Earthworm Jim

Brad:Earthworm Jim had a lot of buzz prior to coming out, got great reviews, and sold tons of copies to satisfied customers.In doing so, it gets away with all kinds of crap people wouldn’t tolerate in most other games – cheap deaths, uber-harsh precision jumping, confusing level layouts.I’ve never been able to understand why, because EWJ is… well, not terrible by any means, but pretty average.It’s typical platforming fare, with annoying sound clips, predictable pattern following mini-bosses, and a slightly higher than normal frequency of frustrating areas.

The game gets a lot of credit for its “zany” humor, but it’s really not that funny.Yes, great, you play as an earthworm.He wears a suit invented by Professor Monkey for a Head.And the super-vicious attack dog is named Fifi.Hilarious!Hey Earthworm Jim, is your refrigerator running?Take my wife, please!No wait – I just flew in from Los Angeles and boy, are my arms tired!The second level of Earthworm Jim even gives us a nice lawyer joke.Very fresh, there – haven’t heard any lawyer jokes before.

In between lame jokes and not particularly funny weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird moments, Earthworm Jim is a more or less ordinary, though kind of hard platforming game.It does try to mix things up with boss fights that that break away from the core jump n’ shoot gameplay and a few non-platforming levels, but by 1994, most other games in this genre were doing that, too.Once you get over the fact that the game is about an heroic worm (and is that really any more humorous or strange than, say, a plumber or blue hedgehog?) and the wackiness of it all (should take about 10 seconds), there’s really not that much here that you haven’t seen before.

EWJ is ok, but hardly deserving of all the critical praise and popularity it enjoys.And certainly not good enough to earn our Seal of Approval.

Stryker:I don’t know if we can stress enough just how painfully unfunny this game is.New Junk City?Psy-crow?Really, that’s the best stuff you can come up with?The whole game is just a collection of clichéd, tired jokes, lame puns and stuff that is strange but not actually funny.Oh, and the occasional gross-out gag for all the 11 year olds out there.If The Office’s Michael Scott were to design a game, it would probably end up a lot like this.

Oh, and the game is brutally hard, too.If I really wanted to get viciously murdered while hearing a bunch of unfunny crap, I’d just wear a “Dale Earnhardt Sucks” t-shirt to a Larry the Cable Guy show.

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