Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

Earthworm Jim Trilogy - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)

The Nerd: When I think back to the 90's, I think of two things: Slapstick and crude humor. First, slapstick. Looney Tunes was still popular. You know, the physical comedy and visual gags were still being referenced a lot, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons were like direct successors. Then there was Jim Carrey, whose highly expressive face was almost like a cartoon, especially when he had a CG makeover in The Mask. It was like a live-action Looney Tunes character.

The Nerd: And then, the crude humor and bodily functions were on full display in Dumb and Dumber, which had all three: piss, shit, and puke. The Green Day album that year was called Dookie, Beavis and Butt-Head were at their peak, and Ren and Stimpy had been wreaking havoc the first half of the decade. It was clear, the 90's was the age of the gross-out, and it was also the 16-bit era.

The Nerd: Games of the period were flexing their new technology, showing off more complex character design and animation. Interplay gave us Boogerman, which fully embraced the gross-out trend. The peak of the turd mountain, overlooking the barf marsh, and somewhere, where the butt winds blow South to the vomit valleys and doo-doo dunes, between the boiling ass canyons and solid wastelands, there lies Earthworm Jim.

The Nerd: Somebody put pen to paper and said, "How about a worm in a spacesuit?" And from that point on, the world was never the same. The character appeared in many sequels, including ClayFighter 63⅓ which also featured Boogerman. Earthworm Jim had his own animated series, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, best known as Homer Simpson.

Earthworm Jim: Groovy! (winks)

The Nerd: I remember when the first Earthworm Jim game came out, it was like nothing I had ever seen, and even though it was on both Genesis and Super Nintendo and was nearly identical, I've always thought of it as a Genesis game. That's the one that came out first, the one I played as a kid, and that's the one I'll be playing now. I have fond memories of this game. Let's see if its inventive game mechanics, fun visuals, and sense of humor still holds up. Some may say it's all about boogers... but it's snot.

Earthworm Jim (Sega Genesis)[]

The Nerd: Level one starts, and right away, the first thing you do in the whole game, is you drop a fridge, to launch a cow. It says, "Cow launched," as if you just completed some major objective. "Cow launched"? What purpose does that have? Where is the cow now? It has no effect on the rest of the game. You just launch a cow for no reason! It's brilliant.

The Nerd: On top of the zany humor, the character animation is so lively. It's like playing a cartoon. Since Jim is a worm, he uses his head like a rope or a whip. He can use it to attack enemies, he can twirl it like a helicopter, or he can hang on to stuff, or swing across. There's no shortage of things the character can do, and the control is fluid and smooth. The way he interacts with the scenery feels natural. When he jumps on the pile of tires, there's a certain rebound that feels just right. The music is awesome. In this case, I prefer the Genesis, because it has that gritty bassy sound to it.

The Nerd: And the sound effects are hilarious. All the little voices when Jim gets hurt, or the way the birds scream when you gun them down. And then, you get to the boss, and the guy's making armpit farts while burping up fish. Amazing. I love when you complete the level, he says, "Groovy."

Earthworm Jim: Groovy!

The Nerd: You gotta love characters that say "Groovy."

Ash Williams: Groovy.

Austin Powers: Groovy, baby!

Duke Nukem: Groovy!

The Nerd: Level two, What the Heck?, is clearly What the Hell? as in, literally, Hell. And this has got to be one of the best all-time Hell levels. I mean, just look at it! I'm getting major Disney Fantasia vibes, or Don Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven. It's so awesome that I'm having a hard time consolidating everything I want to say. For the music, they use the classic "Ride of the Valkyries," but then there's a record skip and it goes to something super peaceful. But every now and then, you hear somebody screaming. What's going on?! The enemies are priceless. There's these chomping monster things, and then there's lawyers. I guess they're making a joke about lawyers in Hell?  Then there's things you would never think of, like a snowman... in Hell. And, what are these things, farting assholes? They're farting assholes!

The Nerd: I like the evil cat who's in the background the whole time, that actually turns out to be the stage boss, Evil the Cat. Yeah, just a cute little white cat, like Yeti, who keeps blasting fireballs out a cannon. It's little details like the recoil animation, and how the cat stops to lick itself. It's great! Not to mention, Jim is out of the spacesuit, which is funny just to remind you that he really is a worm.

