Earthworm Jim 2
|Earthworm Jim 2|
|Producer(s)||David A. Luehmann|
|Platform(s)||Genesis, SNES, Saturn, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, Windows, MacOS, Linux, Wii|
November 15, 1995
|Genre(s)||Run and gun, Platform|
Earthworm Jim 2 is a 1995 run and gun platform video game and the sequel to Earthworm Jim, and the second and final game in the Earthworm Jim series developed by original creators Doug TenNapel, David Perry, and Shiny Entertainment. It was released in late 1995 and early 1996 depending on region and video game console, initially being released for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, before being ported to other platforms.
The purpose of the game is largely the same as it was in the original Earthworm Jim; traverse through the levels in order to save Princess What's-Her-Name from Psy-Crow. However, gameplay is much more diverse than in the original game.
While the majority of levels are still based on run and gun and platform game elements, separate levels incorporate different gameplay elements as well. Some levels, such as the opening level, "Anything but Tangerines", and the game's eighth level, "Level Ate", play largely the same as the original Earthworm Jim, with the exception of there being a larger variety of moves at the player's disposal. For instance, there are more types of guns to use once found in a level, such as an auto-aiming gun, or the "Barn Blaster" gun which takes out every enemy visible on the screen. New power-ups include the chip butty, which increases Jim's suit power to 200%. Additionally, Jim's friend, Snott, travels with him and can be used to stick to and swing from other slimy green surfaces or as a parachute upon jumping.
Other levels stray much farther from this formula. In the fourth level, "The Villi People", the player must guide Jim, defenseless in the disguise of a blind cave salamander, through intestinal passages, while avoiding exploding sheep and hazards embedded in the floor and walls. The latter part of the level suddenly switches to a game show/trivia format, where the player has to answer nonsensical multiple choice questions that commonly have no logically correct answer. Another level, aptly titled "Inflated Head", has Jim's head inflated much like a balloon, and the player must control Jim as he floats upward, avoiding touching sharp objects which cause him to fall back down to the start of the level, all the while dodging Evil the Cat's attacks.
Yet another, "The Flyin' King", plays as an isometric shooter, with Jim again on his "pocket rocket", where a balloon with a bomb must be directed to the end of the level, and defended from enemies, in order to defeat Major Mucus. The last level of the game is not a typical boss fight, but rather, a race against Psy-Crow through an obstacle course, to get to Princess What's-Her-Name. The game ends with Jim saving the Princess, but all three characters eventually turning randomly into cows.
Versions and releases
The game, much like the first, was developed for the Sega Genesis and then ported over to the Super NES. They were released virtually simultaneously and were largely the same game, the only differences being that the Super NES version had alternate background art, and the ability to switch weapons. The Genesis version was released in Japan exclusively via the Sega Channel service. Rainbow Arts ported the game to MS-DOS along with the first game, in a package titled "Earthworm Jim 1 & 2: The Whole Can 'O Worms". This port featured an upgraded CD-DA music soundtrack, more voice clips and redrawn graphics, but lacked the "Lorenzen's Soil" level. Versions for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation (both developed by a separate studio, Screaming Pink, Inc.) were also released, which contained the upgraded audio and all of the levels from the original. Both of these versions were identical, and contained background art and graphical differences separate from any other versions of the game. On a 1994 conference held on CompuServe with Shiny Entertainment prior to its release, David Perry stated that they were considering making a version of the game for the Atari Jaguar, which never came to fruition.
Many years later, it was ported to a newer generation of systems. A Game Boy Advance port, developed by Russian studio SuperEmpire Inc, based on the Super NES release, was released in 2002. It has been widely criticized for poor graphics, bad sound and music, and very glitchy gameplay. The Genesis version was later released for download on the Wii via the Virtual Console in 2009 as well. The MS-DOS version was re-released through DOSbox emulation on GOG.com and Steam. The Super NES version was re-released on the Nintendo Switch Online Service in March 2022.
|M! Games||76% (SMD)|
|Next Generation|| (GEN)|
|Super Game Power||4.8/5 (SNES)|
|Super Play||85% (SNES)|
|Video Games (DE)||78% (PS)|
|Sega Saturn Magazine||94% (GEN)|
Reception for the game was very positive. Sources such as IGN and GameZone declared it as better overall than the original, which was also very well received. Destructoid praised the game's humor, innovative gameplay, and "mini-game" style levels spread throughout the game were also held in high regard as a welcome change from the linear gameplay common at the time. Reviewing the Genesis version, one reviewer for Electronic Gaming Monthly disapproved of the game, remarking "where the first had technique, this one just gets cheap", but the remaining three declared it a worthy sequel. They commented that it retains the same great gameplay of the original while adding excellent new weapons and levels "which are even crazier than before". Reviewers for GamePro gave rave reviews for both the Genesis and Super NES versions. They noted that the basic gameplay and premise are unchanged from the first game, but highly praised the new level designs, diverse soundtrack, and improved animations for the title character, with one of the reviewers concluding that "Earthworm Jim 2 manages to exceed the lofty standards of the first game." A reviewer for Next Generation likewise felt that the inventive new level designs were more than enough to make the game feel fresh in spite of its using the same gameplay. He summarized that "For the most part, this long-awaited sequel has answered the success of the first installment using more of the same humor, action, and skill, adding a few surprises this time around." Sega Saturn Magazine (previously Sega Magazine) gave the Genesis version a 94%, citing the variety of gameplay styles with "every one, in every way, sickeningly well implemented."
While the Genesis and Super NES versions were generally held in high regard, some of the other versions were more poorly received. The PlayStation port, which contained the same content as the original releases, received a poor review "3/10" score from Computer and Video Games, due to there being no significant improvements despite the obviously more powerful hardware of the PlayStation. Similarly, Sega Saturn Magazine described Earthworm Jim 2 as an excellent game but derided the lack of advancements in the Saturn version, and summarized it as "A great game - a year ago. On a different console." A Next Generation critic was more forgiving of the lack of major enhancements, contending that "the title is amazingly fun even on a machine designed for 3D gaming", though he acknowledged that those who had already played the Genesis or Super NES version would have no reason to play the game again on the Saturn. GamePro's Major Mike disagreed, contending that changes such as the new backgrounds, remixed music, and loading screens make the game feel fresh and new.
The 2002 Game Boy Advance release was panned by critics as well, but this time due to the game having an "unfinished" game engine, glitched graphics, and an unpredictable save system. IGN stated that "the action tends to slow down in the most unlikely locations ...and the gameplay's inconsistent...load a game where you instantly die for no apparent reason". GameSpot felt similarly, calling it "unplayable". GameSpot nominated Earthworm Jim 2 for its 2002 "Most Disappointing Game on Game Boy Advance" and "Worst Game on Game Boy Advance" awards.
Earthworm Jim 2 was nominated for the Video Software Dealers Association's "Video Game of the Year" for 1995, losing to Donkey Kong Country 2. In 1996, GamesMaster ranked the Mega Drive version 2nd in their "The GamesMaster Mega Drive Top 10."
Reviewing the Virtual Console release of the Genesis version, Marcel van Duyn of NintendoLife had mixed reactions on various different gameplay mechanics.
The Earthworm Jim series had future sequels, including Earthworm Jim 3D and Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy. They were developed by different developers, with vastly different gameplay and styles, and received generally negative reception.
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