"Ride with me for a moment, back to freshman biology in high school. It was a time when little else caught my attention beyond the hot brunette that sat next to me. A time when little effort was needed to be exerted to pass a class. A time when Fridays were dissection days. With a double period specifically assigned to slicing open deceased creatures and exploring the innards, not even the hot brunette could distract me (well, maybe just a little but it was time well spent). But this story is not..."
Ride with me for a moment, back to freshman biology in high school. It was a time when little else caught my attention beyond the hot brunette that sat next to me. A time when little effort was needed to be exerted to pass a class. A time when Fridays were dissection days. With a double period specifically assigned to slicing open deceased creatures and exploring the innards, not even the hot brunette could distract me (well, maybe just a little but it was time well spent). But this story is not about her, no, it was about the little beasts we were itching to jab our rusty dissection utensils into. Whether it was a frog, a crayfish, or even a fetal pig, our desires to ignore the teacherís instructions and cut the heads off did not waver.
One such dissection was centered upon a worm. Sure, it didnít seem too impressive, but we were still pumped to cut it open and rip out what we found. And you know what we found? Dirt. Just dirt, and maybe a few squiggly lines. So whatís the point of this anecdote? Worms are small, insignificant creatures, perhaps even as pathetic as the movie Night at the Museum. Why then, did Doug TenNapel find it fitting to make his quirky, well-armored hero a worm? Maybe he was making a statement about good things coming in small packages. Perhaps he was trying to create an unlikely hero. Most likely he was just high.
But, as music and art history has shown us, hallucinogens lead to amazing art! (read: drugs are good kids!) Now I donít know if one could call Earthworm Jim an amazing piece of art: a kooky, crazy 2D platformer set in random locations ranging from a junkyard with an owner who burps out dead fish to Buttville (no further explanation needed). It does however provide a few cheap laughs to those who enjoy random image comedy. I mean, the game starts off with launching a cow into the air (no explanation for this is given). Oh, and the levels donít connect together in the slightest. Then again, how could they? Youíll go from ďHeckĒ to a random underwater level to a level consisting of a pit filled with snot.
Needless to say, quirkiness abounds. Goofy new characters are met along the way, and though few are explained, most will make you chuckle. Usually they provide some help for one task that needs to be completed to move along in the level, such as the giant hamster that you can ride that will eat some nasty little creatures that will beat you up. Returning to the snot pit, you will battle against the nasty ball of snot named Major Mucus. In an amazingly fun twist, you both bungie up and down on long cords and must slam eachother into the wall in order to break the otherís cord. This is perhaps the most unique and fun level in the game, and the developers seemed to realize that, since they repeated it three times throughout the game.
But the other levels wonít offer this much fun. With your weapons being your gun and your wormy head which you can use as a whip, things get boring after a while. The normal platform parts of the game are clearly the weak point. The enemies are mostly boring (although the lawyer you must fight in the Hell level is hilarious) and just annoying. Plus, later in the game, they get frustratingly hard. In one level, you must follow closely behind your dog (?), Peter, and use your whip-like head to launch him over any pits or dangerous spots. If you donít and he gets hurt, he turns huge and eats you. Instead of adding an extra challenge to the game, it just makes it nearly impossible. With enemies still coming after you, you canít afford to miss a beat or else youíll get eaten by your not-so-loyal pet with a nasty temper.
And this is where the game hits the brick wall: its difficulty. The levels simply get too hard to be fun. The first couple of levels are great, not too hard but challenging enough. After that, the platform levels just become too much to handle, as you need to play them over and over to know when to do what. The other parts of the game, such as the bungie battle and things like the rocket races through wormholes against the crow are great and lots of fun. They break up the boring and difficult platform aspects of the game to make things more interesting. They leave you wanting more of them. Aside from the overall challenge of the game however, thereís also the slow controls that frustrate you. Thereís randomly a slight delay in jumping or whipping, and this can mean an unexpected death for our worm friend. Dying over and over and repeating the same level isnít fun, especially when itís not really your fault, itís the controls.
Not even Earthworm Jim and his cast of goofy, funny characters can make this slow-controlled, frustratingly hard platformer that much fun. Itís not a complete waste of time, as it does offer some enjoyable mini-games and levels, but youíll find out with time that playing some of those stages over and over to advance in the game just isnít worth it.
Community review by iamtheprodigy (August 26, 2007)
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