Tag Archives: earthworm jim

FGC #411 Clayfighter 63⅓ & Clayfighter Sculptor’s Cut

Whack 'em Smack 'emRacism works best when it’s not identified as racism.

On random occasions, I get the impulse to watch some television show that I remember liking, but haven’t seen in years. First of all: please never do this. Learn from my mistakes! On nearly every occasion, revisiting some old piece of television media is a terrible idea, particularly if we’re dealing with a comedy. Unfortunately for sitcoms (but fortunately for society), the overall “sense of humor” of the nation evolves with time, and, well, I’m not certain how much homophobia we can still tolerate from an episode of The Chevy Chase Show. And, while that relegates a surprisingly high number of 80s movies to the trash, it’s for the best, as there’s always going to be a new, modern Revenge of the Nerds anyway. So please look forward to Ready Player One: Part 2: The Legend of Wade’s Gold, coming spring of 2021!

But, despite the fact that I know this always ends in tears, I recently decided to rewatch the 2004-2007 Comedy Central animated series Drawn Together. For anyone that has never had the pleasure, Drawn Together was a parody of reality shows of the era (then dominating the airwaves… or at least had dominated the airwaves at some point), but with the twist that it was entirely animated, and populated with parodies of “real” cartoon characters. For example, Captain Hero was a Superman analogue, and Princess Clara could have been any Disney princess. And the “reality” twist is that all of these whacky cartoons are very “out of character” when they’re off the clock, so that previously mentioned princess is actually bigoted as hell. Or maybe that’s completely natural? I don’t really know any royalty that can speak to birds, so I’m not certain if that is a common trait. Regardless, I liked the show when it was airing after South Park during my college years, as I was a dedicated intellectual who incidentally liked watching cartoons fart. And there’s a pig named Spanky! That’s gonna lead to so many farts!

What is even happening here?But, as you’ve no doubt guessed from the tone of this article, my rewatch of Drawn Together was infested with an uneasy feeling of… there’s probably a German word for this… the inescapable realization that a piece of media was intended for one tiny subset of the population, and you only ever enjoyed it because you were that exact target audience. In this case, Drawn Together was aimed squarely at white, heterosexual, Christian-but-not-preachy-Christian, average-build men. Everybody else? Good news! You’re the butt of every other joke. And, past about the third episode, you’re literally the only “plot” the show has left. Sure, Drawn Together does the South Park thing of claiming they support both sides, but, even after an episode where Xander (Legend of Zelda’s Link analogue) finally comes out as gay, and is celebrated for it, the next half hour is still going to make a running gag out of the pig “accidentally” making out with the yellow thing. And then that joke will be repeated for the rest of the series. Forever.

But it all comes to a head around midway through the second season, when Drawn Together, in an overly labored-meta gag, gets an F-rated review from Entertainment Weekly. So, in an act of defiance, the Drawn Together cast storms the offices of Entertainment Weekly, incidentally kills most of the staff, and then discovers that the reviewer is a “Jewish Conservative Pro Life Born Again Overweight Asian Indian Homophobic Lesbian Broad Who Cuts Herself”. She is told she’s “not the target audience”, and Spanky Ham makes an impassioned speech about how she has no right to review the show, as it’s “not for her”.

That’s about when I threw up in my mouth.

Flick it goodToday’s game is another beloved title from my younger years, Clayfighter 63⅓. I was enamored of Clayfighter 63⅓ back in the day, because it was one of approximately five “funny” videogames that had been released in the span of about twenty years. Excuse me, I should be more precise about that fact: it was one of the few humorous games that had been released on a console since the dawn of the NES. I was never a PC gamer, but, with the wisdom of the future (and DOS emulation), I am now aware that all the videogame humor in the universe had huddled together for warmth on the personal computer. Regardless, as a young nerd that had already dedicated myself to memorizing Monty Python routines, the idea of a parody fighting game was right up my alley, and it didn’t hurt that this was a unique bit of software for the content-hungry N64. Nintendo Power told me this would be cool! And, honestly, advertising and expectations aside, I did enjoy Clayfighter 63⅓. It was a decent (if generally shallow) fighting game, and it was certainly funny. There’s Santa Claus! But he’s fat! And Boogerman! And Earthworm Jim! And a rabbit that talks like Arnold Schwarzenegger! And fighters were constantly quipping! And the announcer was continually mocking your combo chains (“Little girly combo”)! As a fan of fighting games and humor, this hole was made for me.

