(Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive)

Earthworm Jim 2 (Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive)

Game Review

Earthworm Jim 2 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Groovy!

After creating the excellent Earthworm Jim videogame and subsequently making an awesome cartoon based on it, it was quite logical that Interplay would not give up on the franchise just yet. Not too long after the cartoon, they released Earthworm Jim 2, which was intended to be even better than the original game.

As Queen Slug-for-a-Butt was defeated at the end of the original game, she does not appear in this one. Obviously the role of main antagonist has thus been handed down to the second-biggest villain in the series - Psy-Crow! The plot is fairly simple - Princess What's-Her-Face has been kidnapped again and it's up to Jim to travel through various extremely weird environments to defeat Psy-Crow and get her back.

At first glance the gameplay in Earthworm Jim 2 is pretty much the same as in the original game. Jim must manoeuvre through each level, blasting and head-whipping enemies he comes across while avoiding obstacles and picking up items. As soon as you beat the first few levels, however, you'll find out that unlike the first game, which only had a few levels with different gameplay, fewer than half of the levels in this game actually feature straight-up platforming.

Every other level relies entirely on a gimmick. One level has you blasting through dirt to create a path from start to finish before time runs out, while in another, Jim dons the disguise of a blind flying cave salamander, after which he must carefully fly through intestines without touching the hazardous edges. These two levels aren't too bad, but the rest are!

In one particular level, the game becomes an isometric shoot 'em up, requiring you to bounce an explosive tied to a balloon from start to finish while trying not to die to an impossibly large number of enemies. Good luck with this - snot bombs will come at you continuously while ships fire at you, catapults throw sumo wrestlers at you (which you have to shake off by changing direction multiple times) and near the end walls of snot will fly at you, pushing you and the balloon back if they hit you! You can shoot enemies, of course, but if you accidentally hit the balloon, it'll explode and you have to go all the way back to the start to get a new one!

Another frustrating level takes place at a carnival. You must continuously use air machines to inflate Jim's head, making him fly upwards towards the finish. But of course the air doesn't last forever, and eventually you'll start to deflate, slowing you down greatly and requiring Jim to put his thumb in his mouth and re-inflate himself, which costs precious time and often means he's hit by things while he's doing so.

Fragile lightbulbs line up on the sides of the path (which can get extremely small, with bends in all kinds of directions at times), and to make matters worse, Evil the Cat's identical cousin Flagitious will sometimes pop out and shoot darts at you. Getting hit by stuff will cause you to deflate rapidly, and if you lose all your air, there is of course a risk of falling all the way back down, possibly hitting lightbulbs on the way down and taking further damage!

By far the most annoying level though is Puppy Love. In an obvious play on the Game & Watch game Fire, you must bounce Peter Puppy's young pups from one building to another using a marshmallow trampoline. If too many hit the ground, Peter will get angry and attack you, and if you die, you'll have to start all over! While that may not sound that bad, you have to play this level a total of three times throughout the game, and it becomes harder and longer every single time. Although it's amusing at first, you will most definitely get sick of it very fast!

Conclusion

The game tries very hard to be better than its predecessor, but at times it just feels like it tries too hard. The graphics and music are once again excellent, but the gameplay varies greatly - the standard platforming levels are still brilliant, but the gimmick levels are for the most part incredibly annoying, and it's likely that you will absolutely hate them. All in all it's still a quality game, but you'll most likely not enjoy it as much as the original.

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User Comments (34)

pixelman

#1

pixelman said:

I've never really got into the Earthworm Jim games. I'll probably check out the first if I do.

nintendogamerftw

#3

nintendogamerftw said:

I may have to download this now. I liked the first a lot and even a moderately okay score is fine with me.

