Earthworm Jim – he’s such a groovy guy! Earthworm Jim – he rockets thought the sky! If this game isn’t 90’s I don’t know what is! I remember trading one of my friends for this game for a week and my bro and I tried to get through it. We loved the graphics, style, and attitude that Jim brought to the game, but found it quite hard. I thought it would be worth revisiting this gem now that I am a bit older – and I actually like it more than I remember!
Jim is an earthworm – he finds a power suit that falls from the sky -and falls in love with Princess Whats-Her-Name (a bee-like princess). Princess Whats-her-name’s evil twin sister Queen Slug-for-a-butt gets angry and kidnaps her so Jim must go on an adventure to rescue her! That is all the story I was able to grasp from the game…but its enough to capture the zaniness of the story. Once the game starts, it kicks off with the launch of the cow (see below)!
In terms of core design, this is an action platform game – you run, jump, and climb around as Jim shooting bad guys (or rabbid dogs, or crazy crows) with your gun in addition to whipping them with your earthworm head. You also have a few other tricks like propellering your head so you fall down more slowly and hooking your head onto hooks so you can swing like Indiana Jones! The stages that Jim gets to explore are also HUGE with lots of secret areas to find and power ups to collect like super guns, life, and extra lives!
But Earthworm Jim is more than just a run and gun action platform game. Many stages veer away from this formula to add in a ton more variety which really makes this game shine. For instance, after the first level (and after many others), Jim gets to race on a rocket through the galaxy against his nemesis Psy-Crow (seen below). Later on, Jim also gets to ride a glass bubble through an underwater stage, ride a giant hamster, and even bungee jump with snot attached to him! The levels themselves are themed extremely well and look great and are NOT cliche! Yes – there are “fire” and “water” levels, but they take place in Hell or in an underwater science base so are unique both aesthetically and conceptually.
Most levels also have really interesting bosses too, like the second stage which takes place in hell! You battle against the devil himself who is actually an evil cat! Later in the game you also get to face off against a robot chicken! The bosses all have so much character that its hard not to love them, and each of them are fought very differently and are actually quite challenging!
This level of care brought to the bosses also extends to the regular enemies, some of which have such excellent designs they look like that are from nightmares (especially the ghost from Hell – see top right in the picture below)! In terms of the gameplay, Jim is quick and quite responsive and can jump far and climb on stuff. Shooting the gun can be challenging, especially if the enemies are far away, as you don’t see a direct laser blast to the enemy. The gun can be shot in 8 directions thought and the issue never really becomes a problem as you get so much ammo. I was somewhat less enthused about not being able to switch from the super ammo to the regular ammo as the game forces you to use it as soon as you get it. Apart from that, the game is generally quite difficult but not frustratingly so – it just takes some practice!
In terms of sound – this game rocks! Earthworm Jim is voiced and you get to hear him yell and scream throughout the game! The music suits the game extremely well to and is memorable. One of my favourites is the Hell level music as the cat in the background can be seen dancing back and forth to the beat! In terms of graphics, the game still looks fantastic with Jim and his enemies having tons of different animations, and the levels themselves looking like places you would want to explore!
Overall, Earthworm Jim is an awesome 90’s action platform game that has just enough zaniness to be unique. Its fun, funny, and still holds up well to this day – The game is very difficult in the later stages though, so be warned! Overall, I give this game an 8/10.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10