New intellectual properties (IP) are hard to get off the ground, this has been true for most of human consumer history. What do you do when you have a hit though and there are multiple platforms to available? You make a special edition that features extras not in other versions. Movie buffs know this as the “Director’s Cut” while gamers are used to seeing “Special Edition” or “Collector’s Edition”. That is exactly what we have with the latest game to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Earthworm Jim Special Edition for Sega CD.
For those that do not know Earthworm Jim, it is a 2D side scrolling action adventure title created by Shiny Entertainment. Shiny Entertainment was headed by David Perry who was instrumental in the creation of Aladdin for the Sega Genesis. The man knows his stuff. Earthworm Jim takes off with gamers, probably because it was completely different compared to what was available from other companies, partly due to marketing (see video below).
This game features some additions that were not featured in the cartridge versions. Some of the graphics are improved and most of the levels have some slight editing to make them longer or more interesting. The music, of course, is much improved over the cartridge versions also. Then there is that whole new level…
Earthworm Jim Special Edition for the Sega CD is similar to Mickey Mania on the Sega CD. There is an additional, exclusive, level in the Sega CD version that adds even more value to this version. Titled “Big Bruty”, you are tasked with avoiding a huge red looking four legged creature that has extremely poor eyesight. Big Bruty only takes action when he smells you. That means you have to get in close, too close for comfort, to get him to chase you. Why do you want Big Bruty to chase you? You need him to advance in the level, Big Bruty is like your Artificial Intelligence controlled player #2, which just happens to want to eat you. Big Bruty’s level is a co-operative level with a pissed off creature. How is that for a unique, exclusive, level?
Earthworm Jim Special Edition was the last real action/adventure game in the series. The following release on newer consoles were less than stellar and most gamers avoided them, rightfully so. There were HD remakes eventually released on Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade that are worth playing though. Just stay away from the 3D attempts.
Earthworm Jim (regular edition) is available on many platforms:
Nintendo Game Boy (very different)
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (flogged by gamers)
Playstation Network (HD Remake)
Sega Game Gear (Color version of Game Boy release)
Sega Genesis cartridge (also on DS/3DS Virtual Console)
Sega Master System (Brazil only release)
Super Nintendo cartridge (also on Wii/Wii U Virtual Console)
Xbox Live Arcade (HD Remake)