Or at least the “me” I once was.

So racistIt’s easy for a white guy to be a bigot. Once, I looked at the roster of Clayfighter 63⅓, and saw a whacky cast of characters. Now I see that there is one brown skinned character, and he just happens to be a voodoo priest with a terrible dental plan. There is one Asian character, and he’s got buckteeth and a propensity for confusing Chinese takeout for kung fu. And you’d have to wait for Sculptor’s Cut, the title’s second (and final) edition, to get a single woman in the cast. But that version also wound up including a trio of “native” cannibal children, so… uh… probably not a net gain there. And Sculptor’s Cut also granted everyone win quotes, so, if you weren’t already getting the point here, Kung Pow can ask you “Would you rike soy sauce with that?”

And it bothers me that this didn’t always bother me.

But I keep coming back to that “you’re not the target audience” crack from Drawn Together. When I was a teenager playing Clayfighter 63⅓, I didn’t think of myself as some “target audience”. I was playing a videogame that, like every other game I ever played, was nothing more than a videogame. I could play Clayfighter as easily as Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time, and I never considered that certain videogames might not be intended for certain people. I didn’t consider that the majority of my digital heroes were white males (even when they were robots), I just thought that was “normal”. If you’re going to save the (white) princess, you’re going to be a white guy, right? Nothing about that seemed wrong or even unusual, so the corollaries seemed perfectly natural, too. Asian characters were sumo wrestlers or kung fu masters, because that’s the way it should be. If you’re African, you’re a sidekick or the second player (or both), not a hero. If you’re a woman, you’re certainly a minority in the cast, because it’s not normal for women to fight or save the world. Hell, in most versions of Street Fighter 2, there are exactly as many women in the cast as there are electric, green-skinned monsters. But I’m moderately certain Brazilian beasts don’t comprise over half the population in actual reality!

And when racism is normal, then it doesn’t even look like racism. It looks like… Clayfighter 63⅓.

GrossClayfighter 63⅓ isn’t a klan meeting. It isn’t constantly hurling racial slurs like your average youtube personality. Clayfighter 63⅓ does not overtly support Donald Trump. But what Clayfighter 63⅓ does is normalize its not-at-all unique brand of racism. It feeds on the subtle prejudice of an entire “target audience”, and promotes the myth that every “other” out there is some kind of homogenous mass of defects. Oh, what’s that, Asian Dude? You’re upset that you’ve been characterized as a bad driver for having squinty eyes? Ha ha, sorry, it was just a goof, don’t worry about it, you’re not the target audience. It’s cool, you’re still good at using a wok, right? Ha ha, everybody laugh… well, except you. You wouldn’t get it, an overwhelming segment of the global population.

It wouldn’t be racist if those pesky other races didn’t want to be included in the first place, right?

Oh, wait, that’s exactly what racism is.

And we should never forget that.

