Sunday, 3 June 2012

Earthworm Jim (Genesis/Mega Drive)

I'm playing this one by request... kind of.

Earthworm Jim was the first game by the makers of Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, Aladdin etc, after they split from Virgin Games to form Shiny Entertainment. So I'm planning on comparing it to those games incessantly throughout the post.

No 'SAY-GAH' jingle, though I do get a preview of one of Jim's idle animations. I can already tell this is going to be as ridiculously well animated as their last few games.

My theory is that those rings around his forehead are some kind of device to transmit brainwaves to his super-suit. Yeah I know worms don't tend to have a brain, but they don't generally have eyes or teeth either. Jim's special because he was mutated by a super strong exoskeleton super-suit that fell on him from outer space, so it actually all makes perfect sense.

Well the game looks and sounds great, no huge shock there. Plus no time limit! Like in Cool Spot I can fire my weapon in 8 directions, though I've got limited ammo. At least Jim has the sense to stop walking towards the enemies while he's firing this time.

I'm a bit concerned about the first enemy being a bird. Not really a good sign. Well, birds are the worm's natural predator, so I suppose it does make sense.

I don't think I like these dogs any better. At least I'm assuming it's a dog. All I see is a whirlwind of teeth and rage.

My first instinct was to jump up, but the jump button actually makes Jim drop off the chain, right into the assorted spikes. I'd press down on the d-pad to aim and shoot at the thing, but I'm a little busy pressing up to avoid getting Jim's legs bitten off. And the dog doesn't just snap at Jim, he latches on and shakes him for a while. This is a bloody annoying little enemy.

Hmm, I think I can figure out what I need to do here. And I think the cow's worked it out too.

I'm struggling to figure out why I need to do it though. There's no problem here that only a flying cow can solve, I'm just locked in on this screen by an invisible wall until I drop the fridge.

I mean yeah I catapulted the poor creature the first chance I got, I didn't need a reason. I'd just be happier if taking part in pointless jokes wasn't mandatory.

The SNES version of game seems to play pretty much exactly the same as the Genesis/Mega Drive version, which surprised me because for some reason I'd assumed they were totally different. Though they have changed the graphics a little.

The Sega version definitely doesn't have that cool lens flare effect for instance.

I really wish I could shoot that bird, but Jim only pulls the gun out when he's on solid ground. Tires sadly don't qualify.

Jim's gunfire animation is awesome by the way. I think it's genius how they've made him look like he's being lit by the muzzle flash by adding shadow. It's always satisfying to spray off a few rounds with this thing. Much better than a Global Gladiators goop gun, or Cool Spot's fizz, or Aladdin's crappy apples.

Oh fuck, I take a few steps forward and a dog rushes in to bite me, giving the bird a chance to latch its beak on Jim's head and shake off some health. I'd be so happy if I never had to see another one of either of these ever again.

After eventually killing them both I grabbed that chain and tried jumping up to grab the pick ups floating above. But Jim defiantly refuses to jump on chains, so I guess I'll just have to walk away leave them there then.

One of my criticisms of Global Gladiators was that it had no variety, and that's definitely not a problem this game has. I can run around on ledges while getting attacked by birds, jump around on tires while getting attacked by birds, climb a giant conveyor belt dodging goldfish bowls while being attacked by birds... and this is only the first level!

Can't pull out the gun and shoot the little git though, nope. Not until I reach a ledge.

Damn birds! I'm never going to see level two at this rate. I reappeared at the beginning of the level, so I decided to just reset the game, rather than waste a life for no reason.


Oh come on, you can't put an enemy on the fucking checkpoint! I've only just respawned (again) and I'm already being swarmed by the bastards. Well, if you can call two enemies a swarm.

This is clever, I have to push myself along the cable using my gun's recoil. Well it depends on whether my ammo recharges or not. If I'm able to empty my pistol, then no it's actually not clever at all.

All the games I've played by these people recently have had me collecting items scattered around the level. Global Gladiators and Cool Spot forced me to search for a certain number of their product logos before I was allowed to leave the level, and Aladdin had optional apples I could grab for ammo. Earthworm Jim has these little atom things that give me health, so they're only necessary if I'm playing badly (which I am).


A trash boss? Well fuck. I guess I'm going to find out if the gun recharges pretty soon. (It does, to a point).


Well at least now I know the start of the boss battle is a checkpoint. 

He's taken off most of my health by knocking brass horns down onto my head, but I've finally hit him hard enough to turn him into his second form. A bloody anvil cannon! I'm trying to fire off some shots in between dodging anvils, but I'm doing a really shitty job of both.

