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Earthworm Jim: Special Edition Review

What’s left to say about Earthworm Jim? Jim was a video game icon and was destined for a long and prosperous future in the industry. But the demise of Shiny games lead to many a terrible sequel and Jim has now been squandered into obscurity. But let’s forget that history for a moment and remember Jim in happier times when he was in his prime.

The original Earthworm Jim game was a defining moment for video games. Nobody at that time had seen such varied gameplay, smooth animation and oddball humour all rolled into one game. Earthworm Jim was a real labour of love and the end result was one of the greatest platform experiences on the Mega Drive. So how on Earth would you be able to improve on that winning formula? Well, this is how.

Earthworm Jim: Special Edition delivers a superb port of the original game with an immense amount of extras to keep the old fans happy as well as draw the new fans into a game they may have only heard about beforehand.

There would be no point in me reviewing the original game again so what I’m about to do is talk about the added features in ‘Special Edition’. The game kicks off to a brand new introduction sequence animated using pencil sketches. Jim falls from the top of the screen and then embarks in all manner of strange activities such as belching, vomiting himself out of the suit and strumming himself like a guitar string. Things are already looking up.

After starting the game, I was jettisoned back into New Junk City. Half way through the level an entirely new section has been added where Jim is transported out of his suit and has to make his way back to it via a series of slopes and jumps. When the section begins Jim announces that he’s ‘nude’, classic.

The same has been down to What the Heck? A whole new section appears mid-level and you even fight the snowman in a completely different location. This all goes without mentioning there’s a brand new weapon in the game; the homing missile. This makes for a much different playing experience than the original as you adjust your playing strategy differently.

The big treat is the brand new level which appears after What the Heck? This stage is called Big Bruty and it’s just as ominous and unsettling as the Intestinal Distress stage. In this stage you will be constantly luring a giant, blind lizard to come after you in order to progress. Move too close to him and you’ll seriously regret it; this thing can eat you whole in one bite, taking away an entire life, ouch. If you think jumping over him will work then guess again, its’ got that covered too. The new stage is a welcome addition to the game; it’s just a shame that the giant lizard makes such an annoying noise when it runs.

Other new features include a password system and a CD quality soundtrack. The password feature is a nice little touch; it’s just a shame that it uses objects instead of just letters. It’s very difficult to write objects down I can tell you. The soundtrack is perfect. All the original tunes make a welcome come-back but they’re now powered by the console’s superior sound capabilities. The great thing about the new soundtrack is all the songs fit just as well as they did on the original, thank God the original composer, Tommy Tallarico decided to keep the original tunes.

The last addition in the game comes in the form of an entirely new ending animation and a congratulations message for completing the game. If you complete the game on Difficult, a voice (who I assume is Doug TenNapel, the game’s creator) tells you that whatever you do in life, just remember that Shiny said ‘you’re the best’. It’s very un-PC by today’s standards as at one point the voice says something along the lines of ‘when you’re serving a life sentence for murder, just remember that you’re the best’. Quite a shock but once again, I laughed quite hard.

The new ending animation is pretty much exactly the same as the original it’s just that the Jim sprite is now a lot larger with smoother animation and his eyes now pop out of his head and examine the princess from head to toe; great, slapstick humour and a fitting end to such a spectacular improvement on a game that was virtually perfect on its’ first outing.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 4/10/07

Front Cover

Back Cover


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