Earthworm Jim Hands-On

Majesco has picked up the rights to port the original Earthworm Jim game from the SNES and the Genesis to the Game Boy Advance. We recently had a chance to play the GBA version to see what's changed.

The Game Boy Advance version of Earthworm Jim is actually a port of the original SNES game, complete with the Genesis-exclusive level. You play as Earthworm Jim, an odd futuristic worm in a space suit who blasts, jumps, zip-lines, and climbs his way through the game's levels. We recently had the chance to sit down with the GBA version of the game to see what Majesco has done with it.

Earthworm Jim tells the wacky story of a lowly earthworm who stumbles upon a magical space suit that grants him special powers. While wearing the suit Jim can move and react similarly to a human--he walks on two legs and uses two arms to help himself climb and shimmy through the game's levels. Additionally, Jim has a gun that he can fire at enemies and objects, and he can even use the suit to snap his worm body as a whip. But what Jim doesn't know is that the intergalactic bounty hunter, Psy-Cow, is after the suit for his queen and is hot on Jim's heels to steal the suit from him.

As Jim, you'll progress in typical side-scroller fashion through 13 levels, including the intestine level that was exclusive to the Genesis version of the game. You'll bounce off stacks of old tires, climb hand-over-hand across chains, use zip-lines, and jump your way through the levels, while keeping a close eye on the enemies intent on stopping your progress. Crows, hamsters, and even boss characters are all out to get you, and you'll have to use your trusty gun and the power-ups that you find along the way to keep them off your back.

The game plays exactly like the SNES version of the game, complete with everything you've come to expect from the twisted Earthworm Jim universe. You'll be launching cows, fighting boss characters built out of junk, combating evil cats, and facing plenty of other oddities. The graphics really don't look any better than they did on the SNES or the Genesis: They're all sprite-based and very colorful and cartoony. Unfortunately, it looks like Jim suffers from some missing frames of animation, as he's a little less fluid than he used to be. Still, the game looks and plays well enough and should be a welcome addition to any Earthworm Jim fan's collection.

Bringing the roots of the franchise to the new generation of video gamers could prove to be a good move for Majesco. The original SNES game was a fantastic and twisted example of side scrollers at their best, and the GBA version looks like it's on par with the original. Earthworm Jim will ship alongside the US launch of the Game Boy Advance.

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