Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, it was the year 1994.
Earthworm Jim hit the store shelves and in my case the video store that I worked at and it was as if the very heavens had opened for me and cast a bolt of lightning that struck my close friend's Sega Genesis. I have fond memories of being crowded around an old 13-inch television while two or three of us took turns playing the titular hero.
Developed by Shiny Entertainment and eventually making its way through ports for the Super Nintendo, Game Gear, Game boy, and the original Sega Master System.
The storyline is one of the many things that endeared me to the Earthworm Jim series. A normal earthworm has an advanced "Ultra-High-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit" fall on him, luckily the neck opening landed over him and the suit transformed the tiny earthworm into the super-hero, Earthworm Jim. Of course you learn later that the suit, designed by Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, was intended for the evil Queen, Pulsating, Bloathed, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt so that she could take over the universe. Luckily for Jim when the intergalactic bounty hunter Psy-Crow attacked the rebel ship that was carrying it he failed to stop it from being jettisoned into space where it fell to Earth and into Jim's possession.
Jim soon learns that the evil Queen is planning on killer her sister, Princess What's-Her-Name. An earthworm can only stand by for so long before he decides to do the right thing and rescue the Princess and defeat the forces of evil. Which is where you come in.
Controlling Jim you must combat the forces of darkness through 10 levels of insanity with names like, New Junk City, What the Heck?, Down the Tubes, Snot a Problem, Level 5, For Pete's Sake, Intestinal Distress!, Buttville, and the two bonus missions, Andy's Asteroids, and if you fail that racing game you go to Psy-Crow...which you have to battle until he is forced to fly away.
With such bizarre levels come also bizarre bosses. Chuck and FiFi, Major Mucus, Evil the Cat, and my favorite, Bob the Killer Gold Fish.
There have been numerous sequels to Earthworm Jim but none in my opinion matched the magic of the first title. Supposedly there is a fourth game in the works...but that was announced in 2008 and as of yet no update has been given.