Now this is just getting weird. Nintendo continues its good Virtual Console games streak this week with a single release. “One game?” you no doubt are saying, “that sucks.” It would if the game in question wasn’t Earthworm Jim, one of my favorites and a cult classic. Let’s hear what DHGF has to say about it.
Developer: Shiny Entertainment
Publisher: Playmates Interactive Entertainment
System: Sega Genesis
Original Release Date: 8/2/1994
Price: 800 Wii Points
Through soil he did crawl.
A super suit did fall.
Jim was just a dirt eating,
Chewing length of worm flesh
But all that came to a crash
And gave him lots of power
He’s such a groovy guy
He rockets through the sky
Cruising through the universe
Having lots of fun,
Here comes Earthworm Jim you know
That he’s the mighty one
— Look out —
la la la la la, la la la la la, la la la….
Despite his great big muscles
And his really big ray gun,
Jim is still an Earthworm
But then he’s the only one,
With a super suit to make him really super strong,
Jim can be a winner if we only sing along…
We think he’s mighty fine
A hero for all time
Hooray for Jimmmmmmm
Yay for the game, but why the hell isn’t the cartoon series on DVD? It’s one of my favorite cartoons ever! From the wizardry of Scissors and Glue to Peter Puppy constantly quoting Dune, this needs to be released!
The game was truly ahead of its time and hilarious, but I would kill for the cartoon. Kill for it, I tell you.
Christopher Bowen: I LOVED Earthworm Jim… the cartoon. I would actually watch it with my mother – remember, this was when I was in my late teens, and my mother is 21 years older than I am – and we’d laugh to it together. It’s easily one of the most underrated cartoon series’ of the 90s.
Therefore, it’s kinda sad that the game itself, while loaded with personality, really isn’t very good. It’s a derivative shooter that I felt was hard to control, and time has NOT been kind to it. The second game is better, but still not good, and let’s not talk about Earthworm Jim 3D, eh? Earthworm Jim, in my eyes, joins games such as Vectorman and Boogerman as being at the top of the list of 90s shooters that are looked at positively though rose coloured glasses, but don’t pass the smell test.
If you were a fan of Earthworm Jim in any form in the 90s, then have a ball, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look as good in 2008 as it did in 1994. If you weren’t a fan, then you can pass on this, as once you get past the humour – which is slapstick funny, but certainly not transcendent – you’re not missing much.
Guy Desmarais: I haven’t played Earthworm Jim in a long, long time. In my mind, it is a great game with fun levels and charming, absurd humour. It is full of interesting characters with superb names such as Queen Slug-for-a-Butt and Professor Monkey-for-a-Head (who shares his head with Monkey Professor-for-a-Head). It is also a game that spawned an equally amazing sequel, even though it also gave us an ill-fated 3-D version.
Is the game still fun and relevant nowadays? I couldn’t tell you. But you can bet that I am taking a chance with this one. There are just too many good memories associated with the series. Earthworm Jim is a character that deserves another chance, with a real sequel lovingly crafted by a team of developers dedicated to its cause.
And count me in on the “we want the series on DVD” bandwagon.
Charlie Marsh: Let’s get the bad out of the way first: it’s pretty tough and the controls could have used a bit more work. That’s about it. Ignore that and you have one of the most unique and charmingly funny games of the 16-bit era. As others have mentioned, the wacky names and slapstick humor are entertaining, but the quirky gameplay elements – using your face as a weapon and rope to get across gaps, the puzzles you have to solve, etc. And if you’re a graphics person, those of Earthworm Jim aren’t too bad.
It’s not for everyone, and pretty much the definition of a cult classic, but for $8, you get one difficult, but fun game.
Nathan Birch: As I’ve mentioned before a few times, I was more of a Sega guy during the great 16-bit console wars, but even as a hardened fan I had to admit things started to get a bit grim later in the life of the machine. While Sega dithered abound with useless add-ons, Nintendo was kicking their asses with ground-breaking stuff like Starfox, Donkey Kong Country and Yoshi’s Island.
If there was one shiny Sega savior during this period it was Dave Perry, as the games he worked on, both at Virgin and later his own company (Aladdin, Lion King, Earthworm Jim) were some of the few Genesis games worth bragging about in those dying days (Shining Force II and Phantasy Star IV were of course also awesome, but they weren’t the kind of games that wowed people on sight and won you any Sega vs. Nintendo debates).
Now what Bowen says is true; these games arguably didn’t feature controls or level design as tight as more traditional Japanese platformers, but they were still immensely appealing. They were beautiful in a way that was unique from the pre-rendered craze that was taking off on the SNES (and Earthworm Jim has got the last laugh as I think it’s visuals have aged far better than DKC’s) and the levels were bursting with charm and originality (even if they were sometimes frustrating for the wrong reasons).
Anyways, yeah, Earthworm Jim is definitely worth it. Just make sure to pack your patience and you’ll have a lot of fun.
Aileen Coe: Like everyone else, I watched and loved the cartoon as a kid (and nth-ing the call for it to get a DVD release already).
But the game…yeah, the graphics were polished for its time (and can still hold up decently today) and smoothly animated, and the humor is great. You’ve got to love a game that lets you catapult cows by dropping a fridge on the makeshift seesaw it’s on and gives you an archnemesis called “Queen Slug-for-a-Butt”. However, it can be frustratingly hard, and the control scheme takes some getting used to (half the time it feels like you’re fighting the controls as much as the enemies). That being said, if you like a challenge and loved the cartoon, this could be worth your while since it retains the cartoon’s charm. Just be sure to stockpile lots of patience.
Robert Capra: Aw man, now I may actually want a Wii.
Mark B: Part of me is glad Earthworm Jim is out on the VC; the other part is wishing the Sega CD version was available instead because I loved the “Big Bruty” level.
Regardless, Earthworm Jim is the Silent Hill of side-scrolling platform games: it’s doesn’t play fantastically, per say, and there are games that are better in various respects, but it’s all about the EXPERIENCE, man. A worm in a spacesuit is trying to save a bee-woman from a crow-alien by blasting his way through some of the most ridiculous environments imaginable! What’s not to love? I mean, yeah, okay, the game has some minor collision detection issues here and there and requires some significant timing mastery for the worm whipping sections, but hey, Mega Man can’t duck or shoot up and no one’s complaining about how much his games suck. Earthworm Jim is fun, hilarious, and well worth the cash if you’ve never seen it, or if you have and want to play it again.
Earthworm Jim also holds the distinction of being the only good thing Shiny is memorable for, so, hey, there’s that.
Meanwhile, on the WiiWare side of things, you have Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands and Art Style: ROTOHEX, so all in all we have another good week for the Wii’s DLC.
Tags: Virtual Console