FGC #411 Clayfighter 63⅓ & Clayfighter Sculptor’s Cut

  • System: N64. This title was originally planned for the Playstation (1), too, but one would assume Nintendo tossed some cash at Interplay for the highly sought after clayophiliac demographic.
  • Number of players: Laugh along with exactly one (1) other friend. Make sure he’s white.
  • Slap 'emVersion-o-Call: Clayfighter 63⅓ is clearly a rushed product, and doesn’t include a healthy number of characters that were originally advertised to appear in the title. Heck, the in-game story distinctly mentions Dr. Kiln losing a hand that grows and becomes sentient, and that severed appendage is nowhere to be found. Sculptor’s Cut filled in the blanks on the majority of those forgotten fighters… but was only released as a Blockbuster Video exclusive. This made the title insanely hard to find, and is currently one of the most valuable N64 games in existence. However, this does not make either version particularly good.
  • Just say the gig, man: For a forgotten N64 game, this title features an all-star cast. Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons) voices Earthworm Jim and Boogerman, Frank Welker (every cartoon ever) is Ickybod Clay and Blob, and Jim Cummings (Taz, Tigger, and Robotnik) is Mr. Frosty and Houngan. Yakko, Wacko, and Dot are all in the cast, too, which includes Taffy played by Tress MacNeille, who was also once the voice of Gadget Hackwrench. This would be goddamn amazing if anyone other than me gave a damn about voice acting as an art form.
  • Favorite Character: Across all Clayfighter titles, I’m fond of Blob, the green pile of clay that can morph into pretty much any form. He really displays how a “morphing” based fighting game can go wild with the creativity without relying on tired stereotypes about snowmen.
  • End an Argument: The next time the creator of Earthworm Jim decides to spout some nonsense opinions…

    SANTA NO!

    … Remind him that EWJ once appeared in a game where he could be butt-swallowed and crapped out by an overweight holiday icon.

  • Did you know? The box for Sculptor’s Cut touts “Make it a Blockbuster fight!” This was a parody of Blockbuster Video’s slogan “Make it a Blockbuster night.” Also, Blockbuster Video was a primitive, building-based business that allowed a person to rent videos for a limited period of time. Also, videos were disc or cassette-based objects on which…
  • Would I play again: I am fond of the Clayfighter series, and would like to see the franchise return. That said, I can barely play five minutes of this title without cringing, so that’s probably not going to happen again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Metroid Other M for the Nintendo Wii! Oh boy, that’s like the best Metroid title ever! Right? … Right? Please look forward to it!

FGC #294 Skullmonkeys

YummySkullmonkeys is notable for being a pretty fun videogame that, incidentally, hails form an alternate reality.

History is written by the winners, and, given enough time, even people who lived through that history tend to paper over the genuine details of reality. Case in point: the death of the 2-D platformer. To hear many of the old guard of videogames tell it, we spent the glorious 8 & 16-bit eras awash in an embarrassment of riches of 2-D platformers, and then, the moment the Playstation and N64 rolled into town, the era of 2-D was dead, presumably punched into an early grave by the sharp, polygonal fists of Battle Arena Toshinden. Sony had a legendary policy of rejecting all “childish” 2-D games, and the N64 couldn’t render a “retro” sprite to save its cursed life. 2-D died, and the Buster Sword was the murder weapon.

Except that’s complete bullshit, because there certainly were 2-D games on the Playstation. One of the most lauded games of all time was released on the Playstation, and it was 2-D. Mega Men of various origins had a number of 2-D adventures through the 32-bit era, and Playstation even paid host to many underdog 2-D adventures, like Silhouette Mirage and Norse by Norsewest. In short, while 3-D certainly dominated the epoch (for every Symphony of the Night there was a Castlevania 64… maybe even two) there were also 2-D action games available on CD and cartridge straight through to the death of the age of DVD. Yes, Mega Man 9 was a retro innovation, but it wasn’t that far removed from Mega Man X8.

So if 2-D games did exist, then where did they go? No, I don’t mean, “where did they end up?” We can see the answer to that every time we check the 3DS’s eshop and encounter a variety of platformers wallowing in the “Under $10!” ghetto. What I’m referring to is evolution. What I’m talking about is Mario, and the enormous gulf between Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. Heck, we consider Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World to be roughly contemporary, but Mario Maker reminded everyone that the difference between 8 and 16-bits is a lot more than eight digits. But that’s just how videogames worked practically since their inception: a new system with new possibilities means all the old games you remember with all-new graphical upgrades to get with the times. Super Contra, Super Castlevania, Super Adventure Island, Super Alfred Chicken. It’s a brand new day, and it’s time to see just how many pixels we can dedicate to Link’s eyebrows.

