Earthworm Jim seems like a pretty weird launch title for the GBA in 2001, given that it's a port of a SNES game from 1994. And given that I think it's a fairly awful game. I can't really remember - did people like this game in 1994? Did they like it in 2001?
I always associated Earthworm Jim with the sort of post-Ren & Stimpy era of games like Boogerman and the like. I mean, Jim himself is a pretty absurd creation. And the art style of his world is ran through a sort of sickly looking filter. Not that it's exactly gross-out humor or anything, but the color pallet alone just has a gross look to me. And stuff like catapulting cows has a definite juvenile feel for sure.
I could overlook all of this if the game was fun to play, but I honestly find it a total slog. The hit detection is wonky, and the movements feel off. Part of this is - I think - due to the desire to make the animations look really good. And they do. I'll give them that. But waiting for Jim to stop his shooting animation so he can actually dodge a projection is maddening. Dear Game Developers, please do give me function over form!
The levels do have some variety to them. For instance there are some sections where you fly on your little jet thing that SORT OF remind me of Tempest. But those are pretty boring. It's basically collecting blue bubble things while dodging some rocks. There are some sections that are just big boss battles... again, fairly boring. And again, it seems like the developers were trying to show off cool animations while sacrificing fun.
The real meat and potato levels are pure platforming with some running and gunning, but I HATE those levels because they're like stupid mazes that are made harder by the fact that the level design is so overly busy that it's hard to figure out what you can walk/jump on and what's just background. Eventually I found myself going in circles in the fourth or fifth level over and over again with no idea how to get out of there and just shut the game off. I'm all set.