reviews\ Jun 23, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Earthworm Jim 2 - GBA - Review

When the GameBoy Advance was released, many people dreamed about playing their favorite SNES games on it. So far there have been spectacular ports of Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, and many others. Unfortunately, Earthworm Jim 2 suffers from what seems like a rushed development cycle and feels incomplete. This is a shame since the original was such a blast to play.

For those who are not familiar with the story, Jim was once an insignificant worm until a super suit fell from the sky and landed on him. This transformed him into Earthworm Jim, the defender of all people! To help him in the pursuit of villains he has a plasma gun and a rocket that he pulls out of his pocket. His two sidekicks are Peter Puppy, who is a cute dog that can transform, when he is scared or threatened, into a huge beast. Snott is his other sidekick, who lounges around in Jim's backpack; he helps Jim by becoming a parachute or a grappling hook. Jim has a romantic interest, Princess What's-her-Name that lives on the planet Insectika; and she has the strength of 20 men.

Earthworm Jim 2 begins after the events of the first game when Jim defeated the malicious Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-For-A-Butt, Princess What's-her-Name (Slug-For-A-Butt's twin sister) accidentally gets flattened by a cow that Jim threw. Jim then re-inflated her and poured his heart out to her but she refused to date a worm. To woo her over, Jim composed love poems, showed feats of his strength, and did numerous other things. As the time passed, she eventually fell in love with him. Out of nowhere Psy-Cow, the most feared bounty hunter in the universe, kidnaps the princess. Since she is the only legitimate heir to the throne of Insectika whoever becomes her husband will be the Emperor of the planet. It is now up to Jim to rescue Princess What's-her-Name, before they reach Los Vegas where they can get married or else the universe is doomed!

Jim will not be alone in this important rescue mission; his trusty sidekicks, Snott and Peter Puppy, will help him, plus he will have access to an array of weapons, items, and powerups. There are various weapons spread out to help keep the game from becoming repetitive such as the mega plasma gun, three finger gun, barn blaster, homing missile, and bubble gun. Throughout each level there are powerups, extra lives, and other interesting items. Each level will be swarming (literally) with several enemies. Each gun will help take them out with greater efficiency, and gives the gamer more choices in how to obliterate them.

The controls are simplistic; the control pad moves Jim, when over an object, press down to pick it up. A button fires the current weapon you are holding, and when you are airborne it activates the Snott parachute. B button makes Jim jump; when airborne it makes the Snott swing. R button makes Jim a whip, the L button creates his Manta Shield, and the Select button changes weapons. The bad thing about the setup is, it is hard to execute these moves when they are needed most since the animation is choppy.

Earthworm Jim 2 uses an awkward password system for saves, requiring long strands of letters and numbers. This makes the passwords hard to remember, especially for those gamers on the road who do not have immediate access to pen and paper. This would have been easily forgivable except that it has one major bug, when you put in a password and are taken to that level the players are automatically killed. I tried this on numerous levels and it ended up with the same result. Since this is the case it is almost better to play the game from the beginning each time. This is not forgivable and should have been fixed while still in beta!

Earthworm Jim 2 is rated E for Everyone.

Gameplay: 5.5
Earthworm Jim 2 was not properly beta tested. It is sad when a  game gets rushed out the door that has so much potential. The controls are not fluid at all, which makes certain jumps near to impossible to accomplish. The action slows down at the worst places, and many other things that should have been fixed if properly tested.

Graphics: 7.3 
Earthworm Jim 2 is just as colorful and nearly as pixel perfect as its console predecessor. It looks a whole lot better than the Earthworm Jim that was released last year for the GBA.

Sound: 6.2
When players first load up the game, they will be overwhelmed by the same classic music that was in the first games and the TV series. Jim will say a few of his catch phrases, "groovy" and "way cool", through out the entire game. It doesn't take complete advantage of the GBA's sound, but it is decent.

Difficulty: Hard
The game can be extremely difficult and frustrating to play because of the sloppy controls, bugs, and password system.

Concept: 7.3 
Earthworm Jim 2 features very unique locations and each place is very different from the previous levels. Players will transverse through the Planet of Meat, Circus of the Scars, and many other zany locations.

Overall: 5.5
When this game debuted on the Genesis and SNES, it was a wonderful game. When translating this game to the GBA, Super Empire forgot to do something extremely vital, test the game for bugs. There are so many bugs in this game that at times it is unplayable, and futile to even attempt to do so. If you are craving a good platformer, I recommend Super Mario Advance 2 or Sonic Advance instead.


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