Toejam and Earl is such a befuddling game. Most mascot-type characters of the era starred in side scrolling platformers, while these two goofy aliens starred in a bizarre pseudo Rogue-like, a term I wasn't familiar with when I first played it at the age of thirteen, but nonetheless came to appreciate. Of course, the sequel went a more typical route (though still quite different from similar titles) and isn't as fondly remembered for it. There was a third game for the Xbox, though no one much cared for it.
Picking up the shooter coverage this week is Sol Divide, the one Psikyo shooter that is entirely unlike all of the other games the company put out, and is generally hated on for it. That doesn't entirely mean it's understood - it's an ugly, strange mess of a game that almost flatly deemphasizes shooting over melee combat, but it is an interesting one, at least, especially with the good-idea-bad-execution RPG-type story mode in its PlayStation and Saturn ports. This one did make it to the US thanks to budget publisher XS Games, although it was a dirty hack job that took out half the dialogue, forgot to translate the rest, and chopped out the ability to save your game, making the RPG mode entirely useless.
I'm also putting up three articles from the adventure game book. One of the reasons I'd started playing practically every adventure game I could find was to hopefully stumble upon something that was as good as the LucasArts classics. Sadly, nothing quite reached the same heights, but that doesn't meant there weren't any decent games. Flight of the Amazon Queen is a goofy Indiana Jones knockoff; Teenagent, despite the goofy game, is an eminently amusing game from Poland; and The Gene Machine, the final game by the developers of last week's kusoge, is the funniest take on Victorian England I've ever seen. The first two are easily accessible nowdays, with Amazon Queen being both freeware on the PC and available on the Apple App Store, and Teenagent available for free from GOG.com. The Gene Machine is lost to time, however, but it's well worth tracking down regardless.
Our kusoge this week is Lifeline, which attempts to represent the future of gaming by making you command the onscreen character with words rather than joystick movements. Despite its forward thinking, it totally fails just because the technology isn't even remotely up to snuff. Too bad.