-devoid shams." PC World praised the game's "laugh out loud" humor, and acclaimed the two-player mode as "damned good fun."
GameNOW and Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the game's power-ups, whose strategic element the former enjoyed, and two-player mode. However, GameNOW derided the game's hip-hop dialogue, and Electronic Gaming Monthly found it repetitive; the latter also believed that Latisha was an unnecessary addition.Game Informer found the hip-hop theme to be embarrassingly dated, and likened the game to In Living Color and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air . The reviewer also believed that its randomly generated levels necessitated "simple and arbitrary" mission goals.
Eurogamer praised the game's graphics, camera angles and mini-games, but complained about unfair enemies, annoying character accents and an arbitrary mix of musical genres. The reviewer believed that "[the game,] in the final analysis[,] is just not good enough to warrant spending £40."IGN gave it a "passable" verdict: Reviewer Kaiser Hwang felt that the game's brief initial appeal quickly gave way to repetition. He had a mixed opinion of its graphics, with praise given to the character animations, but criticism to perceived poor draw distance. GameSpot deemed the game "mediocre." The reviewer noted that "the humor almost always falls flat," and that "ToeJam's speech [...] is filled with stupid double entendres." The website found the soundtrack to be dated, and called the game's audio "a serious disappointment."
The Guardian gave the game three stars out of five and praised the originality of the characters, and the "crisply defined textures and realistic lighting"; the paper deemed the game "a treat for the eyes." However, Greg Howson decided that the game was merely average overall, and noted its limited longevity.The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote of the game: "It's all right, but probably most useful for certain parents to force on kids." The Sydney Morning Herald gave the game three stars out of five and described it as "an average platform game that masks its conventional gameplay with over-stimulating graphics." The Daily Mirror called it "anarchic, fun, hilarious and very cool." Entertainment Weekly gave it a B− and wrote that "TJ&E is fun -- but forgettable fun. Still, its promise of downloadable content, and sheer silliness, brings some whimsy to the funk-starved Xbox."
The Simpsons: Road Rage is a 2001 video game based on the animated television series The Simpsons, and is part of a series of games based on the show. It was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. A Game Boy Advance version was released in 2003. The Simpsons: Road Rage was later added to the Backwards Compatibility program of the Xbox 360 for original Xbox games.
Sonic Adventure is a 1998 platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Dreamcast. It was the first main Sonic the Hedgehog game to feature 3D gameplay. It follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Big the Cat, and E-102 Gamma in their quests to collect the Chaos Emeralds and stop Doctor Robotnik from unleashing Chaos, an ancient evil. Controlling one of the six characters—each with their own abilities—players complete levels to progress the story. Sonic Adventure retains many elements from prior Sonic games, such as power-ups and the ring-based health system. Players can play minigames such as racing and interact with Chao, a virtual pet.
Phantasy Star Online is an online role-playing game (RPG) developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega in 2000 for the Dreamcast. It was the first online RPG for game consoles; players adventure with up to three others over the internet to complete quests, collect items and fight enemies in real-time action RPG combat. The story is unrelated to previous games in the Phantasy Star series.
Virtua Tennis, known in Japan as Power Smash, is a 1999 tennis arcade game created by Sega AM3. The player competes through tennis tournaments in an arcade mode. It was ported to the Dreamcast in 2000, and to Windows in 2002. A Game Boy Advance version was also released in 2002, followed by an N-Gage version in 2003. For the home console market, the game was expanded with the introduction of the campaign mode.
Skies of Arcadia is a 2000 Dreamcast role-playing video game developed by Overworks and published by Sega. Players control Vyse, a young air pirate, and his friends as they attempt to stop the Valuan Empire from reviving ancient weapons with the potential to destroy the world.
Shenmue II is a 2001 action-adventure game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for the Dreamcast. It was directed, produced and written by Yu Suzuki. Like the original Shenmue (1999), Shenmue II consists of open-world environments, brawler battles and quick-time events. It features a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with daily schedules, and various minigames. The player controls the teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he arrives in Hong Kong in 1987 in pursuit of his father's killer. His journey takes him to Kowloon and the mountains of Guilin, where he meets a girl who is part of his destiny.
18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker, known in Japan as 18 Wheeler, is an arcade game developed by Sega AM2 and distributed by Sega. The game was released in arcades in 2000 and ported to the Dreamcast in 2001. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2001 and GameCube in 2002 by Acclaim Entertainment. Sega followed up on the success of 18 Wheeler with a sequel, The King of Route 66, which was released in the arcades in 2002 and ported to the PlayStation 2. This was one of the final arcade games to be ported to the Dreamcast after its discontinuation, before Sega became a third-party developer.
