Earthworm Jim


Review by Howie Hirsch



Graphics: 9

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8


Once Upon A Time.

The story is the best: A worm who just happens to be named Jim is going about his business. A crow who wants Jim to be his next meal swoops down for an attack. Alas, our slimy hero is always one step ahead of his dumb but persistent nemesis. All that our worm-friend does is duck into the safety of his hole. The crow winds up smashing into the ground head first. While this is going on, there is another battle taking place.

A spaceship and its pilot with a high tech spacesuit are trying to get away from another ship being piloted by someone named Psy-Crow. Psy-Crow stops and corners the thief, but the thief pulls out his blaster. Psy notices that the thief has a larger blaster than his. So he pulls out a much larger one and blows the guy into oblivion.

In a strange twist of fate, the spacesuit plummets towards earth. Back on the surface, Jim proceeds to find out if the coast is clear - of crows that is. Just as he’s about to go through his daily routine, a spacesuit lands on top of him, the opening for the head snugly wrapped around him. Suddenly, something strange begins to happen to Jim. He undergoes a metamorphosis where he becomes a "super worm" or for simplicity, Earthworm Jim. Once he realizes what has happened to him, he looks over the suit. Strapped to the suit’s side is a blaster. Jim proceeds to find out how this thing works. In no time, he figures out how it works and inadvertently blasts his crow nemesis into toast.

Bewildered by what has happened, Jim leans up against a tree. Because of the suit, the tree topples onto the crispy crow finishing him off for good. Jim notices another crow (the spaceman’s enemy Psy-Crow) and he is looking at a pattern that the suit left behind. Jim overhears Psy talking to his employer. Her name is "Queen Slug For Butt". The suit is supposed to make her just as if not better looking than her princess twin sister who is imprisoned. Psy-Crow has sworn to the queen to get the suit back and lay waste to whoever has taken it. This is where Jim decides to become a superhero and rescue this princess. I think Jim wants to not only rescue her, but to get some royal nookie. Finally, you, the player come into the picture.

You must help our worm beat the odds and win the girl. Choose your difficulty level and control setup. Sorry, but that’s it. You have nine levels with unusual titles such as New Junk City, What the Heck?, Down the Tubes, Snot a Problem, Level Five, Andy Asteroids, For Pete’s Sake, Intestinal Distress, and Buttville. Your enemies are completely bizarre (not to mention a tad disgusting). Each one wants a piece of EWJ’s hide and of course, the suit. Some want to return it to the queen and others want it for themselves. Of course there are other pitfalls that must be avoided.

Controls are very responsive and the animation is super-fluid. Everything is superbly hand-drawn. EWJ has plenty of variety and power-ups, too. I like the fact that he says "GROOVY" when a level was completed, a signature of the game. Sound is great but the background music is merely tolerable.

Here is where I start to whine. There is no way to turn off the BGM! This is especially important in the "Heck" level. The Muzak in this stage drives me up the wall! Then again, there’s the volume control or mute button for the TV. In this game the only way to survive is to keep moving - it’s hazardous for a worm to stay in one place. Use the blasters and any special weapons wisely. Whip the enemies whenever you can, save the heavy artillery for the real baddies. Collect any power-ups and icons you come across. You will hear Jim say. "OH YEAH" when you grab a one-up. Should Jim die, you will not have to start at the beginning. Last but not least, time your moves. It makes all the difference between fun and frustration.

I find this cart to be both frustrating and a blast to play. A postscript, folks: this game spawned a sequel aptly named Earthworm Jim 2, Not to mention a cartoon series on Kid’s WB. Where is it now? There was also a line of some pretty cool looking action figures that are collector’s items now!


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Saturday, September 24, 2005 12:02 AM