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Overview

 The titular protagonist of Earthworm Jim.
Beginning in 1994, the Earthworm Jim franchise is an action platformer that is renowned for its colorful graphical style, humor, and well-received gameplay. The franchise originated on the Sega Genesis, with the first game being developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Interplay. The rights to the franchise were sold by Shiny sometime in 2007, and the current rights remain in Interplay's hands. Shiny founder Dave Perry later admitted that selling the rights to the franchise was the "dumbest move ever," in an interview with Video Games Daily.

The series has always been well-received critically, and relatively well-received commercially. Although the Game Boy Advance ports of the first two games were not incredibly well received (ranging from 40% to 70% scores), the initial platforming games were very well received, receiving scores ranging from 80% to 95% from many major publications. Because of this, the series has seen releases on a variety of platforms.

Games

Earthworm Jim

 The first level of Earthworm Jim, New Junk City.
 
The first game in the franchise, Earthworm Jim, was initially released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis and SNES. In the years following, the game was ported to the Sega CD, Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Master System, Game Boy Advance, PC, and Virtual Console. The game follows the titular Earthworm Jim as he battles Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt on a quest to rescue Princess What's-Her-Name. As evidenced by the humorous names, Earthworm Jim is rife with ridiculous humor, such as cow launching, killer goldfish, pointlessly long item names (e.g. Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit), and colorful graphics meant to accentuate the humor.

Earthworm Jim is an action platformer. The player controls Earthworm Jim, who has three main actions. He can jump, attack with his head (whipping himself out of the suit to hit nearby enemies), or shoot his gun. Shooting the gun requires ammunition, which can be collected through items commonly found throughout the levels. Whipping Jim's head can also be used for other things, such as whipping across pits. In addition to the side-scrolling levels, there are periodic races with Psycrow in a 3D fashion.

There have been a variety of ports and remakes of Earthworm Jim. In 1995, the game was released as an upgraded version on the Sega CD , with graphical updates and a remastered soundtrack. The Game Boy Advance version completely recreated the engine of the game, as the developers could not merely port the engine over. Despite this, the game was heavily criticized (as was the sequel). On the PC, the game was recently remastered in a special edition and released on classic games specialty site, Good Old Games (also known as GOG.com). There are two planned remakes of the game; one on the PSP (of which nothing has been heard of since 2007) and one titled Earthworm Jim HD for the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare (which is set for release sometime during 2010).

Earthworm Jim 2

 Pushing a pig down a slide; Earthworm Jim's bizarre humor exemplified.

Released in 1996 for the Sega Genesis and SNES, Earthworm Jim 2 expanded on the gameplay of the original game, adding a variety of features to differentiate itself from a standard action platformer. The game has been released on a variety of other platforms, including the PC, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, and Virtual Console. The game's music was much better received than the previous game. Composed by Tommy Tallarico, Earthworm Jim 2's music has been included in many "Best of Video Game Music" compilations, and has been a frequent request at concerts that Tallarico has been a part of.

Although Earthworm Jim 2 is still essentially an action platformer, the game incorporates many more bizarre elements than the first game. A wide variety of new aspects, including a maze, a trivia game, an arcade style level, and numerous races are among the features of Earthworm Jim 2. In the game, Jim is also accompanied by a companion. Snott is a living piece of mucus who lives in Jim's backpack, and can transform into a variety of objects such as a parachute and a device that lets Jim stick to walls and ceilings.

Earthworm Jim 3D

 Earthworm Jim 3D was heavily criticized for its poor frame rate.

Earthworm Jim 3D is the third game in the franchise, and was released in 1999 for the PC and Nintendo 64. The game was criticized for failing to innovate much, and rather opted to borrow aspects from other popular action platformers of the time (such as Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64). The game was also based off of the TV show, which caused confusion as the show had been off the air since 1996. The constant shifts in development during the game's development cycle caused many issues, including several cut characters and a poor frame rate.

The game involves the collection of several "Golden Udders," which are said to help cure Earthworm Jim of his insanity (after being hit by a flying cow). The game is primarily a platformer, as players control Jim and traverse a variety of levels. In addition to the platforming and exploration aspects, players can use Jim's blaster to fight enemies. Despite the game's attempt at expansion, its rushed development cycle led to many criticisms and a variety of cuts.

Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy

 Menace 2 the Galaxy

After the ill-fated third game, the Game Boy Color exclusive Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy was released. The game is an action platformer akin to the first two games, although there are many differences. Menace 2 the Galaxy is much more non-linear to than the original games, and the game does not have the same colorful cartoon-style look. Additionally, the game is more of a straight action platformer, rather than focusing on a variety of bizarre aspects (like the first and second games).

Television Show

 The television show based off of Earthworm Jim ran for two seasons (23 episodes). The show was broadcasted on Kids' WB, and was on the air from 1995 to 1996. The show retains the ridiculous and bizarre humor from the games, with a variety of original inventions introduced in the show. In addition, Earthworm Jim introduces a sidekick for Jim, Peter Puppy, who is much more level-headed than the main protagonist. Most of the episodes focus on Jim and Peter Puppy rescuing Princess What's-Her-Name from the variety of villains introduced in the game, including Evil the Cat, Bob the Killer Goldfish, and Professor Monkey-for-a-Head.

The show was later released on four VHS volumes in 1995, including two episodes on each as well as a behind the scenes clip.

Episodes

 Princess What's-Her-Name, Earthworm Jim, and Peter Puppy
  1. Sidekicked
  2. The Book of Doom
  3. Assault and Battery
  4. Day of the Fish
  5. Conqueror Worm
  6. Upholstered Peril
  7. Sword of Righteousness
  8. The Egg Beater
  9. Trout!
  10. The Great Secret of the Universe
  11. Bring Me the Head of Earthworm Jim
  12. Queen What's Her Name
  13. The Anti-Fish
  14. The Origin of Peter Puppy
  15. Opposites Attack!
  16. Darwin's Nightmare
  17. The Exile of Lucy
  18. Evil in Love
  19. Hyper Psy-Crow
  20. Peanut of the Apes
  21. Lounge Day's Journey Into Night
  22. The Wizard of Ooze
  23. For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls

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