I've heard Earthworm Jim described as "the most 90's game ever
made." I don't think that's fair. If Earthworm Jim's cartoon insanity comes across as trying too hard to
be cool and edgy, it's intentional! Shiny entertainment were tasked with making a game character that mirrored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' success. So they made the most over-the-top, blatantly plagiarized mockery they could. And it's what makes Earthworm Jim one of the
funniest game ever made.
Earthworm Jim is a parody of the in-your-face attitude that was everywhere in 90's gaming. Starting out as just a normal earthworm, Jim is mutated into the most powerful invertebrate in the universe when he comes in contact with the "ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit." Thus empowered, Jim sets out on a quest across the universe to find out the origins of the suit, and topple a galactic empire in the process. This was when "Cool" was the rule. None of this makes any sense. It doesn't have to, as long as everything looks neat. So, it didn't matter that Jim was a bumbling idiot with zero charisma; that's precisely what made him the perfect protagonist to act as a send-up of characters that took themselves way too seriously.
Earthworm Jim looks, plays and sounds like an interactive cartoon. Thousands of animation cels were developed for Jim alone, so he has unique reactions to any situation. This adds a lot to the game's fun. Watching Jim get hurt (which happens a lot) is almost as enjoyable as actually winning. The designers packed this game with so many funny, little details that you are guaranteed to be snickering at some new sight gag every few minutes.
But if you need any more proof that Earthworm Jim is a fantastic comedy, just read its instruction manual. It is a treasure. With irreverent jokes and useless tips scattered across every page, it lets you know how funny the game is before you even plug in the cartridge.
But the funniest thing of all about this game: it's actually
good! Earthworm Jim is no slouch when it comes to tight controls and addictive
game play. Even if the game is a joke, I guarantee it's one you won't get tired
of hearing any time soon. It's a 16-bit masterpiece that more than earns the title of "Groovy!"
As always, your opinions are welcome. Let me hear about your memories and struggles with Earthworm Jim in the Comments section.