It’s been two solid decades (20 years, 240 months, 1043.55 weeks, 7304.84 days, 175, 316 hours) since Earthworm Jim 2 was released. It came out with a wave of anticipation, as the first game had met with rave reviews. Shiny Entertainment’s classic platformer merged outright lunacy with a high difficulty level and relentless wit and imagination.
We preffered the sequel as it was so bloody surreal. Taking the already weird enough aspects of the original and ramping it up a notch (with an added dollop of humour), Earthworm Jim 2 wowed everyone yet didn’t launch a successful franchise. Sadly the series trailed out after this, thusly Jim is left back in the mid-1990s. Along, scared, and without any candy floss. Ho hum.
The first game was about Earthworm Jim (duh!), a normal earthworm who was inadvertently struck by a super suit which turned him into a superhero. As the protagonist, it’s his duty to save Princess Whatshername after her sister Queen Slug-for-a-Butt kidnaps her (who often seems indifferent to this kidnapping, and is actually more adept than Jim at the whole superhero stuff).
You have to battle your way through antagonists Psy-Crow, Evil the Cat, Bob the Killer Goldfish, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and others to save her. Added to this is cute sidekick Peter Puppy, who explodes into a psychotically dangerous beast monster if he’s injured.
In the 1995 sequel this formula went totally mental. Including numerous movements from Beethoven’s body of work (including Moonlight Sonata and several sections from the Eight Symphony), levels where you’re inside some beast, bouncing puppies off a giant marshmallow, being beaten around the head by an outraged OAP, or taking on Lorenzo’s Soil. Behold some action below.
The games were (and still are) incredible and wouldn’t be out of place at all if they were released tomorrow. They’re timeless classics – a testament to a brilliant game.
They were also highly successful at the time, launching a highly amusing (and typically bizarre) cartoon series (with the voice of Dan Castellaneta – aka Homer Simpson – as Jim). Then there was a pretty mediocre N64 edition in 3D, and Jim promptly disappeared. Damn!
We remember him. My word we do. We’d like the TV series to be released on DVD, and some Indie company should take up where Shiny Entertainment left off with a new 2D platformer. Will this ever happen. This is a Call To Action!