The Nerd: Level three is some underwater base. There's these little orange guys that are real unassuming, but if you go near them, they'll slam you around. Man, that's so cool. You gotta hop on a giant hamster to eat them up, and next thing, you're in a little submarine. So this game is always giving you something new, it has a ton of variety, and I can't say enough good things about it.

(Earthworm Jim dies.)

The Nerd: Oh, fuck. Okay. This part might be a problem. Controlling the submarine is not self-explanatory or intuitive. You have to turn the jet propulsions around so that they're pushing you in the right direction. It also gains momentum. You don't want to build up too much speed. If you hit something it ricochets you back, and you lose control. If the glass cracks too much, you're done for. So, you want to take it slow. But you can't take it slow! There's a time limit! You got to get to the next checkpoint before you run out of air. C'mon, take it easy. Nice and easy. No need to rush. Whoa, that was close. (dies again) Motherfucker! (dies again) FUCK! Ugh... (dies again) UUUGGGHHH! FUCK IT! YOU KNOW WHAT? I TAKE BACK EVERYTHING I SAID, THIS GAME FUCKIN' SUCKS! I'M NOT EVEN PLAYIN' AROUND, IT'S HORSESHIT!

(The Nerd angrily takes the game out of the console to the accompaniment of heavy death metal music, and smashes the cartridge with a hammer in anger.)

The Nerd: (calms down) You know what? There's more levels. I shouldn't have done that.

(He picks up the broken cartridge and puts it back in the console.)

The Nerd: If you make it past the submarine, next up is level four, Snot a Problem, as in snot! Mucus! Boogers! It's fuckin' nasty! The idea is to defeat the green guy, Major Mucus, by weakening his booger bungee cord 'till he falls. But don't get bitten in half by the snot monster below. Wow! It always impresses me how they keep making new death animations. Come on. Ahh! Ah-ah, ooh! Come on, ahh! Um, what happened there?

The Nerd: Next is the aptly named Level 5. Most notable things here: Well, first, Jim gets separated from his suit, and you have to fight Professor Monkey-For-A-Head. That's his name, and that's what he is.

Professor Monkey-For-A-Head: I've got a monkey grafted to my head!

The Nerd: The next stage is called For Pete's Sake. It's an escort mission where you have to keep this little puppy safe. Aww, look at that cute little puppy just skipping around! So carefree. Oh, I love that little guy oh-OH-OH SHIT!

The Nerd: So with a game that has so many fart sounds and mucus and gross out humor, all I can say is... you haven't seen anything yet. Here comes the grossest level in video game history, "Intestinal Distress". (Hears some heartbeat in the game) What the fuck? Oh... OHHHH... (The Nerd seems to be in disgust) What is that supposed to be? I don't want to know.

(The Nerd makes more disgust and some more weird sounds are heard in the game throughout)

The Nerd: This is where they took it a little too far. Somebody decided, hey, let's just go all the way and make it as disgusting as possible. On top of that, there's something real disturbing about the music. The whole thing just creeps me out.

The Nerd: Oh, but the next and final stage is called Buttville. Oh, no, oh... uh, Okay, it's not so bad. Just a bunch of spikes and lightning. This part, you better be ready to die, die, and die. In the end, you defeat Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, and then rescue Princess What's-Her-Name, and then... the cow. The cow from level one lands on her! And if you wait through the credits, they fall through the ground! Into lava! Overall, it's a great game with great variety and great sense of humor, but has some frustrating parts. So there you go.

(Pieces of the broken cartridge fall onto the Genesis as the Nerd nods.)

The Nerd: I'd like to introduce the Balance of Shit Justice. A game with no problems will sit in the green zone to mark its outstanding excellence. But with every flaw, every turd that drops on the other side, it moves the game into a worse zone. This one, by my assessment, is a rather good game with a few turds weighing on it.

Earthworm Jim 2 (Sega Genesis)[]

The Nerd: Want some more? Well, I figured if I'm gonna play through one game, I might as well play through the sequel, Earthworm Jim 2. (inserts the second game cartridge into the 32X) Consider this a bonus.

The Nerd: First up, level one - "Anything but Tangerines". Is it just me, or are things getting even weirder? You're lifting pigs out of pigpens, sending them down slides into fishbowls, putting them on boards of wood to raise weights. If you leave em' alone, they meditate and float away. Whenever Jim stands still, he takes a little guy out of his pocket, and eats him!

