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by Majesco

EarthJim03n-01.jpg (3827 bytes)The problem with perfect ports is that you can’t help but feel that everything’s been said before. Earthworm Jim is no Mario, but he still has a following out there that will be more than happy to take him on the run. I’m all for revisiting classic games, but in all honesty EWJ just doesn’t seem old enough to merit any real nostalgia. The Game Boy Advance is clearly demonstrating how easy it is to take some of the great games from the SNES days and move them onto a handheld platform, but if you’ve already played it, there really isn’t any reason to go back.

EarthJim02n-01.jpg (4259 bytes)What do you write about a game that is everything it promises when it doesn’t promise anything new? Earthworm Jim for the Game Boy Advance is just what you would expect: a solid port of the SNES version of the same title. The character is still wacky (but pretty tame in the post-Conker console world) and the gameplay is entertaining without really being revolutionary. Earthworm Jim is your typical game about your average worm discovering a super powered suit and having to save the world. It’s got a fun sense of humor and the levels are inventively designed. The run, jump, shoot, head whip format of the game feels like a dozen games before it, but it still plays well. I’m sure when the game was first released people were surprised at how off center the humor was, but almost 10 years later it has a definite been there, done that feel.

EarthJim06-01.jpg (4682 bytes)This isn’t to say I didn’t like the game. Platform fans who haven’t played the original owe it to themselves to give this a try. The game looks fantastic. The graphics are a lot more demanding than some of the other titles you’ll see on the GBA. The level design is colorful and creative and the sound is top notch. There just isn’t enough reason to go back to the game if you’ve played it before. It would have been nice to see a little more put into the release. Going from the SNES to the GBA is like going from the theater to the DVD. All of the elements are there, but if there aren’t any great extras, it’s a little bit less of an experience. Super Mario for the Game Boy Color is a good example of enhancing a game without changing it. It was a perfect port with some great new mini-games and levels. I hope that future ports of SNES games do more to exploit the superior capabilities of the GBA and have us look at old games in new ways.

EarthJim01-01.jpg (4743 bytes)Like Majesco’s Pitfall, this game lacks any means to save your progress. There’s not even the much abhorred password access. As I note in my Pitfall review, there’s something inherently wrong about being forced to finish a handheld game in one very long sitting.

EarthJim04-01.jpg (4958 bytes)Don’t expect to be blown away. Just expect to be entertained. Colorful, sharp graphics and strangely addictive gameplay make for a pretty good time. Despite my main annoyance with the lack of a save feature, I really enjoyed playing the game. And for that generation of gamers who missed EWJ’s first time around the galaxy, this is great opportunity to enjoy him in all of his 2D splendor.

Jason Frank   (06/25/2001)

Snapshot

Ups: Great graphics; good sense of humor; fun gameplay.

Downs: No save function?!; no real improvements over previous console version.

System Reqs:
Game Boy Advance

 


1995-2001
GamesFirst! Magazine