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31 Bonus Levels of Christmas
Earthworm Jim: "I'm a Rocket Man"
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 14, 2010   |   Episode 20 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Earthworm Jim: "I'm a Rocket Man"
[ Console: Genesis/Super NES | Year: 1994 | Grade: B ]

These flying levels are just some of the amazing bits worth experiencing in Earthworm Jim!
The Context: Earthworm Jim is not your typical super hero, which is perfect because this is not your typical action game. While it may look like Contra, this 16-bit classic features more character in just one level than all of Konami's shooters put together. Jim fights his way out of a garbage dump, battles a street fightin' trash cash, launches a cow, dodges brass instruments and kills several dogs. And that's just in the first level! Before the end of the game you'll travel to Hell, race through tubes and battle the evilest crow in all of video game history. Earthworm Jim also has a really exciting bonus stage.

The Rules: Between the stages, Jim will board his pocket-sized space scooter and participate in an exciting one-on-one race against Psi-Crowe. In this bonus stage players will need to weave

What ever happened to Dave Perry?
back and forth, picking up blue orbs and avoiding space debris. There are a couple of power-ups along the way, including a shield icon and a burst orb. The idea is to get to the end before your enemy, which shouldn't be too hard for anybody who has played a 3D racing game before.

The Verdict: On paper this bonus stage sounds suspiciously like the one in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. After all, in both games you speed forward picking up orbs and avoiding obstacles. But the change in perspective and style is enough to keep this

Fun Fact: These 3D bonus stages were not going to be included in the announced (but never released) PSP reboot!
level from being just another clone. The 3D effects are handled well and there's enough variety to keep these levels fresh from start to finish. I'm also not embarrassed to admit that I giggle like a school girl every time Jim proclaims that he's a "rocket man!" In my heart you are a rocket man, little buddy.

Completely Missing the Point: Actually, Mr. Earthworm Jim, you're NOT the rocket man. It turns out that Harland Williams is. Or, if you're a fan of British dramas, Robson Green is. Elton John would have you believe that the rocket man is some dude going to Mars working out the complex emotion that comes with leaving your family behind. There was an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent called Rocket Man, but I don't want that show. All of these people are rocket men, but not Jim. Instead he's the greatest thing to happen to worms since spaghetti.
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