North American Release Date -
August 2, 1994
In an era filled with weird animal heroes like the Battletoads, Samurai Pizza Cats, Bucky O'Hare and Biker Mice from Mars, Earthworm Jim still managed to stand out. His video games are hilarious, and the original game launched a franchise that went on to produce an animated series, comic books, and action figures, along with several video game sequels, as well.
Whenever I hear the word "groovy", I can't help but think of Earthworm Jim. It's funny, because I don't remember when I discovered the franchise, just like I can't remember when it all disappeared. But there was definitely a time in the 90's where Earthworm Jim could do no wrong. his entire universe was fantastic, propelled by an insane cast of characters that included Queen-Slug-For-A-Butt, a Killer Goldfish named Bob, and of course, Peter Puppy. The characters transitioned perfectly between television and video game. Possibly more than any game before it, Earthworm Jim felt like you were playing a Saturday morning cartoon.
A very difficult Saturday morning cartoon. These games are vicious. I replayed this one quite a bit in preparation for this podcast, and hardly got anywhere. I think some criticism of the controls is warranted, but I still myself wanting to play some more. This game is from the era of "practice makes perfect". If you wanted to beat it, all you had to do was play it enough to get good. It didn't hold hands, and it rewarded skill.
Did I mention it was funny? I did? Well, I'll say it again. This game is hilarious. There's a level where you go to Hell and the bad guys consist of lawyers. Evil crows try to pull Jim out of his suit, reminding you that at the end of the day, he's just an earthworm. You're trying to save Princess What's Her Name? Really, that's what she's called.
Jim steals the show. He uses his own body as weapon, a hand while he hangs from clotheslines, and a jump rope when he's bored. This game is one of the first I can remember playing that legitimately made me laugh while I stared at the screen. This game is a beauty. It's too bad the franchise doesn't get more love today.
My buddy Patrick is back on the show this week, and we had a great time remembering the Grooviest hero in gaming; Earthworm Jim.