Earthworm Jim 3D

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Earthworm Jim 3D
Earthworm Jim 3D cover.jpg
European Nintendo 64 boxart
Developer(s)VIS Interactive
Publisher(s)Interplay Entertainment
Rockstar Games (NA, N64)
Director(s)Kirk Ewing
Artist(s)Paul Munro
Composer(s)Lee Banyard
SeriesEarthworm Jim
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 64
ReleaseNintendo 64
  • NA: October 31, 1999
  • EU: December 17, 1999
  • NA: June 29, 2000
  • EU: 2000

Earthworm Jim 3D is a platform game, the third in the Earthworm Jim series. It is a sequel to Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2, and the first game in the series to not be developed by Shiny Entertainment, which had recently instituted a strict "no sequels" policy. Interplay Entertainment, having recently purchased the Earthworm Jim rights, handed the franchise off to VIS Interactive. The game suffered a difficult, prolonged development cycle and 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.


Earthworm Jim 3D borrows much of its gameplay from other platformers of the era, competing with 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.


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.


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] Because Shiny had recently introduced a strict "no sequels" policy, the franchise was given to VIS Entertainment.[3] It was decided that, much like many platform game series at the time, such as Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, that gameplay would transition from 2D to 3D.[1] Development started shortly after Earthworm Jim 2 in 1996.[citation needed] The game had a drawn-out development cycle, so much so that it was at times believed it would become vaporware.[2] The game was initially being developed for the PlayStation, but this version was scrapped early in 1997 in favor of the Nintendo 64 platform.[4]

Problems arose from the extended development cycle. Much content from previews and promotional material was no longer in the final game; most notably 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.[5] Perry and original series creator Doug TenNapel met with VIS to discuss the game early in its development.[3] Both expressed that they hated what was done with Earthworm Jim 3D, but legally could not prevent anything from happening.[6] TenNapel said he felt the series was "ruined" by the game.[7][8]

Problems with the frame rate and animation were still arising in the game as development was over 70% complete.[9]


Aggregate score
GameRankings(N64) 59.32%[10]
(PC) 55.70%[11]
Review scores
AllGame(N64) 2.5/5 stars[12]
(PC) 2/5 stars[13]
Game Informer5.75/10[15]
GamePro3/5 stars[16]
GameSpot(N64) 6.3/10[17]
(PC) 3.2/10[18]
IGN(N64) 7.3/10[2]
(PC) 6/10[20]
Next Generation1/5 stars[22]
Nintendo Power6.8/10[21]
PC Gamer (UK)45%[23]
PC Zone44%[24]

Earthworm Jim 3D was met with mixed reviews upon release. GameRankings gave it a score of 59.32% for the N64 version[10] and 55.70% for the PC version.[11]

The game was not considered either a critical or commercial success.[5] 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.[1][2][18] 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".[17] 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."[18] 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] Jeff Lundrigan reviewed the Nintendo 64 version of the game for Next Generation, rating it one star out of five, and stated that "At some point you wind up asking yourself: who in their right mind would think this was fun?"[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kalarta, Kurt (November 8, 2008). "Earthworm Jim 3D". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Matt Casamassina (1999-10-25). "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  3. ^ a b "Earthworm Jim Forever". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 97. Ziff Davis. August 1997. p. 24.
  4. ^ "In Development". Next Generation. No. 29. Imagine Media. May 1997. p. 55.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Ken Horowitz (2005-06-10). "Sega-16 – Interview: David Perry". Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  7. ^ "Laughing Stock: Doug TenNapel - Kill Screen". 2011-09-08. Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  8. ^ "INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Doug TenNapel (Graphic Novelist)". Alternative Magazine Online. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  9. ^ IGN Staff (1998-11-02). "Unearthing Jim". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  10. ^ a b "Earthworm Jim 3D for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  11. ^ a b "Earthworm Jim 3D for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  12. ^ Brett Alan Weiss. "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64) - Review". Allgame. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  13. ^ Glenn Wigmore. "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC) - Review". Allgame. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  14. ^ "REVIEW for Earthworm Jim 3D". GameFan. October 16, 1999.
  15. ^ Erik Reppen (2000-01-10). "Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 2000-06-05. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  16. ^ iBot (1999-10-29). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review for N64 on". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2005-03-13. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  17. ^ a b James Mielke (1999-11-06). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review (N64)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  18. ^ a b c Erik Wolpaw (2000-07-10). "Earthworm Jim 3D Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  19. ^ Rico "Bullitt" Hart (2000-06-07). "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  20. ^ Dan Adams (2000-06-14). "Earthworm Jim 3D (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  21. ^ "Earthworm Jim 3D". Nintendo Power. 126. November 1999.
  22. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (January 2000). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 3 no. 1. Imagine Media. p. 94.
  23. ^ "Earthworm Jim 3D". PC Gamer UK. 2000.
  24. ^ Martin Korda (2000). "PC Review: Earthworm Jim 3D". PC Zone. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2014-05-16.

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