Buried Treasure: Earthworm Jim
Title: Earthworm Jim
Genre: Video Game
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Publisher: Majesco Games
Developer: Game Titan
Release Date: 6/10/2001
Ah, Earthworm Jim, the timeless tale of an ordinary earthworm who is granted with extraordinary powers when a supersuit falls out of the sky and lands on him. Naturally, Jim heads off to rescue Princess What’s-Her-Name, who has been imprisoned by her evil sister Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Puss-filled Malformed Slug for a Butt, while also evading the Queen’s henchman, Psy-Crow.
This classic yarn is brought to the Gameboy Advance by Majesco in a recreation of the Super Nintendo game from the days of yore(yore being back in the 90’s before all of these new-fangled next-gen consoles came about).
Earthworm Jim combines classic platform action with some innovative levels and a crazy sense of humour. The game is pretty much a direct port of original SNES version, so you can expect to see all of the same wacky levels and characters, such as Professor Monkey for a Head and Peter Puppy. The graphics are slick and the characters all look great, especially Jim, which is good, since he’s the guy you’ll be looking at most of the time.
The play control is pretty solid, allowing you very good control over Jim’s running, jumping, blaster-firing, head whipping, bungee jumping, hamster riding, and what-have-you. The head whip can be tough to use sometimes, because you have to smack targets with the tip of it, and you can’t move and fire your plasma blaster, but these are relatively minor quibbles in a game that controls very well overall.
The sound isn’t as good as it was on the Super NES, but the voice samplings are still there, allowing Jim to celebrate finishing a level by hopping on his Pocket Rocket and saying “Groovy!”. The voices sound a bit tinny, but it’s better than no voices at all. The music is nothing spectacular, but it’s decent overall and catchy in places.
Where Earthworm Jim really shines is in the level and character design. Evil the Cat, for example, manages to pry Jim out of his supersuit in What The Heck?(the second level, for you normal people). Jim is forced to jump around avoiding blasts for Evil’s fireball cannon until he can get his suit back, at which point Evil drops from the ceiling in attempts to use you as a scratching post. The two stages that deserve the most praise for overall coolness, however, are Snot A Problem and For Pete’s Sake, featuring Major Mucus and Peter Puppy, respectively. In Snot A Problem, Major Mucus and Earthworm Jim engage in a bungee jumping brawl over a lake of snot inhabited by a large and rather hungry monster. The two combatants have to knock each other into the jagged walls of the cliff to snap their opponent’s bungee cord and make sure he becomes monster food, whilst simultaneously avoiding said monster, who will pop out of the snot to try and eat you if you get too close. For Pete’s Sake involves Jim taking Peter Puppy for the toughest walk in the universe. Jim has to use his head whip to bounce Peter over pits filled with nasty things, as well as running ahead to fend off enemies who would do Peter harm. Unfortunately for Jim, however, is that should he screw up and allow Peter to get hurt, Mr. Puppy will turn into a hulking purple monster and take a bite out of Jim while dragging him backward in the level.
Earthworm Jim is a classic game that, while not technologically ground-breaking, provides something much more valuable: a heck of a lot of fun. Definitely check out Earthworm Jim for the Gameboy Advance, because it’s definitely Buried Treasure.