Look awayOf course, I suppose it’s Link and Mario that killed that trend. Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time destroyed the idea of the “evolving” sprites. Now Sonic would have to have an adventure, Mega Man would have to be a legend, and anybody that wanted to stick to the 2-D universe (hi, Wario!) would have to retreat to the lesser, portable systems. It would be years before we saw an updated Master Higgins or Monster World, because it was time to permanently migrate over to 3-D pastures.

But 3-D was not the welcoming land of milk and honey that many expected. The mascot platformer had ruled the 16-bit world, and, while many were happy to see that trend die kicking and screaming, it was clear that a universe of polygons was not going to do “cute characters” any favors. Many believe Sonic conquering the consoles fast is the only reason we saw the rise of the generic furry with attitude, but it’s a lot more likely that the horsepower of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis simply allowed for more expressive and “interesting” (I’m using quotes specifically for Aero the Acro-Bat there) mascots. And the Playstation could certainly create characters with a greater range of expressions than on the old systems… but nobody was going to mistake a model full of angles and sharp edges for cute. In fact, the death of Bubsy and his furry friends was probably just because no one could properly render fur. And without fur, all you’ve got is a ry.

ChillyBut there was one mascot from the 16-bit era that didn’t possess a single tuft of fur: Earthworm Jim. EWJ was the 16-bit mascot ideal: he was the cover-worm for every videogame magazine, he starred in his own animated series, and everyone fought over which version of which game was truly the best of the bunch. EWJ was a full-fledged phenomenon… for all of ten minutes. But, one-hit wonder or no, shouldn’t the ol’ powersuit have made the transition to 3-D? Where did our invertebrate hero go? Or, more particularly, where did the people who birthed Earthworm Jim go?

Well, they went to the Neverhood. Doug TenNapel created Earthworm Jim, and he left Shiny Entertainment (with a number of other employees) in 1995, likely because everyone seems to think Dave Perry invented the previously mentioned groovy guy. The Neverhood Inc (company) then partnered up with Dreamworks to create The Neverhood (game), an adventure game with a sincere/crazy sense of humor/whimsy. It was also a game where everything was made of clay, and there may or may not have been a hallway of scribbles that took about seventeen hours to read. It… was a weird game. But it was fun! And funny! And if PC gaming wasn’t a living hell at the time, The Neverhood likely would have become a game just as legendary as Earthworm Jim. Unfortunately, this was also a time when Electronics Boutique stopped selling PC games entirely because it was getting fed up with having to accept constant returns from screaming customers that never seemed to be able to purchase a game that would actually run on their own computers, so The Neverhood fell into that limbo of “great game, but only six people ever played it” like many 90’s computer games.

So, naturally, Neverhood Inc. tried to get a piece of the console pie. Wisely, Neverhood Inc. realized that the King’s Quest-esque adventure genre wouldn’t work on consoles for another decade or so, so the Neverhood world was repurposed as a more console friendly platforming game. Skullmonkeys was born.

WeeeeSkullmonkeys is a platforming game, plain and simple. You run, you jump, you jump on enemies, you spend a lot of time waiting for moving platforms, you’re dead in one hit unless you grab a powerup that allows for two hits, and there are a few “fireball” bits of ammo scattered around for when jumping just won’t do it. There’s a simple progression of difficulty and an increasing number of “traps” as Klaymen ventures through Idznak. There are bosses with simple, repeating patterns. There are bonus stages available only through finding various hidden knickknacks. It’s a platforming game, and if you switched in Bubsy or Awesome Possum for Klaymen, nobody would blink an eye. … Well, aside from the general confusion that would arise from playing a Bubsy game that was actually good.

