Thursday, October 20, 2022

Earthworm Jim on the Sega Genesis

The cover of Earthworm Jim for the Sega Genesis
To be perfectly honest, a blog post about Earthworm Jim doesn't really fit in this round of Sega CD Summer posts. I don't mention the game in the book and Tommy doesn't even play it.

That's probably a major oversight on my part. After all, nothing screams 1990s quite like an action platformer featuring an earthworm with a plasma gun and a super suit.

It's hard to forget just how big the game was when it came out for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo in October 1994. The animation looked great and the levels were absolutely bonkers. I will never forget going through the "What the Heck?" level, which is a Hell analogue complete with lawyers, bankers, elevator music, Evil the Cat, and a murderous snowman.

Earthworm Jim is a pretty tough game, and I'm sad to say I didn't make it too far past "Snot a Problem." I never played the sequel nor did I ever come across the enhanced Sega CD version in the bargain bin at Sears.

So, why am I writing about Earthworm Jim? That's a good question and one I'm not sure I can answer precisely. I have a lot of good memories of the game; I really dug the "What the Heck?" level and didn't mind replaying it over and over again. Something about the dancing Evil the Cat and the elevator music, interspersed with parts of "Night on Bald Mountain," just made me laugh.

I mean, this is a game in which you can launch a cow! Compete in an intergalactic race with banjo music! Use an earthworm as a rope!

It just had so many weird and quirky things and such absurd humor. I just don't think there was much like it out there at the time--I know I hadn't played much like it before. 

Earthworm Jim was ahead of its time. The game spawned a cartoon, toys, and comics. The series struggled, however, to make the leap to newer consoles, with Earthworm Jim 3D regarded as an abysmal entry that really derailed things.