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SNES REVIEWS: Earthworm Jim

For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:


I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

This is going to be another legacy review from the forum I first started this task, so I am still embarrassed about showing it here. This one is the last old review, as the rest would be new ones. I am somewhat glad I actually stopped when I did, because I was getting busy those days and the quality of my reviews dropped considerably.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

57- Earthworm Jim:
Year: 1994.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Playmates.
Developer: Shiny Entertainment.

The most surreal and crazy experience you might get in any game, ever, and that is an extreme ever. Jim is a regular Earthworm who was being chased by a hungry crow, and then bam an alien space suit lands on top of him, and the suit being some special technology merged with Jim and created Earthworm Jim, the super bad-ass worm warrior. Actually, I am not sure about bad-ass, but Jim is sure super.

As you see from the setting, this will not be your normal platformer, nor your normal game. You will control Jim as he escapes from galaxy to galaxy from a number of baddies looking to get his suit. All the while racing the menacing mercenary psy-crow, and saving Earth.

It is one unforgettable experience, but does it offer more than the novelty; read on to find out:

The Fun Factor:

This game is odd, from the movement animation off Jim to that of the enemies. But that all oddness does not affect the gameplay. Basically, you need to make your way through each stage to the end. Where mostly a boss awaits. In between stages, there is a Sonic-like race sequence with Psy-Crow, which keeps things varied.

However, that is easier said than done. The stages are riveted with obstacles, from spikes, to crazy dogs and unbeatable opponents. And some enemies are literally a pain in the ass, quite literally so. Jim has the ability to shoot his plasma gun, or use his wormish body as a whip. With such awesome power you would think defeating your enemies is easy, but that is not so. Since the enemies that matter are unbeatable that way. Of course, enemies are not the only pain, as you traverse an alien planet after planet, the geography requires you to jump, scale walls, slide shafts, hang on wires, use your whip to grab ledges and pegs, and other crazy stuff.

The bosses are all very unique and personal, with each making fighting him an experience. Although non of them are specifically groundbreaking, all are tough and a challenge to go through.

On the stages themselves, they are all very different from each other in both design and gameplay. One stage requires you to use a water pod to traverse from one point to another, another is themed after Hell and is called Heck, with demons and lawyers being your enemies (you read that right, lawyers). Another stage gives you an alien puppy to control. It is a wacky adventure, and one that never gets boring.

Until, you get frustrated at the sheer clumsiness of the game. The fifth time a dog bites you on the ass because the command for evade is broken is going to let a scream out of you. The sixth time you fail the pod escape (and I am being generous here) you will consider canceling the whole thing. The game is really fun, and could have gotten a perfect 10, but the amount of moments that are not challenging or fun at all really drags this game dow. Chaos helped this game a lot, but it also dragged it down a bit.

Score: 6


Challenge only counts when its fair, and most of the game this title is fair. However, some really cheap moments in the game ruin the credibility of this game’s challenge.

First, lets start with the fair. The overall skill it takes to finish the stages is high, and the bosses are defeat-able after a struggle by still can be defeated. It takes great skill to aim the whip, and traveling in the hostile alien planets make for a lot of rapid movement and jumping.

Then we jump to the unfair. Clumsy sums up this part. The game design is downright stupid at times. After the hardest and clumsiest sequence in the game, you get greeted with hardest and cheapest boss in the game. Which make is very annoying when your lives disappear and you have to go through the difficult sequence again. And the movement, while stylish, is not practical in a platformer. Too many jumps fail because of Jim’s awkward movement. Not to mention using the whip to attach to hooks (to swing from) which is downright impossible to do without plenty of misses here and there.

All these are inherently design errors, and they require luck, not skill, to be overcome. Which makes this game harder than it should be, even by using the emulator’s save function.

Score: 4 (deducted 5 points for unfairness)


I can say one sentance and it would give a very good justification for me to give the game a 10 but I will ramble on. This game is odd, freaky, strange, crazy, insane, and downright mad. From the crazy graphics and oddball animation, to the weird music and crazy names. Let me dissect my claim:

First, every level has a unique graphical style that brings it to life. But every game worth its graphical salt has that. Where Earth worm Jim shines is in the sprite graphics, which were made to be in proportional, crazy, and to look like the figment of some pot head’s imagination. Jim is crazy worm with two eye colors, and his enemies look weirder. Yet, everything falls in place in some crazy random way. Which is really cool.

Second, the animation the main character and the enemies do is simply amazing. Jim walks like a boss, shoots his head like a boss, and play jump the rope with his head like , a boss. Yes, you read that right, jumps the rope with his head like a boss, and you know it. However, the leopard monster who also walks around like a boss doesn’t know it, and when he grabs you by tho throat, and then throws to the other end of the room, he does it like a boss. Oh well, you can always jump to the bubble above him and hold your but up like a boss. Or you can shoot him with power beam and watch him evaporate like a boss, yes that is more like it.

Third, the music is like nothing you heard before. It is crazy soundtrack that was probably written under the influence of......something. Crazy track will keep you listening to the same tune without realizing it.

Finally, it is names like Heck, Monkey-for-a-Head that makes the quirky sense of humor of this game shines. Seriously, the scientist who created Jim’s suit is name Monkey-for-a-head. But that is nothing compared to the level name Snot a problem, where you appropriately have a bungee jump contest to the bitter end with non other than the aptly named Major Mucus. I am not making this up, this is really in the game.

What is the sentence that could have justified my rating? Oh well, her it is: the name of the evil queen who serves as the main antagonist in the game is “Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt” and she lives in Buttsville. Seriously, that is her name. Am I right, I sure am.

Score: 10


This game’s clumsiness would make most people shun the game. But the game itself outside of poor design is playable.

Too bad that poor design will probably cut short most people’s experience with the game in level 4 due to the extreme difficulty of the pod race.

Score: 4

Lord Spencer’s Score:

This is a very unique and stylish game, a shame it had to suffer from basic errors. The designer should have realized when difficulty becomes unfair. As such this game did not get the recognition it deserved outside of cult followings.

I hope this review will encourage some of you to at least check it out, because playing as Jim even if for a short while is a fun and worthy experience. An experience only smudged by level 4.

Score: 8

Overall: 6/4/10/4/8 32/50

I certainly don’t regret playing this game, even if I wasted a lot of time in level 4. I only managed to finish it because I was lucky that the game timer froze. Too bad that such a gem is so very raw that its shine is so dim.


For previous entries in the SNES reviews, see:

90- Blackthorne
78- X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
77- Shadowrun
76- Soul Blazer
74- Illusion of Gaia
SC- Terranigma
69- Out of This World
66- The Lion King
65- R-Type III: The Third Lightning
62- Kirby's Dream Land 3
60- Aladdin

Thank You for reading
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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:

Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs