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Game Over Online ~ Earthworm Jim 3D

GameOver Game Reviews - Earthworm Jim 3D (c) Interplay, Reviewed by - Drexel Spivey

Game & Publisher Earthworm Jim 3D (c) Interplay
System Requirements Pentium 166, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 69%
Date Published Monday, January 3rd, 2000 at 07:15 PM


Divider Left By: Drexel Spivey Divider Right

Earthworm Jim has had a successful career to date. After debuting in a pair of 16-bit platform games, starring in a series of Marvel Comic Books, and appearing in a cartoon series, Earthworm Jim is making a return to the video game arena in Earthworm Jim 3D. Originally developed by Shiny Entertainment, the latest Earthworm Jim title has been passed along to Scottish developer VIS Interactive, since Shiny is busy working on a number of other projects. In his latest adventure, VIS Interactive has Earthworm Jim trapped in his own brain of all places. Sound bizarre? If you think so, obviously this is your first time playing an Earthworm Jim game.

Earthworm Jim 3D is an old-school platformer that has been updated for the 90’s. Wait a minute, it’s the year 2000. I guess it’s politically correct to say it’s been updated for the 00’s. In either case, VIS Interactive has created a 3D world for Jim to adventure within. The same wacky humor that was present in the previous Earthworm Jim titles, once again rears it’s ugly head in Earthworm Jim 3D. Cow, chickens and pigs, it’s all good for a laugh.

The story behind Earthworm Jim 3D goes a little something like this:

Jim’s minding his own business one day, playing his accordion, when a fridge and a cow come flying out of nowhere and land on the unsuspecting earthworm. Jim is rendered unconscious and falls into a coma. The objective of the game is to help Jim battle through the layers of his subconscious in order to collect his marbles and return to the real world.

A story such as this one brings up a multitude of questions. For one, why do many of the familiar Earthworm Jim characters appear inside Jim’s brain? See, I’ve already made the first Earthworm Jim faux pas, I’m actually trying to make sense of the game. Earthworm Jim is the kind of game where you really should check your brain at the door and just enjoy the fun. Which beckons the next question, is there any fun to be had in this latest adventure?

Earthworm Jim 3D is played via the third person view. In other words, it’s similar, in terms of gameplay, to the Tomb Raider series or Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. That in mind, we also experience the same shortcomings as the aforementioned titles. Poor camera angles are the biggest drawback of the third person view and it’s prevalent in Earthworm Jim 3D as well. VIS Interactive has conveniently included controls to move the camera around. You can move the camera vertically and horizontally and you can even zoom in to take a ‘point of view’ angle in which you get to see the action from Jim’s eyes (first person). It’s too bad you can’t set the camera in that mode. You can’t actually move around in first person, you can only use that camera angle to look around the room or use weapon’s that allow sniper’s mode. Once you begin to move, the camera immediately pulls back into the third person mode. So, unless you can keep your fingers on the camera keys, which is an impossibility considering you have to move around and use the action keys, you’re going to experience some horrendous camera angles. Many a time I would run around a corner, behind an object, or close to a wall and the camera angle would destroy the view. I’d be stuck standing there while trying to fix the camera angle. It’s easy enough when nothing is going on around you, but in the midst of combat, the camera angles tend to hinder the action. I can truthfully say that I experienced some of the worst camera angles ever in Earthworm Jim 3D.

Camera angles aside, the graphics in Earthworm Jim 3D are really quite uninspiring. As has become custom with Earthworm Jim titles, bright colors are used excessively to create a cartoon feel. However, the level of detail is minimal. The textures are bland and the environments are far from stimulating. The characters found throughout the game are nicely animated and there is some nice light-sourcing effects, but it’s simply nowhere near the level that we’ve seen in other third person titles.

Outside of the camera keys, the controls in Earthworm Jim 3D are very easy to get the hang of. You can use either the keyboard or your gamepad to control Jim and there’s really only four keys you need to set, those being jump, duck, head-whip and firing keys. There are also a myriad of special moves you do by punching a combination of keys. Most will be familiar to Earthworm Jim gamers, including the helicopter jump, but there are also a few new moves available.

The game consists of four distinct locales in which you’ll have to solve puzzles, find and use a variety of items, kill enemies, and of course retrieve your marbles. What are enemies doing inside Jim’s brain? Remember, check your brain at the door. Most of the gameplay stays true to the original Earthworm Jim games, including getting your weapon power-ups from soda machines. There are a variety of weapons for each locale and some of the weapons even feature sniper mode. By clicking on the ‘point of view’ key, you enter the sniper’s mode. The downside to this mode, of course, is that you can’t actually move and fire at the same time. You have to fire, get out of sniper’s mode, move, then re-enter sniper’s mode. This little feature could have been better implemented. The locales are all quite original and humorous, including one where Earthworm Jim surfs on a pig while trying to defeat Psycrow, an evil boss who makes a return appearance.

Earthworm Jim’s latest adventure is a mixed bag. It’s made the leap to 3D and still manages to stay true to the cartoon style gameplay we’ve become accustomed too in previous Earthworm Jim titles. The audio remains clever and witty, the gameplay imaginative and creative, but the graphics are bland and uninspiring. There’s a lot of fun to be had in a game like this, but it all gets ruined by the horrendous camera angles. Unless you can master the use of the camera, especially during action sequences, you might want to leave old Earthworm Jim in his wormhole.

 

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Rating
69%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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