Earthworm Jim 3D

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Earthworm Jim 3D
Earthworm Jim 3D cover.jpg
European N64 boxart
Developer(s) VIS Entertainment (N64/PC)
Publisher(s) Interplay (PC/PAL N64)
Rockstar Games (US N64)
Director(s) Kirk Ewing
Artist(s) Paul Munro
Composer(s) Lee Banyard
Series Earthworm Jim
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Nintendo 64
Release date(s) Nintendo 64
  • NA October 31, 1999
  • EU December 17, 1999
Windows
  • NA June 29, 2000
  • EU October 26, 2001
Genre(s) Platformer
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution CD-ROM
Cartridge

Earthworm Jim 3D is the third game in the Earthworm Jim series. It is a sequel to Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2, but is the first game in the series to not be developed by Shiny Entertainment, as the rights had been sold to Interplay Entertainment, who handed the franchise off to VIS Entertainment. The game suffered a difficult, prolonged development cycle that was repeatedly delayed until it was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows. The game was not received well, with critics claiming that the charm of the originals was lost, and that despite the long development period, the game still felt sloppy and lacked previously promoted features.

Gameplay[edit]

Earthworm Jim 3D borrows much of its gameplay from other platformers of the era, notably competing with Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64.[1] New locations in Jim's brain are opened up by collecting Golden Udders, and new levels in each location are opened by collecting Jim's marbles. Like previous Earthworm Jim games, despite many platforming elements, Jim's primary method of combat comes from shooting his blaster.

Plot[edit]

Earthworm Jim is hit by a flying cow that sends him into a coma. Jim awakens within his own subconscious and discovers he has gone insane. His past villains have entered his subconscious and if something doesn't happen soon, Jim will be in the coma forever. His super ego has been unleashed within his subconscious to stop the madness. To restore his sanity he must find the Golden Udders of lucidity.[2] When Jim enters his subconscious, he finds out that his four mind chambers have been taken over by his worst fears. He must collect Golden Udders to unlock the other three chambers and Green Marbles to unlock the levels within the chamber. Jim defeats four villains who took over his mind chambers, and finally faces the personification of his trauma: Earthworm Kim.

Development[edit]

Shortly after the release of Earthworm Jim 2, its original developer, Shiny Entertainment was bought by Interplay Entertainment, and then put onto other projects.[1] With them busy, the franchise was given to VIS Entertainment, and it was decided that, much like many platform game series at the time, like Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, that gameplay would transition from 2D to 3D.[1] Development started shortly after Earthworm Jim 2 in 1996, and had a drawn-out three year development cycle,[1] so much so that it was at times believed it would become vaporware.[2]

Problems arose from this extended development cycle. Much content from previews and promotional material was no longer in the final game; most notably being that the game's final packaging showed Evil the Cat as the boss of the "Fear" level, whereas Professor Monkey-For-A-Head was actually the boss of the level.[1] Many locations displayed in early versions of the game are nowhere to be found in the released copy (such as a level set in a house, where Jim is ant-sized).[citation needed] Additionally, Evil Jim, Earthworm Jim's evil twin from the cartoon series, was reportedly a part of the game.[citation needed] Early screenshots and footage also display Jim riding his Pocket Rocket, with a fuel meter, in races and other missions, as well as snowboarding.[citation needed] Additionally, the game was loosely based on the Earthworm Jim TV series which by the time of release, had been off the air for more than three years, thus hurting the game's promotional tie-ins.

At the time, original series designer David Perry had sold the rights to the franchise. The characters had to be redesigned for the shift from side-scrolling 2D to free-roaming 3D.[3] Perry and original series creator Doug TenNapel were at first involved in the game as minor consultants, but were dismissed for unexplained reasons. Both expressed that they hated what was done with Earthworm Jim 3D, but legally could not prevent anything from happening.[4] TenNapel said he felt the series was "ruined" by the game.[5][6]

Problems with the frame rate and animation were still arising in the game as development was over 70% complete.[7] A PlayStation version of the game was originally planned, but ultimately cancelled.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (N64) 59.32%[8]
(PC) 55.70%[9]
Review scores
Publication Score
ActionTrip 7.8/10[10]
Allgame (N64) 2.5/5 stars[11]
(PC) 2/5 stars[12]
GameFan 72%[13]
Game Informer 5.75/10[14]
GamePro 3/5 stars[15]
GameSpot (N64) 6.3/10[16]
(PC) 3.2/10[17]
GameSpy 75%[18]
IGN (N64) 7.3/10[2]
(PC) 6/10[19]
Nintendo Power 6.8/10[20]
PC Gamer UK 45%[21]
PC Zone 44%[22]

Earthworm Jim 3D was met with very mixed reviews upon release. GameRankings gave it a score of 59.32% for the N64 version[8] and 55.70% for the PC version.[9]

The game was not considered either a critical or commercial success.[3] Many reviews called the game uninspired, mediocre, and unable to compete with many other similar, higher reviewed platform games at the time, such as Super Mario 64, Rayman 2, or Banjo Kazooie.[2][17][1] A major complaint was the game's camera, with GameSpot's Nintendo 64 version review stating that they felt the camera was on a "kamikaze mission to destroy the game".[16] GameSpot's review of the Windows version was even more negative, concluding with "Earthworm Jim 3D has something to discourage all types of people from playing it. Fans of the series will be disappointed by the lackluster translation of the characters into three dimensions. Everyone else will be frustrated by the horrible camera."[17] IGN was slightly more forgiving for the Nintendo 64 version, giving it a 7.3, praising sound, graphics, and presentation, but still criticizing the camera and lasting appeal.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Earthworm Jim 3D". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Matt Casamassina (1999-10-25). "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  3. ^ a b Chase Murdey (2006-06-06). "Digging For Worms: Why Doug Tennapel Doesn't Care What His Fans Think". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  4. ^ Ken Horowitz (2005-06-10). "Sega-16 – Interview: David Perry". Sega-16.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  5. ^ "Laughing Stock: Doug TenNapel - Kill Screen". Killscreendaily.com. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  6. ^ "INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Doug TenNapel (Graphic Novelist)". Alternative Magazine Online. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  7. ^ IGN Staff (1998-11-02). "Unearthing Jim". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  8. ^ a b "Earthworm Jim 3D for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  9. ^ a b "Earthworm Jim 3D for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  10. ^ Dejan "Dex" Grbavcic (2000-06-20). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review". ActionTrip. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  11. ^ Brett Alan Weiss. "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64) - Review". Allgame. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  12. ^ Glenn Wigmore. "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC) - Review". Allgame. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  13. ^ "REVIEW for Earthworm Jim 3D". GameFan. October 16, 1999. 
  14. ^ Erik Reppen (2000-01-10). "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 2000-06-05. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  15. ^ iBot (1999-10-29). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review for N64 on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2005-03-13. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  16. ^ a b James Mielke (1999-11-06). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review (N64)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  17. ^ a b c Erik Wolpaw (2000-07-10). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  18. ^ Rico "Bullitt" Hart (2000-06-07). "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  19. ^ Dan Adams (2000-06-14). "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  20. ^ "Earthworm Jim 3D". Nintendo Power 126. November 1999. 
  21. ^ "Earthworm Jim 3D". PC Gamer UK. 2000. 
  22. ^ Martin Korda (2000). "PC Review: Earthworm Jim 3D". PC Zone. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 

External links[edit]