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"[Retro Review] Earthworm Jim "

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Earthworm Jim'.
Wed 21/05/08 at 08:50
Regular
"Braaains"
Posts: 439
Earthworm Jim first popped up about ten years, on the Super Nintendo, and Megadrive consoles. It was a platformer (most of the time), and was produced by Shiny Entertainment , the team responsible for the rather decent Aladdin. Shiny had developed some sort of new animation technique, called Animotion, which let them knock up loads of drawings, by professional animators, and then bung them all into a game. After they used this technique in Aladdin, they refused to flog it to any other software houses, and duly formed said company. But this was not enough. They decided to show the market what they could really do, and wrote Earthworm Jim, a game which has since spawned a whole range of toys, and a cartoon series to boot. Much praised was heaped upon them, and verily, there was a sequel. But first, let us examine the beginnings of the wormy one.


Earthworm Jim is indeed a platform game, but a platformer with go-faster stripes, and a whole lot else. The star of the game is, as you may well have guessed, Earthworm Jim, a worm of humble origins. As both the manual and the animation clip provided with the game tell, Jim was an ordinary worm, until one day, a special super-suit fell from the sky, and landed straight on his bonce. The super-suit endowed Jim with super-strength, average intelligence, and a really big red gun. No sooner, however, has Jim come to grips with his new suit, when he hears of the beautiful Princess What's Her Name, who has been kidnapped by the evil Psy-crow. And off he wanders to rescue her.

EWJ gives a breath of fresh air to the whole platform genre. Instead of taking its cure from Super Mario, or Sonic, EWJ is suitably original. For a start, there's none of this noncy monster squishing, or spin attacking in this game. Jim comes equipped with a big red gun, which he can fire in a number of directions, to dispatch any foe that comes his way. Then, there's his body, which can be used to whip monsters out of the way, or can be used to swing across hooks and ravines. Or should the worst come to the worst, he can use his head like a helicopter to guide himself away from a particularly nasty fall.

There are the usual power ups to grab, such as plasma, or power ups. Jim's gun does drain energy, and recharges, given half a chance. But do you really want to be stuck in the middle of a load of baddies, waiting for your gun to work again? Earthworm Jim 2 (for they are played separately), adds a little more to the formula. Jim now has a backpack companion, Snott, who can be used either as a parachute, or as a swing to swing himself across mucus encrusted ledges. Yuk! Plus, there's even more weapons, with a homing gun, a big laser, a completely useless bubble gun, and the awesome barn gun. The latter is unfeasibly large, and when used, clears the screen of baddies, and most of the foliage, too.


Which brings us along to the baddies. Such a motley crew have seldom been seen outside the Houses of Parliament, and include crows, rabid dogs, aliens, more crows, mutant cats, and virtually anything the Shiny folks could come up with. To give you some idea of how weird the game gets, the main aggressors of the piece are Psy-Crow, Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Malformed, Slug for a Butt, Major Mucus, Evil the Cat, Bob the tyrannical goldfish, and last but not least, Professor Monkey-for-a-head. Most of these folks pop up as end of level bosses, although not all of them are quite as formidable as you'd expect. And none of them are samey. All the baddies attack in a different way. This isn't a piece of cake. You'll need to think as well as blast in this game.


The levels themselves are inspired, although EWJ2's levels are just a tad better than 1's. Pretty soon after the first level, things get pretty weird. Jim ends up in Heck, Evil the Cat's domain, and is forced to outrun falling rocks, screaming meenies, and sometimes just plain run on the spot to get anywhere. Then, after yet more weirdness, Jim has to guide Peter Puppy to safety, across a number of traps. Only Peter is no ordinary puppy. Get him mad, and he'll turn into a snarling monster, and start taking bites out of Jim. You need to keep close behind him, keeping anything vaguely hostile out of his way, whipping him to make him jump, and so on.

EWJ2 gets even better, with a bonus sequence, where you must bounce little puppies to safety, using a big cushion. Only the puppies are thrown faster and faster, and you start diving to try and catch them. I could go on and on for ages about the levels, there's so much to do, and no sign of boredom or repetitiveness creeping in at all. I feel I have to mention my favorite level, though, Udderly Abducted. Now, this level, is divided into several sections, each blocked by a gate. The gate is attached to a barn, and to open the gate, you've got to put cows into the barn, so that they can be milked. The milk opens the gates, you see. But, and this is it, you're not the only one with an interest in the cows. Aliens want to abduct the cows, for their own purposes, so as soon as a cow pops out of it's pod, from the moment you get it to the barn, you're constantly having to fend incoming saucers. Otherwise, old Daisy there, might well end up as beefburgers at the Roswell drive-by. And then there's some cows that are wired to explode. You have to dunk these, before they blow up, and then, and only then can you get them to the barn. There's something awesome about running around hefting a lit cow with you.