The Nerd: You're stealing motorized stair chairs from angry old ladies. And next in level two - "Lorenzen's Soil", you're moving dirt around, which is probably the most worm-like thing Earthworm Jim has ever done, and...what was that? What did he just do?

The Nerd: Scattered in between are these recurring stages where you're bouncing puppies off a cushion or giant marshmallow, trying to get them into a funnel, or else they go SPLAT! Damn! That's fuckin' brutal! Baby puppies splatting on the concrete! That's fucked up!

The Nerd: But you wanna see some crazy shit? Level three - "Jim's now a Blind Cave Salamander!". You're back in the intestines again. As if anyone wanted to see that! But now you look like an axolotl! A fuckin' axolotl! What's the theme of this level? There's weird membrane shit, pencils, pinball parts, windows. Next thing, you're plunged into a game show all of a sudden. "How does Jim spell his first name?".

The Nerd: Wow! Um...I...(cracks up a bit) It begs the question. WHO pitched this idea? And how in the holy mother of shit would they not dismiss this just being a total lunatic? It's as if the whole point was to make everything as... random as humanly possible. That'll be like if I came to you and said "Hey, I got an idea for a game. How about you're um... an Eastern spadefoot toad, in the Helix Nebula, and you gotta stab foil chairs with rubber chickens, and out come marble giraffes, and you have to balance the giraffes on feather wreaths, and you take them to hot tubs full of salsa, which transforms the giraffes into cat trophies, which you have to collect and place all the trophies along a line of Twizzlers before a blue panda comes and eats them all, and then morphs into a giant ball of metal slime!" (mimics explosion) Let's play the game.

The Nerd: Level four - "The Flyin' King". Uh-oh, somebody's switched on the diarrhea dial! The suck power that ass draws has turned to full blast! It's bad enough that everything's trying to kill you, and it's like trying to dodge rain droplets in a thunderstorm like in Silver Surfer. But on top of that, you have to keep track of this balloon that's carrying an explosive. You can't let it blow up. And you have to keep pushing it, all the way to the end of the stage. But you can't focus on the balloon because there's too many enemies to deal with! Also, whenever you beat a stage, the cows talk.

Talking Cow: Well done.

The Nerd: I gotta ask, what's the deal with all the cows? Some running joke, I guess? I don't get it! What is this preposterous preoccupation with cows?! Just some random animal, that you can't stop referencing? Alright, let's play some more of this buffalo shit.

The Nerd: Level five - "Udderly Abducted". Yeah, we're going full cow now. Here you have to pick up cows and take them into these stables, where the machine milks them. The milk fills the pail and lifts up the barrier. Next time, you need two cows, and then three, or else the barrier won't lift all the way. Did Jim ever think about ducking under the barrier? I guess that would make too much sense. Here's where it gets nuts. The cows can get abducted by aliens and let me tell you, these aliens really want those cows bad! They are persistent as fuck! And never go away! That's MY cow! GET YOUR OWN! You don't know the meaning of suffering, until you've been hauling a cow over cliffs and almost making it to the stable, only to have a UFO take the cow away! Man, I have some real beef with this level! Get your tractor beam OFF MY FUCKING COW! YOU ALIEN PIECE OF SHIT!

The Nerd: If you lose the cow, you gotta go all the way back. If you die, you go all the way back. And if the cow explodes for no reason, you go all the way back! Yes, some of the cows are explosive, and you have a time limit to take them to a bath tub to defuse them. Who would think to do that?! But that's not all - you have to find the cows in the correct order. You'd think maybe they'd put a little too much thought into this?! The cows spawn from flowers; yes, I didn't even mention that, yet, the cows spawn from flowers. If you come to a flower and it doesn't spawn a cow, that's how you know you've approached it in the wrong order. It would've really helped if they'd at least have an arrow or something to guide you, but no, you gotta just take a shitty guess. Meanwhile, there's these magician coffins that I can't stop falling into. And if it's not already complicated enough, you have to launch the cow over with a cannon! But then you gotta get yourself over by swinging on snot! Oh my god! Can you believe that shit? Aw! Man, there has to be another way over there. (Tries to navigate the level but runs into a wall) Ugh! You can't go through?! And there's a 1-UP just to tease you. Alright, well, gotta go back. (Falls into a magician coffin) FUUUUUUUUUCK!!

