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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Game Boy
Game Titan
GENRE: Action
June 11, 2001
Earthworm Jim

 Written by Alan Rumpf  on July 06, 2001

Review: Now you have an excuse to put worms in your pocket

Earthworm Jim is one of those games that has found its way to almost every system you can think of since its 16-bit debut. At the time, it revolutionized the way platformers were played with its new innovative graphical features. With some very heavy marketing it sold decently well through out its releases and is a name most gamers are familiar with. Now Majesco has picked up the rights to this title and has released it on Game Boy Advance.

The story of the game is very bizarre and can't be summarized easily. The basis of the game however is that you're a worm in a suit, blasting and whipping your way through 7 different worlds. You have a standard rapid-fire blaster, which does have limited ammo, however when you run out, you can reload by simply walking around. You can also power up your blaster for super shots, which are extremely effective in turning enemies into charcoal. You can also whip the enemies or objects in your path with your head.

Perhaps the most important part of EWJ is not the fighting, but the movement. Earthworm Jim will run in the direction you tell him too using the D-pad, however he is also capable of climbing up walls and climbing hand-over-hand on rope strings. Using Jim's whip move, he can latch on to hooks and swing around as well as jump and bounce off of tires. Don't forget about the cow launching either!

The game's graphical style is meant to look very cartoonish with tons of hand drawn art. While the innovative style impressed on SNES, it seems a bit lackluster on the GBA. Having seen all of the artwork and levels on previous versions of EWJ, there doesn't seem to be anything to look forward to seeing anymore. The audio is pretty impressive for the little handheld. The same people who did the audio in THPS2 managed to make it sound superior to the Genesis version, but could not really match it up to the quality of the SNES.

The biggest disappointment of this game is the save feature, or lack there of. There is absolutely no way to save this game. While in the 8 and 16-bit era gamers were often sitting down for an hour or two to tear through a game, the handheld gaming time allowance is different. Rarely will people sit down and play GBA for a hour straight, add that to the fact that EWJ is a surprisingly difficult game and you can see why no save feature was a bad idea.

Bottom Line
When I received this title I guess I was expecting a lot more than the final product. I was once the owner of a Game Gear and comparing both versions of EWJ, there is very little difference. The graphics have been updated slightly, and of course a drastic sound difference, but overall the gameplay is exactly the same. The lack of change from previous versions, make this title feel very boring. Still gamers who have never had the EWJ experience might consider giving this title a trial run to see how an earthworm could inspire a hit video game...that is if their fingers can hold out.

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