After I get a few good hits in, he smacks me across the level and transforms back, and we go back to the horn dodging.

Shooting him doesn't seem to be doing much good, so I have to get up close and whip him. What's really annoying is that Jim freezes for a second to finish his attack animation, which means I have to sit helplessly watching the falling instruments hit him, without being able to do anything about it.


It's nice to know that the game gives me a few continues from the start without making me work for them, but there's not much point wasting one now seeing as I'm only on the first level.

I can't really complain too much about the difficulty, seeing as there's an easy mode and I'm not using it, but I think I'm going to have to walk away for a bit and take a break. Before I start snapping controllers.


YES! I finally killed that bastard trash monster. Turns out that I could shoot it, but the ground is slightly raised at the sides so I was a pixel or two too high to hit it where I was standing.

And guess what, there's another boss fight right afterwards. What, are they making up for the lack of bosses in their last few games or something? Fortunately this guy's much more straightforward to figure out. He drops a crate, I knock it over to the spring, and repeat as necessary.


The next level is a space race between me and some other guy that never got introduced. There's absolutely no story in this, and no cutscenes to add context to what's going on. So I have no idea why I'm going through a wormhole collecting bubbles. All I do is slide back and forth and try to hit boost powerups instead of asteroids and I'm soon done with it.

Finally I've reached level three, which is a bit like level one, except with flying enemies bothering me all the time.

Also there's an evil dancing cat in the background, distracting me with his evil dance.

I suppose he's dancing to the background music, which is 'Night on Bald Mountain' by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky I believe. I mean I believe the website I found the info on when I looked it up.

A dead end, and a cool looking gem. It took me a while to figure out I was supposed to run on it to make it hover, but it seems so obvious in retrospect.

Can't solve this problem with running though, and whipping doesn't seem to have any effect either. But what if I shoot at it...

Nope. Whatever, I'll just use the rope to jump over the damn thing.

Oh I see how I get the doors open now, I'm supposed to use the whip! Wait...

Maybe I just wasn't hitting the other one from the correct side or something.

Fire-breathing snowman mid-boss! This guy's pitifully easy compared to the level one junk man, he just takes forever. I had to hit him 16 times in the end before he left me alone. Quality gameplay.

Getting Jim to attach to these hooks is harder than it needs to be I reckon. Or maybe I'm just terrible at judging when to press the whip button. I'm just glad there's a nice safe platform under me if I slip and fall, not an instant death bottomless pit.

Though I did come across one of them earlier. It just looked like any other part of the level, and I can't pull the camera down by ducking, so I jumped right in. Another wasted life.

Okay, I think I've got the first half of this puzzle sorted out... but where's the door?

I backtracked to look for it and ended up losing my single remaining atom of health and having to do the whole section again. Turns out the door was down in that hazy pit below this platform, and I was supposed to assume it was safe and jump down. Bloody game.

And then the door closes on Jim just as he's walking under, killing him instantly.

Whoa, that's it, I'm out of continues already? I'm sure I couldn't have used up more than two. Almost sure. Well I'm done with that game then.

Okay, here's my controversial opinion on Earthworm Jim for anyone who wants to know: I don't like it. The enemies are annoying, the levels would be interesting except everywhere I go I'm bothered by the aforementioned annoying enemies, the bosses made me want to reach through the screen and crush them in my giant fist, and the enemies are annoying. The game's slick, the presentation is fantastic, and there's a lot of imagination on display... but I can get all that from just watching the cartoon, and that at least won't take me hours to get past the first episode.


  1. Hi!
    I found your website just recently and I like it. Finally something that dont bore reader with lengthy texts of full lets play, just basic, short, witty and succint impressions that wont spoil whole game so we can try them for ourselves. Great work so far! I have few requests, but I dont know hot to contact you or mecha-neko because I have not found any email adresses on this blog. Could you send it to me? My adress is patriktokar(at)gmail(dot)com
    Thanks for reply.

    1. Thanks, though you're the first person who's accused my posts of being short (or witty). You can just request games here in the comments, or send me a tweet @rayhardgrit

      Though I've got a long list of games to get through already, and mecha-neko only shows up three times a month these days, so you might end up disappointed.

  2. I never got into the earthworm jim games. Even back in the 90s

  3. There are "hidden" ways to get the guns, lives and healths. You just have to look, try and some dumb-luck is definitely helpful. I never finished level 3, but I heard the cat is difficult

  4. Well, you might think that way of it, but personally I view Earthworm Jim as the best game ever made =)

    1. Well it's got charm to it, that's for sure. You could've definitely picked a worse game to crown as king of your games list.


Semi-Random Game Box