ToeJam & Earl is an action game developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) console. Released in 1991, it centers on ToeJam and Earl—alien rappers who have crash-landed on Earth. As they attempt to escape the planet, players assume the role of either character and collect pieces of their wrecked spacecraft. It references and parodies 1980s and early 90s urban culture and is set to a funk soundtrack. ToeJam & Earl's design was heavily influenced by the role-playing video game Rogue (1980) and derived various features from the game, such as the random generation of levels and items. As such, ToeJam & Earl is often considered to be an example of a roguelike game.
NFL 2K2 is a video game released in 2001 for Dreamcast by Sega, and developed by Visual Concepts. It is the last game for the Sega Dreamcast in the series after being discontinued before Sega shifted to a third party publisher. Due to that, it was released later for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is the first Xbox game published by Sega. It is also the last game in the NFL 2K series to feature Randy Moss as a cover athlete.
Gunvalkyrie is a third-person shooter video game developed by Smilebit and published by Sega for the Microsoft Xbox. It was released on March 18, 2002 in North America; March 21, 2002 in Japan; and May 17, 2002 in PAL regions. Set in an alternate history science fiction world where the British Empire rules Earth and various extrasolar planets, the game tasks the player with exterminating the giant insects that infest the colonies of the planet Tir na Nog. Originally in development for the Sega Dreamcast, the game was moved to the Xbox to take advantage of its improved hardware and controls.
Armada is a video game developed and published by Metro3D. It was released for the Sega Dreamcast in North America on November 26, 1999. Armada is a shooter role-playing game (RPG) that allows up to four players to fly about the universe, fighting the enemy, performing missions and improving their ship.
Sega Soccer Slam, also known as simply Soccer Slam, is a sports game released for GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 in 2002.
Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram is a 1998 Japanese Sega Model 3 arcade action game that was later ported to the Sega NAOMI arcades and the Dreamcast home console in Japan in 1999 and North America in 2000. Oratorio Tangram is a 3D fighting game where the player assumes control of a giant humanoid robot, and is a sequel to the 1996 video game Virtual On: Cyber Troopers. A re-release of the game, entitled Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram Ver.5.66, was released worldwide for Xbox 360 on April 29, 2009.
ToeJam & Earl Productions, Inc. (1989–2003) was an American video game company founded by Electronic Arts developers Mark Voorsanger and Greg Johnson. Their best-known titles were Orly's Draw-A-Story, and three games in the ToeJam & Earl series.
World Series Baseball 2K2, or World Series Baseball as it is known for Xbox, is a sports game developed by Visual Concepts and published by Sega for the Dreamcast and Xbox. It is the first game in the modern series to be featured on the Xbox and the first title in the series developed by Visual Concepts. It is the successor to the World Series Baseball series for the Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, and Dreamcast. It was released in 2001 to coincide with the beginning of the 2002 baseball season.
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron is a platform video game developed by Johnson Voorsanger Productions and published by Sega in 1993 for the Sega Genesis. The game is the sequel to cult video game ToeJam & Earl, released in 1991. The game concerns two alien protagonists, ToeJam and Earl, both of whom have escaped from Earth, where they had crash landed. After returning to their home planet of Funkotron, the duo discover a number of antagonistic Earthlings have stowed away on the spacecraft and are wreaking havoc across the planet. The player must hunt down these Earthlings and imprison them in jars before sending them back to Earth.
Panzer Dragoon is a series of video games developed by Sega. The first three games—Panzer Dragoon (1995), Panzer Dragoon II Zwei (1996), and Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998)—were produced by Sega's Team Andromeda for the Sega Saturn. The fourth, Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002), was developed by Sega's Smilebit team for the Xbox. Spin-offs include Panzer Dragoon Mini (1996) for the handheld Game Gear in Japan. A remake of Panzer Dragoon was released in 2020.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is a 2010 kart racing video game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sega. It was released for Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and Windows, featuring characters from multiple Sega franchises. The game is the third title in the Sega All-Stars series, preceded by Sega Superstars Tennis. A mobile version was developed by Gameloft, and released for iOS in June 2011, as a paid download. A version for OS X was released by Feral Interactive in April 2013.
Greg Johnson is an American video game designer who has worked for Binary Systems and Electronic Arts, was co-founder with Mark Voorsanger of ToeJam & Earl Productions Inc., and in 2006 founded his own company, HumaNature Studios. He is known for the iconic ToeJam & Earl series (1991–present), and his design credits additionally include Starflight (1986), Game of the Year Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula (1989), the multi-award-winning Orly's Draw-A-Story (1997), Kung Fu Panda World (2010), and Doki-Doki Universe (2013), Back in the Groove (2019),
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is the fourth entry in the ToeJam & Earl series of video games. The game was developed by HumaNature Studios, founded by series creator Greg Johnson, and published by the studio on March 1, 2019.