Earthworm Jim Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
A crow is chasing a worm named Jim, while in outer space, Psy-Crow is chasing a renegade ship.
If you were at all interested in videogames or cartoons in the early 90's you were no doubt a fan of Earthworm Jim. Originally appearing in this game, the unusual hero went on to star in his own cartoon and a number of sequels to the videogame.
Earthworm Jim is all about the titular Jim - He used to be a regular earthworm, until one day, a super-powered suit happened to fall right on top of him. Taking control of the suit, Jim was able to walk and pick stuff up, along with gaining a number of other special abilities. After becoming super-powered, Jim overhears the evil Queen Slug-for-a-Butt talking about her plans to steal Jim's new suit and capture the beautiful Princess What's-Her-Name. Of course Jim won't stand for this, so he sets out to defeat the evil queen with his newly acquired abilities.
Earthworm Jim is very different from your average platformer - The levels are very big and maze-like instead of linear, and usually feature a number of puzzles to solve before you can move on. It makes perfect sense to drop a refridgerator on a seesaw in order to launch a cow!
Jim also isn't as weak as other platformer heroes - Running and jumping isn't his only forte, as he can also pull out his trusty blaster (Or other weapons) to shoot down enemies, or grab himself (His earthworm body, that is) using his suit and subsequently use himself as a whip, hitting enemies or swinging from hooks. His health is also measured in a percentage, meaning some enemies will dish out more damage than others.
The gameplay is also quite diverse. Most levels are largely made out of platforming sections, but you'll also have to do other strange stuff, such as racing your nemesis Psy-Crow in a 3D-esque space race (Losing means you have to fight him!), guiding your friend Peter Puppy through a long level filled with dangers, participating in a quiz show, or carefully maneuvering a fragile glass dome through an underwater maze before your oxygen runs out. As a result of all these different gameplay styles, the game can get very hard - You have a limited amount of continues, so it will most likely take you a long time before you can beat the whole game.
Where the game most excels is in the graphics and audio department - For a Mega Drive/Genesis game, it looks absolutely stunning. Jim and his foes are all extremely well-animated, and the levels never seem to reuse tiles. The bosses are also a colourful bunch - How can you say no to Evil the Cat, Bob the Killer Goldfish, Professor Monkey-for-a-Head and others?
Sadly the Mega Drive version's audio does seem to suffer a bit because of the sound chip - The music doesn't sound nearly as good as in the SNES port or the eventual PC vesion. It's still incredibly wacky and enjoyable though - The music that plays in a level which takes place in hell starts off dark and ominous, then goes into a happy elevator music melody while the screams of tortured souls play in the background! Thankfully the speech doesn't suffer at all - You can hear Jim's classic "Groovy!" and other lines very clearly. It seems the developers wanted to make up for the slightly inferior music - The Mega Drive version of the game includes a level that isn't in the SNES version.
Earthworm Jim is a bit of a classic, and for a good reason - It was one of the first videogame series created outside Japan that became really popular. The game has a ton of style, it's a blast to play, and the graphics and music are still quite impressive. It might be a bit too hard for some, and it just doesn't match up with the best games in the genre, but for just 800 Wii Points you really can't go wrong here.