The Nerd: Next, in level six, "Inflated Head", your worm head turns into a balloon and you have to dodge everything in sight. If you get hit by anything, it pops your head and you fall back down, down, down! It's as cheap as it gets. You know, variety is one thing, but when every stage is something wildly different, it starts to feel like you're constantly trying to learn a new game. It never lets you get used to one thing; just keeps throwing you these crappy curveballs.

The Nerd: In level seven, "ISO 9000", you're jumping across piles of legal paperwork. You have to carry mice in rolling cage balls and take them to certain destinations, but the real pain in the ass here is all the killer filing cabinets. These things will not chill, they just keep on coming, and they never ever stop. Man, that's a shitty day - don't you hate it when you get stuck between a filing cabinet and a magician's coffin? I can't get over that filing cabinet! I know you're supposed to jump on the drawer, but I still can't get over it. He's gonna kill me against the wall! Nnnnrrrggghh!

The Nerd: Level eight is called "Level Ate"... as in food. Yeah! You gotta love food levels. This would have to make my top ten food stages. Look at this - running from salt shakers and straws, literally whipping eggs, hopping across all types of meat. Got some burgers sizzling in the background - wonder if they're from the same cows.

The Nerd: Level nine is a secret level, which you can otherwise skip past. It's called "Totally Forked", which is a great name. But the Genesis version here just says "Forked", so there's some regional differences and I guess my region couldn't handle the joke. I wonder if there's any region that just straight out called it "Totally Fucked". That'd be great.

The Nerd: Level ten is the final level, thank god. It's called "See Jim Run, Run Jim Run". This is basically nothing more than a race against the recurring nemesis Psy-Crow. Keeping up with this guy is almost impossible, with all these obnoxious barriers in your way, and poorly placed pitfalls. It's unforgiving as hell. And if you accidentally get the gun that shoots bubbles, it's useless and you have to give up. If you actually manage to stay ahead of Psy-Crow and beat him to the finish line, Jim hails a cab, which crushes Psy-Crow, he rescues Princess What's-Her-Name, and in a twist ending, all of them turn out to be cows in disguise. Wow.

The Nerd: Well, Earthworm Jim 2 was an ordeal. The first one was mostly fun, but this one felt more like torture. So let's send it to the Balance of Shit Justice. Well, as you can see, there's lots of turds weighing on it. I dunno, this one ain't the worst I ever played for sure, but too many turds.

Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)[]

The Nerd: (Sighs) I think I've suffered enough. But there's another one: Earthworm Jim 3D, on N64. Let's see how the franchise held up making the switch to 3D. So I'm putting in some overtime here, opening up a whole can of worms. And who'd want to do that? Worms are gross! And why would they be in a fucking can anyway?

(inserts the Earthworm Jim 3D game cartridge into the N64)

The Nerd: Okay, so the game starts up with the most bizarre plot. Jim is in a hospital, unconscious, which is a very cheerful way to kick things off. His friends gather around, which includes Elvis for some reason. So the whole game takes place inside Jim's mind where everything he does is part of a big mission to gain his consciousness back.

The Nerd: Right at the start, you're collecting marbles. Get it? Like he lost his marbles? But then he has to find some chicken's underwear? Yeah, I don't know what the underwear has to do with anything - I'm only briefing you on the situation. The humor gets a little more crude, the phrase "Clucking Hell" is used, and Jim flips you off with what seems like the middle finger. I mean, he's flipping the bird, right?

The Nerd: But the humor's gone so far off the rails it doesn't come off as funny anymore. Why is he shooting out leprechauns? I'm supposed to knock out enemies with a leprechaun? Yeah, take that! You want a leprechaun in your hood? It caters more to the animated series, which had already come and gone by now, so you hear a lot of the Dan Castellaneta voice, which keeps making me think of Homer Simpson.

Earthworm Jim: Worm power! Groovy! Pain! I feel great! Win! Win! Win! Me! Me! Me!

The Nerd: There's this one thing he keeps shouting, uh, sometimes it sounds like "pain", other times like "brain".

Earthworm Jim: Brain!

