Earthworm Jim (Genesis) review
"Earthworm Jim thrives on its gaudy humor and wacky experiences. Complex things like plot would be entirely inappropriate here. Players arenít looking for intricate story-telling or in-depth level design. Theyíre looking for kicks, for something more than a little different. And this game delivers. "
The average earthworm lives the most unexciting life possible. Every day of its 4-8 year lifespan, it feeds on organic matter, avoids predators, and, of course, reproduces. Sounds fun, right?
Earthworm Jim, on the other hand, spends his average 30-minute existence blasting aliens, dodging asteroids and avoiding bounty-hunting crows out to get their talons on his prototype superpowered spacesuit. Using skill and cunning every earthworm has, he must rescue some princess womanÖ I forget her name. Everyone does.
Itís the kind of romantic lifestyle every earthwormís ever dreamed of!
Earthworm Jimís plot is predictable. Actual play is not. Goofy and random, youíll forget about its many frustrations. Instead, youíll be engrossed in its silly humor and unpredictability.
Jimís arsenal is small but unique. His most conventional weapon, the plasma gun, rains death upon his enemies; its upgrade annihilates everything in its path. His second weapon, however, strikes the most interest.
That suit must have endowed him with great elasticity, for his second weapon, quite literally, is his head. He can whip people with it, swing off hooks with it, helicopter with it, and even jump rope with it when heís bored.
He does a lot of silly things when heís bored. Wait too long to perform an action, and heíll flex his wormly muscles until his pants fall down. Sometimes heíll play Russian roulette with his blaster only to get blown up in the process. Or maybe heíll just hit himself over the head with it instead. Itís completely random, but totally amusing.
Levels provide the most cases of randomness and unpredictability.
Hell Heck will see you facing demons while escaping torrents of fire. Nothing all that funny thereÖ except for the occasional lawyer, who pelts you with stacks of paperwork! And the absolute horror to end all horrors, the thing people fear about Hell the most: elevator music. Then thereís the sub-boss, a fire-breathing snowman of all things. No wonder he melts every time heís scored with a whip.
And then thereís the secret level. Surrounded by darkness, you must find your way through a series of spotlights and unseen stairwells. There isnít much of a threat here Ė all your enemies are easily slain, and itís pretty straightforward. Designed to be an easy means of collecting free power-ups, thereís nothing all-too shocking about the level. That is, until you get to the end, where you encounter a pair of GIANT EYES so frightening they cause Jimmy to scream like a nancy-boy and run in the opposite direction.
And with good reasonÖ because these eyes will SUCK OUT YOUR SOUL if they stare at you too long.
Itís these amusing tidbits thatíll take your mind off the gameís multiple annoyances. Such as the Tube Race, where youíll race against time in a fragile submersible as you weave your way through a maze of sharp turns and jagged rocks. Youíll die so often (and consequently have to start completely over) that youíll hate yourself for being so addicted. But then youíll remember events in the level earlier: how you precariously clung to an overgrown hamsterís back while it ate judo-throwing kittens. Or how you had to grab your ass while swinging from a chain to avoid getting punched by a super cat. And then youíll also remember just how diverse the game can be, and that feeling alone will minimize your irritation as you begin anticipating whatíll come next.
Space races are a fine way to relieve stress. Theyíre simple yet challenging, and they offer a much-needed break from the high-intensity action of normal levels. Your goal sounds easy enough Ė just beat Psycrow (the bounty hunter) to the finish line. But youíll have to be careful. Slamming into asteroids not only slows you down considerably, it also drains your health. Beating him, however, is totally worth it. Not just for the simple pleasure of satisfaction, but also for Jimís goofy celebration. Watching him twirl his head around like a lasso while campy victory music plays never grows old.
Youíll wish he had that kind of flexibility everywhere, though. Poor Jimmy doesnít have a whole lot going for him outside the suit, and in the event that itís removed from him, heíll be reduced to his natural wormy ways. Letís face it. Crawling at a snailís pace with no means of defending yourself is not helpful towards survival. With only an unusually high jump at his disposal, avoiding malevolent monsters and hazardous obstacles can be difficult.
Not to worry. These naked escapades are few, brief, and add a new element to the game unseen elsewhere. Youíll navigate your way across several conveyor belts, leap over rotating spike traps, and whiz through whirling fans. Your spacesuit will wait for you, impatiently beckoning with outstretched hand as your inching form draws nearer. And once youíre back in it, youíll be on your merry way again.
Earthworm Jim thrives on its gaudy humor and wacky experiences. Complex things like plot would be entirely inappropriate here. Players arenít looking for intricate story-telling or in-depth level design. Theyíre looking for kicks, for something more than a little different. And this game delivers.
Community review by wolfqueen001 (September 08, 2008)
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