Except… this was a game on the Playstation. There weren’t platforming games on the Playstation, and there certainly weren’t games that looked this gorgeous. Skullmonkeys was released the same year as Resident Evil 2 and Metal Gear Solid, 3-D games that are marvelous, wonderful experiences that are also, incidentally, terrible to look at. No, Skullmonkeys must be the last vestige of an alternate universe, another timeline where platforming games were allowed to evolve and grow into their “next gen” forms. This gorgeous, but limited, platforming game could not have seriously been released the same year as Spyro the Dragon. 1998 games are supposed to be polygons for days, with FMVs like you’d find in Ehrgeiz. There weren’t playforming games like this on the Playstation!

History tells us that platforming died with the last gasp of the Super Nintendo. Skullmonkeys, clearly, never happened.

More’s the pity.

FGC #294 Skullmonkeys

  • Platform: Playstation. I do not believe this has been ported anywhere else. This is what happens when a game is imaginary.
  • Number of players: Just Klaymen. I would not have said no to Willie becoming the Luigi.
  • Go joe!Favorite Boss: Joe Head Joe has Joe’s head for a body. At least, I would assume that is Joe. If not, he is pretty poorly named.
  • Pedantry Corner: Yes, I know there was a 3-D Earthworm Jim game. No, I am not ever going to acknowledge it.
  • Sequel Story: Skullmonkeys is a direct sequel to Neverhood, picking up exactly where the good ending of Neverhood left off, and including the planet Idznak, which was mentioned in that long-ass hallway. Fortunately, you don’t need to know a blessed thing from the Neverhood to enjoy this game, as “Klogg is evil” seems pretty apparent from the first moment he skins a monkey and wears his skull as a hat.
  • Just play the gig, man: The bonus stage music is delightful, and I certainly do not jump every time the singer claims there’s a monster right behind me.
  • Secret Shame: I have never seen the 1970’s bonus stage. Where are those damn things hiding!?
  • Goggle Bob Fact: There was enough advertising for Skullmonkeys that a Skullmonkeys sticker wound up stuck to my locker freshman year. For some reason, I found this act rebellious. I was a troubled youth.
  • Yummy!Did you know? There was apparently a Japan-only “sequel” to the Neverhood universe, a sports game called Klaymen Gun-Hockey. It was created by the company that had the Japanese rights to localize Neverhood games, and… was probably insane.
  • Would I play again: Probably yes. This is a genuinely good platforming game, and I’d love to see it available on a portable (not phone, we need buttons here) system. Assuming we ever see that, couple it with save states, and we’re golden.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Sunset Riders for the Super Nintendo! Get ready to bust some outlaws, pardner. Please look forward to it, ya’all!

FGC #152 Earthworm Jim

Sing itOne weird side effect of the Fustian Gaming Challenge has been revisiting classic videogames from a critical perspective and seeing a wildly different game from my memory. I often claim that, despite playing videogames for years upon years, it wasn’t until about Final Fantasy 13 that I started experiencing this medium with a more inquisitive eye. Yes, obviously, I always played videogames with a general sense of “is this good/bad?” But, more often than not, I didn’t really consider the component pieces, and simply made the snap judgment of “eh, I like it” on nothing more than a play through or two. Videogames are videogames, man, why overthink it?

Ah, how I envy the thinking of those bygone days.

I’m not sure I like Earthworm Jim. And, what’s more, I’m not certain I ever liked Earthworm Jim.

Alright, I suppose I should start with separating the game from the character. I unequivocally like Earthworm Jim the earthworm. Back in the day, EWJ the Animated Series was my favorite cartoon next to Freakazoid (and I think they aired next to each other, too). It was a series made for my Dadaist sense of humor that wasn’t being sated anywhere else in 90’s movies and television (alright, maybe Stunt DAWGS… anyone remember that show?). Earthworm Jim trying to save his beloved Princess Whatshername from Psy-Crow and then battling Evil the Cat over a snowglobe was somehow right up my alley, and I vaguely blame Monty Python for the whole experience. I owned all the action figures (this seems to come up in a lot of articles…), and, by the time I was in high school, I would stick a Bob the Malevolent Goldfish on my desk during midterms whenever I thought I was particularly in need of luck. To this day, the phrase “fur-bearing trout” is somehow still a part of my lexicon.