JamieOStaff

#4

JamieO said:

I have not played this one yet, I did not even know that there was an isometric shoot 'em up in it, although from Drake's description it sounds like that section is snot much fun (oh dear!). I can understand why developers attempt to add variety to a game, by including sections which stray from the core gameplay genre, but it is a shame when their ambition misses the mark. It sounds as though Shiny had the core platforming and shooting set-up nailed, but did not maintain that quality with the inclusion of more wayward gaming styles.
This is a bit off topic and may sound a bit Star Wars obsessive, but when Factor 5 followed GameCube Rogue Leader with Rebel Strike, they also strayed too far from their core 'ship shooting' gameplay with weak third person sections. It all sounded so promising in on paper and in previews, but the disparate game styles simply did not gel.
I am not going to rule Earthworm Jim 2 out completely, but I will treat it with a bit more caution now. Cheers Drake. :)

Croz

#5

Croz said:

I always found myself playing this over the original, it's about an 8 in my book just because its so bizarre. lol such a brilliant game!! I remember coming running up in a Trouble TV competition about the cartoon, and won myself a Earthworm Jim toy figure LOL.

WanderFan91

#6

WanderFan91 said:

I could've sworn (from what I heard) that the sequel was easier than the original. :/
Anyway, good review, Drake. :)
I am amazed that such clever nomenclatures as Princess What's Her Face and PsyCrow exist.
I haven't played Earthworm Jim yet, but I want to.
Don't hit me, please!!!!!! :(

JamieOStaff

#7

JamieO said:

There is greatness held in the previous two comments. First off, Croz winning an Earthworm Jim figure on a TV show is cool, is it rare and valuable to collectors today?
Secondly, StarBoy91's use of the word nomenclatures is awesome. I have written it down as my word of the day, for tomorrow.
Great stuff. :)

Croz

#8

Croz said:

lol I don't think its valuable, but it is quite cool it came with a Snot figure and Jim's armor used to come off. Probably only worth a fiver, I got a t-shirt and a cheapo bag with it aswell.

CanisWolfred

#9

CanisWolfred said:

So far it sounds like it's better than the original to me. There's no such thing as trying too hard, only not trying hard enough. I'll probably get it, if only because it lacks the scornful childhood memories the original bore so strongly.

bluegray

#10

bluegray said:

I remember beating this game as a kid. Yes, it was pretty damned hard, but honestly, if I can do it as a kid, adults can do it today. Few games have the personality this one does, and the challenge does not detract from the enjoyment of that.

Plus, I'm concerned that you graded the game down because it didn't meet the expectations you held from the first game: namely the platforming-oriented game play. That it strays from this formula shouldn't deduct points from it, as it is not the first game, and it should be graded, to a large degree, independently of it.

The "gimmicks" were done well. Just because they aren't of the platformer format, doesn't mean they sucked.

Orgone

#12

Orgone said:

yeah, the baloon level is fun, and the intestine level is just plain awesome (classical music in the background) inside the intestine filled with pinball bumpers, avoid the villi

Chunky_Droid

#13

Chunky_Droid said:

I enjoyed MOST of this game, some of the levels were just no fun :(. But overall I will download it again once it hits the NA service

WanderFan91

#15

WanderFan91 said:

@JamieO - nomenclature is one of my favorite long words. It's nice to use it every once in a while in case I repeat the word name over and over. ;)

EDIT: I still cannot believe that this isn't the only review where my post has landed on number 15. It's also happened in the Rock & Roll Racing review (which was also good). It's so uncanny how both comments landed on 15 in both reviews. Maybe I'm fixating too much.

Shmavey

#16

Shmavey said:

I kinda wanna give one of these games a try, but are they really that hard.

WanderFan91

#17

WanderFan91 said:

I still need Wii points for Earthworm Jim. I'll bet the challenge in both games is decent.

Token_Girl

#18

Token_Girl said:

Probably ebay this one eventually for my Genesis. Earthworm Jim was always a game I wanted but never actually got before I moved on to bigger (not always better) consoles.

DarkEdi

#19

DarkEdi said:

i had it in snes an puppy scenes was in 3desque perspective and fascinated. I recomend this a lot.

only background 1st level changes in genesis?

Zammy

#21

Zammy said:

Earthworm Jim + Ecco the Dolphin + Sonic the Hedgehog = My childhood. I'll be getting this one as soon as I can.

