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SummaryShiny's original classic in full glory
The GoodA port of the fantastic cult-classic 16-bit platformer developed by the now famous Shiny, Earthworm Jim takes the generic sidescrolling platformer formula (which had been gang-banged to near extinction after years of bad Super Mario clones) and injected it with new life by exploiting every trick in the book for these games and adding a much needed dose of tongue-in-cheek humor and sarcasm.
The plotline revolves around you being an intergalactic hero out to save a space princess from the forces of evil. Anything but revolutionary, right? But Wait! What if that hero is really a regular earthworm named "Jim" that landed on a "Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit" (literally) and the princess is a sexy babe that goes by the name of "Princess-What's-Her-Name", and who holds the key to the empire desired by queen "Slug-for-a-Butt" or something like that and which sends her comic-booky minions Psy-Crow, Evil the Cat and other monsters like a cyborg chicken (!!) to get you out of the way..! Well, I think you see what's the catch with this particular "space-hero-saves-princess" game, don't you? Earthworm Jim is essentially the same thing you have played since the dawn of time, but wins by adding bizarre touches, funny hand-drawn graphics and animations and by generally not taking itself too seriously thus making the whole experience new and refreshing for anyone. Sort of how The Ren & Stimpy Show made the whole "Cat & Dog" cartoon thing new all over again.
As for the gameplay the game brings all the classic jump 'n run mechanics to the table and some. Jim can jump, as well as glide (by rotating his own wormy self), use himself as a whip to hit enemies, swing around and activate switches. All skills he'll have to use extensively in the game. He also has his trusty blaster with 3 fire modes (one exclusive to the PC version) which can take out some enemies. The levels themselves are complex platform-filled settings that feature lots of wacky enemies, as well as puzzles to solve (usually requiring you to unlock the way to the exit). Between the levels you'll also have to escape and battle Psy-Crow, your main nemesis in the game whom you have to escape in a series of space racing sequences. Win and you'll escape to the next level, lose and you'll have to battle Psy-Crow (who can be quite a challenge and can even fish you out of your suit!).
All the while the gameplay remains challenging, original and includes all sorts of bizarre touches (like the now infamous flying cows) to make it one of the funniest experiences ever. There's a reason Shiny got it's name as a development house filled with a wacky sense of humor and this game is one of those reasons.
But alas, all of these things wouldn't mean a thing if the port to the PC had been botched (as it usually happened), thankfully the gaming gods smiled upon Jim that fateful day and provided both a nice dos port and a stellar W95 version by Activision that handles the game flawlessly using the same template that was used for the new Pitfall game and provides crisp graphics (probably the best the game has looked), perfect sounds as well as simple access to each level and settings.
The BadNot a thing, except some levels can be somewhat tiring.
The Bottom LineThe best way to enjoy what's definetively a classic of the genre. A great game for everyone that loves a good time, specially if you think console platformers are nothing but Mario Clones or cutie-cutie kiddie diversions.
I mean... flying cows?? Genius!!