And I want to say that I enjoyed the Earthworm Jim videogame. Maybe? I know I didn’t own Earthworm Jim, because (infamously… in only my own memory) my mother did not buy me the game for Christmas. Winner!She got me a magnetic poetry set instead. I realize it is inherently childish and petty to hold such a choice against her twenty years later… but, Jesus, what kid wants a magnetic poetry set? Where are random words ever going to get me!? Argh! … Er-hem… uh, anyway, yeah, I didn’t own Earthworm Jim until my 20’s, so I know I only ever played the game as a rental back when it was relevant. But I also had subscriptions to Nintendo Power and Gamepro (and probably just bought EGM), and, for what I recall as approximately 12,000 years, there was a lot of magazine coverage of EWJ. I might not have played the game very much, but I knew all the key players well before they hit Saturday Morning, and, yeah, when compared to the likes of boring heroes like Aladdin or Batman, EWJ appeared to be a revelation… albeit a revelation I could only enjoy from afar. Did you see all those interviews with Dave Perry? That guy is speaking my language!

So when I decided to replay Earthworm Jim (well, technically the robot decided), I picked up the controller with a song in my heart (“Through the soil he did crawl…”) and a smile on my face. This ain’t no not-trying-at-all Zool or best-left-forgotten Rampage Through Time, this is Earthworm Jim, dammit! This is going to be exciting!

And… it wasn’t any fun.

Earthworm Jim has some good points. The animation? Superb. The hero? Just oozing personality from every pore (do worms have pores? I should look into that). And, as ever, I like an ambitious failure more than a repeated rote rehash (shhh Mega Man games, I don’t mean you), so I appreciate the sheer volume of interesting ideas flung into what could otherwise be a pretty basic 2-D action game. There’s a lot here to like!

But… then there’s everything else.

First, and most disappointingly of all, there isn’t much in EWJ to separate it from its 16-bit contemporaries on the “humor” front. Beyond the headlining character, if you divorce the game from the Play it Loud era of gaming mags and cartoon spin-offs, there isn’t a lot of inherent humor in the game itself. Psy-Crow is a great foil for EWJ in the auxiliary materials, but in the game world he’s practically as Clayfighteranonymous as the UFOs in that Heathcliff game. The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt is pretty much only funny based on her name, and I want to say that lengthy title does not actually appear during the game. Sure, this was the age of instruction manuals (remember those?), but without that additional bit of material, the whole experience comes off less genuinely funny and more “Nintendo lol random” like Claymates.

But, alright, humor is subjective, and we’ll always have a launching cow, so let’s move on to the actual gameplay. What do we have there? Well, we’ve got a lot of ideas that wind up smacking together the worst of old games design and new (new for ’94, at least).

From the old column we have limited lives and continues, which, alright, fair enough, we have to curbstomp the rental industry, so let’s make the game as annoying to play as possible. But that combines really poorly with the deluge of new gameplay quirks that are seemingly randomly introduced along the way. Platforming, cool, nothing exciting here… and then you’re controlling a jet-powered fishbowl? And there’s a rapidly descending oxygen meter while you’re trying to figure out the controls? Oh, sorry, you died, try again… assuming you haven’t wasted your lives elsewhere, because then you’re restarting the entire game from scratch. See also: being stripped of the super suit at the start of a tense boss battle, bungee jumping, and (my personal favorite screw job) those damn race levels. Couple this all with some unexpected, “unfair” enemy hits and bottomless pits (and, oh yeah, a final level that may as well be one giant spike pit), and you’ve got 16-bit graphics on a Battletoads experience.