The Nerd: I don't really know what it's supposed to be, but you hear it all the time.

Earthworm Jim: Brain!

The Nerd: BRAIN!

Earthworm Jim: Brain!

The Nerd: BRAIN!

Earthworm Jim: Brain!

The Nerd: BRAIN! Oh, no-ho-ho! Is that going to be the new "where did you learn to fly?" BRAIN!

The Nerd: Another thing you gotta get used to is the music. The first stage has this sort of country-sounding song and it just loops over and over... and over. Then there's those disorienting camera angles. This is kind of like the curse of the time. It's what happened to many games of this era when they switched to 3D. So if Earthworm Jim already sucked sideways, now it sucks in three dimensions. BRAIN!

The Nerd: The levels are designed with these huge open spaces, as if they made the level first and then didn't have time to put that many enemies in there. So, most of the time, there's nothing to comment on. You're just running around. It's flat-out boring! Reviewing this game would be like telling you about my entire day. I woke up, I got out of bed. It was a little bit cold. I put my socks on. I went to the bathroom, when I flushed I noticed the handle was a little loose. So I had to get that fixed... you don't want to hear all that shit. BRAIN!

The Nerd: There's even a stage where you hear a ticking clock. Let me ask you, is a ticking clock ever a good thing? That's what you hear in school when you're taking a test, or waiting for the bell to ring. Tell me any situation where a ticking clock is something that puts you in a good mood or gets you excited. That sound sums up this whole game. BRAIN!

The Nerd: In order to keep sane, I have to do insane things like this!

(The Nerd takes a stuffed Donkey Kong doll out and makes a fart-sounding noise while posing it in front of a chocolate waterfall on the TV.)

The Nerd: There's the occasional funny thing to point out, like this Resident Evil spoof where chickens are jumping through windows - and this stage is called "Poultrygeist", like the Trauma movie. Lloyd would be very egg-cited. There's also a ghost vacuum. Not like the kind in the first Ghostbusters game, but a literal ghost vacuum, implying that vacuums can be alive in the first place and have a soul. Then there's a boss with a cannon coming out of its body. Now come on, why did they have to position the cannon right there? BRAIN!

The Nerd: Even though this game is boring and uneventful, it's no cakewalk. It gets just as frustrating, probably even more so, than the other games! First of all, those marbles. That's exactly what I want to do in a game, go around collecting marbles! It's just as much fun as Superman 64, flying through all those rings. The worst part's when you die, you lose all the marbles, and have to start over. And there's quicksand everywhere. When you land in it, you can't jump! You're stuck and have to backtrack to get onto solid land! Then there's the knockback - when you get hit, it can knock you off the ledge. There's nothing fun about any of this!

(Earthworm Jim dies while the Nerd drinks Rolling Rock as he starts to get frustrated.)

Earthworm Jim: Suit shutting down!

(Earthworm Jim jumps into lava and then dies again as the Nerd continues in frustration.)

The Nerd: Aaah!!!

Earthworm Jim: Suit shutting down!

(Earthworm Jim dies once more)

The Nerd: ASSSS!!!

The Nerd: And if you want to know what the final boss is, it's a character known as Earthworm Kim, who is essentially a female version of Earthworm Jim. The boss fight is long and tedious; and after it's over, you'd hope there'd be at least a good ending, but no, there isn't. (Earthworm Jim walks in at the end of the game, make a dead stop and gets crushed by a refrigerator, and screams.) BRAIN!

The Nerd: Well, there you go. I beat the whole Earthworm Jim trilogy. Let's see how this one holds up on the Balance of Shit Justice. Well, the shit really weighs down on this one. I'd say this puts it in a very unfavorable category. Yeah, and if you want to put Earthworm Jim 3D on a scale with Jaws 3D, Friday the 13th 3D, and Amityville 3D, it doesn't even compare. It's not enjoyably bad, it's just bad. For those who have fond memories of Earthworm Jim, I'm here to remind you, it wasn't all fun. It's a mixed bag but mostly stay away from Earthworm Jim 3D. Yeah. Well, anyway, that was three reviews, so let's end this thing... See you next time, with more shitty games.

["And so, having defeated the games, the Nerd wins"]

(The Nerd takes off his shirt and reveals that he was a cow the entire time.)

["And so, having defeated the games, the Cow wins"]