Earthworm Jim 2 (SNES, Sega Genesis, PS1, Sega Saturn, and PC)

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If you finished Earthworm Jim  — on normal difficulty or higher, you get something more insulting and hilarious on easy — then you know that Jim blew his date with Princess What’s-Her-Name. After this blow to his ego, but not long after, the brutal mercenary Psycrow kidnaps the princess and plans to marry her in the Lost Vegas System. You see, the final boss of the first game was Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt who was the sister of Princess What’s-Her-Name and in her absence the Princess is the rightful heir. As such, if Psycrow can marry her then he becomes the King of Insectica! With all those riches and soldiers at his disposal he could easily… do… something… incredibly nefarious.

Jim boards his trusty pocket rocket and races across the galaxy to face his rival and save the love of his life. Run, jump, float, shoot, use Jim’s head as a whip, and face against the titans of the universe to reach Lost Vegas in time!

History

Earthworm Jim was developed by Shiny Entertainment and developed by David Perry and Doug TenNapel. You might know them as the guys who made MDK, Sacrifice, and The Matrix: Path of Neo. You might also know Doug TenNapel as an ultra-conservative christian who opposes gay marriage. Which is to say that if that’s an idea that you oppose and if the idea of buying something that will get him money displeases you then perhaps you’d best buy Earthworm Jim 2 used.

Earthworm Jim 2 was released on December 22nd, 1995. Its competition was Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (PC), Final Fight 3 (SNES), and Megaman X3 (SNES).

Experiences

This game is one that inspires wonder in the player. Every level has something bizarre and new. It’s a cavalcade of the strange and unique from the Boss being a goldfish or the level having a unique mechanic. The only thing that gets recycled is the music, and only in two stages. It can be a little overwhelming actually. It seems like the rules are always changing but mastering each level has its own merit and enjoyment.

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One level you’re running around and then you’re a blind salamander floating around an intestinal track. You literally never know what’s next.

Gameplay

Earthworm Jim 2 is a 2-D platfomer shooter — most of the time — with extremely silly elements. You play as Jim the lucky Annelid who slithered into a super suit and pledged himself to justice and Princess What’s-Her-Name’s heart. He punishes evil with his sweet red laser hand-cannon and throwing his own head like a whip — certain enemies are susceptible to certain attacks to try to mix it up in combat.

The things that come between you and victory are as varied as the planets in the cosmos. From blunderbuss wielding squid-billies and giant ants to giant sentient filing cabinets anything and everything can and will stand between Jim and the end of a level. Many of which end in boss fights that further mix up the rules and serve to challenge and baffle.

PedroPupa

In what other game would you face a giant unicycle riding pupa?

For as many things as will harm Jim there are just as many things in each stage that will assist him. From health atoms, fire cores, or Jim’s favorite sandwich these things will keep Jim’s health up. Jim’s gun is now equipped to load various kinds of ammunition in addition to standard and super shots. Scattered and hidden in each stage are multi-guns, homing lasers, and the bubble gun!

Fucking Bubble Gun

Fucking Bubble Gun

Quite possibly the most important of them all are the Earth, Worm, and Jim flags which will allow you to warp to that level in the event of a Game Over. Using this warp however deprives Jim of any weapons or health bonuses from previous levels. So… get out there, kick some ass, and try not to die.

The Gush

Jim’s helicopter spin has been replaced with the Snott-chute and the whip grab has been replaced with the Snott-shot. These are named after Jim’s buddy Snott, the amorphous, green, feller who lives in his backpack and got Jim the suit in the first place. These moves are both more elegant — read forgiving, they make Jim look elegant — and much easier to perform. Gone are the days of frantically smashing the B button to decrease Jim’s descent speed — if it worked.

New weapons! And the ability to swap between them. Jim is no longer limited to his normal shots and powershots, nor is he locked into powershots if they’re available. The player can now cycle through ammo types one at a time until they find the right tool for the job. It can be a little hectic in the midst of battle trying to get the right weapon ready.

Fucking Bubble Gun

I mean, you might accidentally select the Bubble Gun.

Although I’m not confident in saying that it’s better than the original’s the music in this game is quite good. It’ll keep the player humming familiar tunes for weeks after they’ve put the game down. And if they pick it up again the tunes will rush back.

The Kvetch

This game is looong. Actually, it’s not that the game is long necessarily, it’s more that each level is just a little too long. They all outstay their welcome, in my estimation. I actually got lost in some stages and was more than a little frustrated.

This game is haaard. It’s not as difficult as the first — which I’m thankful for — but it’s still a game I have gotten so close to finishing and yet have not. Three lives, one continue, and the passwords that you have to unlock in each stage are just not quite enough to make it. I’d have to say that it’s almost the variety of the game that works against it. Every level is unique and as such the player has to learn new skills with every stage.

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You’d best hone your old lady dodging skills and then immediately forget them because this crap never comes back.

I’m just gonna say it, there’s a stage where Jim has to bounce adorable puppies through the air into a dog-house. That probably sounds great but the problem comes into play when Jim fails — and by extension, the player. When a puppy hits the pavement he explodes into a shower of yellow juice and makes an absolutely soul-crushing, vomit-inducing, disgusting noise. It’s almost downright disturbing and it’s a stage that gets reused 4 times, as it’s the Andy Asteroids replacement.

The Verdict

If you’re the sort of person who loved Ren and Stimpy but missed this game then I suggest picking it up. It goes for $20 on Steam as part of the Earthworm Jim bundle that includes the first game and Earthworm Jim 3-D. Alternatively, it’s possible to acquire a cartridge or disc for classic systems on Amazon and other sites for around $24.

Next Week: Azure Dreams

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