But don’t worry, EWJ has plenty of modern conveniences! First and most obviously, “graphics” was put far ahead of the “proper platforming” bullet point on the priority list, so expect to be confused by stages with erratic layouts and confusing “is that platform in the ARGHforeground or background” challenges. Oh, and seemingly at the behest of his awesome animations, EWJ kinda controls like a dump truck, with all the jumping finesse that implies. Level 3 introduces mechanics that seem very similar to modern “stealth” gameplay, and another stage is a straight up escort mission. Add one FMV-based quick time event level, and we’d have literally every convention I never want to see in a 2-D game ever again.

This… does not make for a happy Goggle Bob.

But, in a weird way, it’s impossible to separate the myth from the man (worm). We’ll never know what a Clinton Presidency would look like without the shadow of his infidelity, and we’ll never know what Roman Polanski’s filmography would look like without the knowledge of his insidious off-camera inclinations Technically, these events didn’t impact these men’s professional output one iota… except when the stories became so big as to overtake everything. We see the same pattern over and over again with stars of all mediums, and I rather loathe the fact that I literally cannot immediately name a female musician that isn’t, in some way, known for her physical body as well as or more than her musical body. It may be a personal failing, but I cannot listen to a Britney Spears song without then considering her rise and fall and re-rise to guest-star on Jane the Virgin, and that should have absolutely no impact on my ears being engaged by If U Seek Amy.

So, maybe being a star occasionally has its benefits. My memory isn’t that great, so I’ll probably forget about this article in time (I once imagined that writing a thousand or so words on a videogame would be enough to permanently lodge the experience in my brain, but I recently was reminded of at least one article that caused me to respond, “I wrote that?”), and my brain will drift back to its default state of believing in Earthworm Jim. No, the game isn’t that great, but thanks to an adoring gaming press and ancillary promotions, I’m always going to fondly remember the worm that rockets through the sky. Earthworm Jim might not be that great, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Earthworm Jim.

He is such a groovy guy.

FGC #152 Earthworm Jim

  • System: Technically, I own and played the Sega Genesis version for this review. EWJ is also available for (take a breath) Super Nintendo, Sega CD, Gameboy, Game Gear, PC, Gameboy Advance, and the Wii.
  • Snot my problemNumber of players: Sorry, there’s only one super suit in the universe. Professor Monkey-for-a-Head didn’t build another.
  • Port-o-Call: There are so many different versions of this game that I don’t even know where to begin. What’s really important is that many a playground fight was started over whether the Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo version was superior. I want to say that the SNES version is better, if only because that allows for the Sega CD version to then usurp that title. It’s like Pokémon.
  • Big Damn Cheater: One other reason this game was widely regarded as good may have been how easy it was to key in the right code and skip a level or have permanent invincibility. I don’t think I know anyone that actually played Level 3 from start to finish…
  • Just play the gig, man: If it wasn’t such an annoying level (that is to say, any level in EWJ) What the Heck would have possibly the best, most appropriate background music for its console generation. As it is, though, it’s hard to notice the clever “musical joke” while you’re fighting lawyers to survive.
  • Favorite Level: As rough as it can be on your lives count, I rather enjoy snot bungee jumping, and I advocate for such an event to occur during the Olympics.
  • An end: Oh, and another old school twist: you may be insulted for choosing the “wrong” difficulty level. Have I mentioned before how much I despise game developers chastising players for not playing on the most sadistic difficulty levels? Pet peeve if there ever was one.
  • Did you know? There was a rather infamous commercial for EWJ featuring an old lady telling bedtime stories and eating earthworms. They weren’t real earthworms, but people freaked out all the same, and the commercial got pulled from select areas. This is your daily reminder that 90’s commercials for videogames were hella weird.
  • Would I play again: It’s probably for the best that I don’t…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Soulcalibur 3! A new tale of swords and souls is about to unfold! Or… did unfold… it was like a decade ago… No matter! Please look forward to it!

Mooooo