Toe Jam and Earl III: Mission to Earth - Xbox

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: TJ&E Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: Microsoft (GB)
Released: 7 Mar 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 11+
Accessories: Memory Unit
Connectivity: Xbox Live


Ten years on since their last outing, Sega's pair of hip and funky homies make a return to the gaming scene, courtesy of the Xbox. This time around, extra female member Latisha has joined the gang, helping them in their quest to retrieve the twelve sacred albums of Funk, which have been stolen by some ever-so-unfunky Earthlings.

Viewed from your typical 3D-platformer perspective, the game sees players take control of either ToeJam, Earl or Latisha, and enter into a seemingly endless supply of randomly generated levels. Each level presents a number of objectives, which more often than not consist of collecting keys, items, and power-ups, whilst using the power of Funk-Fu to convert earthlings to the ways of funk. It's generally quick and simple, arcade-style gameplay but requires a fair amount of exploration.

The game in its entirety can be played either as a single player or as a team. A dynamic split-screen kicks in whenever the two characters wander too far away from each other, which can be a bit off-putting at first, but on the whole maximises the use of full screen if the two of you are exploring in close proximity. Which is certainly a good thing if your TV's not too big.

Another game to take advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Live service, ToeJam and Earl III gives players the option to download extra levels upon the acquisition of a specified number of points. There's no actual online play, but if the download options are consistently supported, it should make for an interesting aspect to the game, whilst also maximising it's longevity - something we'll hopefully be seeing a lot more of in the near future.

Aesthetically, ToeJam and Earl III is an extremely polished title. It looks great, showing off the Xbox's 'slightly above average PC' spec with an impressive draw distance, high poly count and some faithfully recreated lighting. It's well scripted throughout, features some humorous and entertaining cut scenes (that are actually funny) and is packed full of, let's just say, rather bizarre dialogue. Oh, and let's not forget the music - over 40 original tunes in a funky rhythm and blues style.

Feel the Funk!