All in all, Earthworm Jim is a stonker of a game. Graphically, and sonically, it can't be faulted, with bags of in-game animation, effects, and CD-streamed music to boot. Granted, it may not have high definition graphics, but it still ranks up there with Castlevania was one of the greatest 2D games ever. The only problem is how to get hold of it - there are one or two sites still selling it, but by and large you may have to go the Abandonware route and download it from the web. Whether or not it's abandonware is questionable, and it's genuinely surprising that it hasn't been released on the Wii's Virtual Console or any other platforms. Still, it's well worth tracking down.
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Wed 21/05/08 at 08:50
Regular
"Braaains"
Posts: 439
Earthworm Jim first popped up about ten years, on the Super Nintendo, and Megadrive consoles. It was a platformer (most of the time), and was produced by Shiny Entertainment , the team responsible for the rather decent Aladdin. Shiny had developed some sort of new animation technique, called Animotion, which let them knock up loads of drawings, by professional animators, and then bung them all into a game. After they used this technique in Aladdin, they refused to flog it to any other software houses, and duly formed said company. But this was not enough. They decided to show the market what they could really do, and wrote Earthworm Jim, a game which has since spawned a whole range of toys, and a cartoon series to boot. Much praised was heaped upon them, and verily, there was a sequel. But first, let us examine the beginnings of the wormy one.


Earthworm Jim is indeed a platform game, but a platformer with go-faster stripes, and a whole lot else. The star of the game is, as you may well have guessed, Earthworm Jim, a worm of humble origins. As both the manual and the animation clip provided with the game tell, Jim was an ordinary worm, until one day, a special super-suit fell from the sky, and landed straight on his bonce. The super-suit endowed Jim with super-strength, average intelligence, and a really big red gun. No sooner, however, has Jim come to grips with his new suit, when he hears of the beautiful Princess What's Her Name, who has been kidnapped by the evil Psy-crow. And off he wanders to rescue her.

EWJ gives a breath of fresh air to the whole platform genre. Instead of taking its cure from Super Mario, or Sonic, EWJ is suitably original. For a start, there's none of this noncy monster squishing, or spin attacking in this game. Jim comes equipped with a big red gun, which he can fire in a number of directions, to dispatch any foe that comes his way. Then, there's his body, which can be used to whip monsters out of the way, or can be used to swing across hooks and ravines. Or should the worst come to the worst, he can use his head like a helicopter to guide himself away from a particularly nasty fall.

There are the usual power ups to grab, such as plasma, or power ups. Jim's gun does drain energy, and recharges, given half a chance. But do you really want to be stuck in the middle of a load of baddies, waiting for your gun to work again? Earthworm Jim 2 (for they are played separately), adds a little more to the formula. Jim now has a backpack companion, Snott, who can be used either as a parachute, or as a swing to swing himself across mucus encrusted ledges. Yuk! Plus, there's even more weapons, with a homing gun, a big laser, a completely useless bubble gun, and the awesome barn gun. The latter is unfeasibly large, and when used, clears the screen of baddies, and most of the foliage, too.


Which brings us along to the baddies. Such a motley crew have seldom been seen outside the Houses of Parliament, and include crows, rabid dogs, aliens, more crows, mutant cats, and virtually anything the Shiny folks could come up with. To give you some idea of how weird the game gets, the main aggressors of the piece are Psy-Crow, Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Malformed, Slug for a Butt, Major Mucus, Evil the Cat, Bob the tyrannical goldfish, and last but not least, Professor Monkey-for-a-head. Most of these folks pop up as end of level bosses, although not all of them are quite as formidable as you'd expect. And none of them are samey. All the baddies attack in a different way. This isn't a piece of cake. You'll need to think as well as blast in this game.


The levels themselves are inspired, although EWJ2's levels are just a tad better than 1's. Pretty soon after the first level, things get pretty weird. Jim ends up in Heck, Evil the Cat's domain, and is forced to outrun falling rocks, screaming meenies, and sometimes just plain run on the spot to get anywhere. Then, after yet more weirdness, Jim has to guide Peter Puppy to safety, across a number of traps. Only Peter is no ordinary puppy. Get him mad, and he'll turn into a snarling monster, and start taking bites out of Jim. You need to keep close behind him, keeping anything vaguely hostile out of his way, whipping him to make him jump, and so on.

EWJ2 gets even better, with a bonus sequence, where you must bounce little puppies to safety, using a big cushion. Only the puppies are thrown faster and faster, and you start diving to try and catch them. I could go on and on for ages about the levels, there's so much to do, and no sign of boredom or repetitiveness creeping in at all. I feel I have to mention my favorite level, though, Udderly Abducted. Now, this level, is divided into several sections, each blocked by a gate. The gate is attached to a barn, and to open the gate, you've got to put cows into the barn, so that they can be milked. The milk opens the gates, you see. But, and this is it, you're not the only one with an interest in the cows. Aliens want to abduct the cows, for their own purposes, so as soon as a cow pops out of it's pod, from the moment you get it to the barn, you're constantly having to fend incoming saucers. Otherwise, old Daisy there, might well end up as beefburgers at the Roswell drive-by. And then there's some cows that are wired to explode. You have to dunk these, before they blow up, and then, and only then can you get them to the barn. There's something awesome about running around hefting a lit cow with you.

All in all, Earthworm Jim is a stonker of a game. Graphically, and sonically, it can't be faulted, with bags of in-game animation, effects, and CD-streamed music to boot. Granted, it may not have high definition graphics, but it still ranks up there with Castlevania was one of the greatest 2D games ever. The only problem is how to get hold of it - there are one or two sites still selling it, but by and large you may have to go the Abandonware route and download it from the web. Whether or not it's abandonware is questionable, and it's genuinely surprising that it hasn't been released on the Wii's Virtual Console or any other platforms. Still, it's well worth tracking down.

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