Earthworm Jim is an action platformer originally released for the Sega Genesis in August 1994. It came out for the Super Nintendo in October of the same year. It has appeared on numerous systems since then, including the GameBoy, Game Gear, and GameBoy Advance. This Shiny Entertainment game ranks 41st on the list of Definite 50 SNES games.
Although the Super Nintendo version of Earthworm Jim is generally considered inferior to its Genesis counterpart due to the removal of a level and some voice clips, some say its music is superior. This, combined with high quality gameplay and Earthworm Jim‘s not-insignificant cultural presence means this title still earns a spot on the Definitive 50.
Earthworm Jim‘s story and artistic direction are famously bizarre. Although none of this is explained in the game, Jim’s origin story is that he was a normal earthworm who took control of a super suit which dropped on him from space. This led to his battle against The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt, in his quest to save the evil queen’s sister, Princess What’s-Her-Name. Earthworm Jim’s levels are a strange brew, with the game starting out in an Earth landfill before moving to the strange worlds of outer space.
Jim and the other characters in the game are beautifully animated and every bit as wacky as their environments. Jim’s suit frequently yanks Jim out of itself, and uses him like a whip to attack enemies or swing from hooks.
Like many action platformers, Earthworm Jim has only a few number of levels, but each one is lengthy, and extremely difficult. Even on its easiest setting, this game can be a challenge to a novice. This is another game that is designed with the expectation that players will play from the beginning over and over again (there is no ability to save), improving each time, and getting further and further.
Earthworm Jim inspired a 16-bit sequel every bit as polished and well loved as its predecessor, a cartoon, and several other (less fondly remembered) sequels. It was a much hyped game in its time, and considering the graphics and humour contained within, rightfully so.
Check back next week for entry 40 on the Definitive 50 SNES games.