XBLA Review: Earthworm Jim HD

Earthworm Jim’s back in this groovy HD remake…

Ah, Earthworm Jim. Perhaps one of the greatest games on the Mega Drive (Genesis for you Americans) but damn, it was difficult. I’ve always wanted to go back and finish it once and for all, so I finally got my wish granted when the HD remake hit XBLA a few weeks ago. But is it still as good as it was back then?

Of course it is. Despite some rather insane achievements that make me want to kill the team who came up with them, Earthworm Jim HD is still as fun as it ever was. Launching cows, racing Psycrow down a vortex, using your head as a whip and all the other classic moments that we enjoyed back then are still intact but look crisper thanks to the work of the guys at Gameloft. Even the classic “Groovy” picture of Earthworm Jim pops up after every level.

But this isn’t just a standard remake. Gameloft have also added new content including new levels and a co-op mode for 4 players. There’s also avatar and gamerpic unlockables, I personally have Earthworm Jim’s suit on my Avatar right now. If you missed the original game, then it’s basically a platformer with a difference. I really hope that Gameloft decide to remake Earthworm Jim 2 next, that would be really sweet.

The controls are solid and the levels are nice and varied. If there’s one complaint it’s that the game is still insanely difficult at certain points, especially on the Original difficulty. I really don’t know how anyone expects you to complete the game in less than 50 minutes on Original or go through Original without losing a single life, but someone at Gameloft has a very sick sense of humour! I guess with practise and dedication, it might be possible…but I know I will never be able to.

The HD visuals are nice, but the game doesn’t lose its old charm as a result. They could have made the game almost 2.5D like New Super Mario Bros, but chose not to. I’m glad they didn’t or it wouldn’t have been the same. The soundtrack is still as catchy as it was back in the day and the sound effects are still classic.

The Verdict

Earthworm Jim HD is difficult as it ever was, but it doesn’t stop it from being highly enjoyable and crazy. It’s a classic game that a new generation can now appreciate thanks to Gameloft. So suit up and get groovy with the worm once more!