By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 24, 2017
Welcome, dear friends, to another episode of the Big Red Timemachine! I am happy to report that things around here are still going swimmingly and neither Dennis nor I have felt the urge to physically hurt each other, so that has to count for something, doesn't it? When we last met, you might remember that Dennis was ecstatic when I showed up at our super secret HQ in the company of a certain someone of the female persuasion. And, rightly so, he should have been! For I was in the company of none other than the incomparable Ali Larter!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen; Ali graced us with her presence and I was quite excited! "How in the hell did you meet Ali Larter?!", I hear the unbelievers among you ask. Well, quite by accident actually. No really, I wasn't stalking her or anything! I ran into her at a local bar and we started talking about this and that. Pretty soon, she got really interested in our little time travel venture and asked if she could visit and, as she put it: "see it in action". Yes, I know it sounds harmless enough, but I knew what she really meant, didn't I? I mean, come on; a whole evening with Ali Larter AND the chance to show her my "equipment" in action! Would you pass up a chance like that?! I didn't think so! So, I invited her to come straight back with me. She agreed, so we hopped into my car and drove back to the Big Red HQ. Once we were back at our HQ, I introduced her to Dennis and made damn sure he was out of there in a hurry!
With Dennis finally gone, Ali and I had the whole place to ourselves and went straight into my office. I was so sure that this night was going to be awesome! But alas, Miss Larter had actually meant that she would love to see my TIME TRAVELLING equipment in action, not the equipment I was dangling in front of her face within about three seconds after she sat down on the couch in my office. So, a swift punch in the face, an instant restraining order and a front door slammed shut with quite some force later, I was alone again. Sad that I had misunderstood her and had ruined the evening, I started checking out old communiqués for any anomalies. It was then that I noticed some strange interferences in our latest broadcasts. I haven't figured out where they are coming from, but rest assured; if I ever find out who's causing them, I will crush them like a worm!
...a worm? Hold the phone; that gives me an idea! Strap in ladies and gentlemen; we're about to blast off towards 1994! Please put your chairs into the full upright position, shut off any electronic device you might be carrying and always remember to keep both arm and legs inside of the vehicle at all times! Trust me, we had a few mishaps with that one in the early days of the Big Red TImemachine and let me tell you that the result isn't pretty... Nevertheless, what are we going to do once we land in 1994? Well, we're looking for a worm! A worm? Yes, a worm. But not just any old worm! No, we're looking for the coolest invertebrate ever to grace this or any other planet: Earthworm Jim!
Earthworm Jim was originally released for the Sega Genesis in August 1994 by a company called Shiny Entertainment, after which it was quickly ported to a multitude of other platforms in the following 18 months. The game revolved around the titular protagonist Jim, who was an earthworm. Hence the name Earthworm Jim. Now, normally, earthworms are not very spectacular, but this one was. You see, one day, a Super-Suit just came falling out of the sky, almost crushing Jim. But, instead of leading him to an early demise, the suit and Jim form a hybrid, which enables Jim to walk around and be the superhero he always wanted to be. Is this out of this world or what?! But wait, it get's even better!
Jim must now fend off huge numbers of attackers that are hell-bent on getting the suit back, while at the same time, rescue Princess What's-Her-Name from the clutches of those same attackers. Earthworm Jim is a 2D platform that heavily incorporates the run-and-gun principle. While making your way across a number of levels, you had to basically shoot everything that moved, all the while ducking incoming attacks and make sure not to fall down any deep crevices. It was the run-and-gun principle that made Earthworm Jim differ from most platform games at the time. Although the basic principle stayed the same, it was the speed at which everything seemed to be going that made Earthworm Jim a much more hectic game.
Most of the time, you had to defeat a boss at the end of a level. The game had a lot of different villains for you to fight in one of these battles, ranging from the main antagonist: Psy-Crow to an organ with an attitude problem. The sheer wackiness of the villains matched the rest of the game perfectly! No sign of seriousness or messages, no sir! Earthworm Jim was meant for one thing and one thing only: having the most fun possible while playing! The game was presented in a 2D comic style that even further enhanced the sheer amount of humor that is already incorporated into the game.
In a normal level, Jim can use the gun of his robotic Super Suit to blast enemies into tiny bits, or he can use his head (read: the worm part of the worm-robot hybrid) to whip enemies, swing across ravines and grab hold of certain items in the game. Usually, the player only needs to reach the end of a level to complete it, but once in a while, a level might add an extra objective that has to be met in order for the player to finish the level. In between a number of levels, players must successfully complete a mini game called Andy Asteroids. Here, players must compete against Psy-Crow in a racing-type of game. If the player wins, they can happily continue on to the next level. If the player loses however, they are forced to fight against and triumph over Psy-Crow in a special 'between-level' boss fight before being given access to the next level.
All in all, Earthworm Jim was a very entertaining game that set the stage for more fast-paced platform games. The comic-styled graphics, the wacky characters and the zany soundtrack made it into a gem of platform gaming! It's no wonder that the game spawned a couple of sequels and even got a HD remake in 2009. Yes, that earthworm sure knew how to keep people interested!
That, unfortunately, is all the time we have for this week! Thank you for flying Big Red Timemachine. We hope that you had a good time and will join us again in the near future... Now, first things first; let's find out where this damn interference is coming from! Although, on the other hand, I am still sad that Ali left in such a hurry, so maybe having a couple of drinks might be a better idea... or maybe a lot! Oh hey Dennis. What? Yeas, she left... Me? Oh, I'm just going to have a drink or threehundred and I'll be right as rain in no time! Join me? Sure, why not?! I could do with the company!