Earthworm Jim 2

SNES

Review by Matt Paprocki

Shiny

Action

Graphics: 10

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 9

 

earthwormjim2snes1.bmp (171290 bytes)With valid complaints over the first Earthworm Jim obviously noted, David Perry and team didn't just change the character. They re-invented the game the he was in. While twisted, slightly sick, and hysterical, this sequel has some of the best level design in a 16-bit platformer.

It's not just that the levels fall in line and are enjoyable to play through. They're all in one game, and incredibly varied. Each stage offers something completely different. The radical, wild array of levels is the title's strongest asset, avoiding the easily hated straight platforming of the original.

This is (in simple terms) a game that has it all. Shooting, mini-games, platforming, timed escapes, old women falling, parodies, wild guns, a worm in a blind salamander suit, a rabid dog, pigs, and of course a giant queen with the butt of a slug. It's impossible to imagine so much of this clicking in perfect unison, but that's Earthworm Jim 2.

earthwormjim2snes2.bmp (171290 bytes)It certainly has issues in certain stages. The view shooting stage, which requires babysitting a huge bomb all the way to the end, is just short of ridiculous. It's all forgivable, especially when you're on the high from previous levels. Even when you're jumping wildly thanks to the controls, which never really feel right, it still manages to distance itself different from other games in the genre.

The other thing Jim 2 has is character. There's so much here, the cartoon spin-off didn't need to do anything that wasn't already here. The animation, not just the quality/quantity of it but also the style, is amongst the best realized on a 16-bit console. The benefit of a late release shows, the familiarity with the hardware obvious.

Wrap that all around some of Tommy Tallarico's best soundtrack work and it all creates a nearly perfect gaming experience. Even when it's doing something hundreds of other games do, it's that much better in Earthworm Jim 2. It's a rare case where the gameplay is certainly important, but the graphics and soundtrack play a huge role in its success. It's unforgettable, partly because of how completely off the wall it is, and partly because it's just a great video game.

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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:53 PM