JimLad

#22

JimLad said:

Still haven't played the first one, but EWJ2 I think is absolutely wicked.
I loved the variety in the levels, it makes it so much more interesting than most platformers.
Udderly Abducted: The level where you have to save the cows from UFOs is one of my faves, and the salamander level... mmm they're all so good!
In fact I think the only level I don't like is ISO 9000 or whatever it's called, the one with the filing cabinets.
I recommend this game wholeheartedly, it's so nuts but also really good fun.

bro2dragons

#23

bro2dragons said:

i played the SNES version as a kid, and it was my favorite game. i always thought it better than the first one. but what is the difference (if any) between this and the SNES version?

Knux

#24

Knux said:

I'm still going to download this game later on, because I never played EJ2.

wamyc

#28

wamyc said:

I actually registered to make this comment, as I think the reviewer's score is definitely off. As stated by many people already, this game is a solid 8/10, and for fans of the original, 9/10.

It's tough, but the original is tougher, to be sure. And the game adds a lot of variety to the gameplay while successfully continuing the cool sense of weirr that made the first title so fun to play. Don't be fooled. This game is every bit as good as the original, if not better (as long as you don't mind the variety of levels.) Definitely not more of the same, but since when did that make for a good sequel?

Kobayashi

#29

Kobayashi said:

Sadly, the "Nintendo Life" site puts the notes of the Nintendo games up there, while of the other companies, same when they are great (deserving 9 or more), it´s almost always 7 or 8.

This irritates me. Please, be impartial and no tendentious for a side, because it´s not only the Nintendo that knows how to do games of great quality.

Roo

#30

Roo said:

I was letdown by this as a youngster. I might not be a fan of this game becuase I played it on PlayStation at around the same time as cutting-edge stuff like Ridge Racer Revolution and Tekken, but nonetheless it didn't dazzle like the 1994 original.

lockelocke

#31

lockelocke said:

this is a 10 in my book. one of the most creative platformers ever. all the "gimmicks" described in the review are strokes of pure genius.

Omega

#32

Omega said:

The game isn't so difficult if you play it on the Wii. There is a so called password system (which isn't really a password-system). This works as follows: When you collect three special flags in a level (Earth-flag, Worm-flag and Jim-flag) you can start with this level directly from the title screen. - If you have reached for example level 6 and collected all three flags (and finished the level) you can start immediately with level 7 after loosing all your lifes and continues.

The bad thing about this system is: If you turn the console off, the progress is completely lost. The original Genesis/MD-cartridge has no battery backed-up memory. You have to start all over again when you turn the console on again. Fortunately the Virtual Console has the "Suspension Save" feature. When you exit the game via the Home-Menu, the Wii stores your progress automatically . When you come back later, your collected flags and unlocked levels are still there.

This "new feature" of the Wii-version should make the game pretty easy to complete and much more fun to play than the original SNES/Genesis/MD-Versions. Also, in all versions of the game, there are three modes of difficulty: Easy, Normal and Difficult. On "Normal" you have three lives and energy pellets are worth 4% of energy. If you choose "Easy" you have 5 lives (per continue) and energy pellets are worth 5% of energy. Everything else is identical about the difficulty-modes.

OnionOverlord

#33

OnionOverlord said:

A 7? Bah. I'm finding it harder and harder to agree with Nintendolife scores these days. Earthworm Jim 2 is easily at least an 8! It seems the bulk of this review is spent sobbing and crying over the difficulty, when the ironic fact (as pointed out by Omega) is that the VC version is actually EASIER than the originals! In the originals, if you stopped for any reason, you lost everything unless you kept the system on. It's a common flaw with Genesis games, and even some SNES games.

While the original game was a little too repetitive at times (asteroid levels in between every stage? Jeez) the sequel strives for variety. Every level is different and in my opinion, this is where it improves on the original. In the original there were TOO MANY ASTEROID LEVELS! Also, I hated the fact some levels were literally repeated. Snot a Problem was done about 5 times in a row I think, there were at least 2 Down the Tubes levels, and I think around 3 levels in the Lab stage. It got to the point of being silly. EWJ2 rather than repeat levels opts to have entirely new levels, with the only stages I recall being repeated being the overhead shooter and puppy love stages.

Nintendood

#34

Nintendood said:

If there's no differences between this and the SNES version, other than the fact that this one's inferior, why wouldn't Nintendo release the SNES version on VC?

Or at least offer them both?

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