When is a remake of a classic anything BUT a classic?
Earthworm Jim and Pifall: The Mayan Adventure were two titles released for Windows 95 that posessed a "zero-installation" feature. You just pop the CD into the drive, and Windows would start the game ... just like a console. It was a refreshing change, and as a result, the games were fairly sucessful on Windows; it was different playing a console game on the PC.
However, the games weren't terribly original, and the action was fairly simplistic. They just weren't very good games. Thus my surprise when I learned the games were both being ported to Game Boy Advance.
Earthworm Jim is a nearly perfect version of the game I played on Windows over five years ago, and still retains the same quirky humor of the original. But while Super Mario Bros 2 and F-Zero shine on GBA despite their age, Earthworm Jim is dull and lifeless.
The gameplay is simply dated and unoriginal, and the character has lost the adorability he once had. It's a faithful port, but when a game like SMB2 is ported and has additional gameplay features and modes, a near-perfect port is simply not enough. I say near-perfect because the sound has suffered a reduction in clarity, especially when played through the tinny mono speaker of the GBA. There is also a distinct reduction in animation frames, and some inexplicible slowdown when climbing up a ledge.
One small handy feature has been added, that of dimming the screen when you pause the game. Dimming the screen should help reduce battery drain when you have to take a break. And yet, even this feature is flawed, as the music still plays at full-volume while paused, where you'd expect the volume to drop as well.
Bottom line: the game just isn't fun. When the game was first released, it was a nice little romp with a new type of character, but it has aged poorly, losing any charm it might have had along the way. Even at half the price, I couldn't recommend it, and certainly not at $40.