DIG DUG II, MAPPY-LAND, and Earthworm Jim 2 make up the odd trio of games coming to Nintendo Switch Online this month. DIG DUG II and MAPPY-LAND will join the NES library, while Earthworm Jim 2 joins the SNES section. Interestingly, all three games are sequels to titles that are not currently on the Nintendo Switch Online platform.
DIG DUG II is a choice that perhaps preservationists will celebrate. The decision to dump the original’s maze-based gameplay meant it failed to achieve anything approaching the same success or popularity. MAPPY-LAND is a game about mice on a quest to collect six target items while avoiding a gangster cat and his minions.
It’s Earthworm Jim 2 that is the real standout here.
Released in 1995, it is a bizarre game made by California studio Shiny Entertainment. The direct sequel to Earthworm Jim, and the last game in the series that its creators would work on, the game sees Jim trying to chase down the villain Psy-crow, who has once again kidnapped Princess Whats-Her-Name. It expands on the gameplay of the original game, with new weapons and a sidekick for Jim that lets him stick to certain surfaces.
☑️ DIG DUG II ☑️ MAPPY-LAND ☑️ Earthworm Jim 2 pic.twitter.com/qawCo7bWLm
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 31, 2022
One level turns Jim into a blind cave salamander and has him feel his way through a giant intestinal tract full of exploding sheep. This same level ends with Salamander Jim becoming trapped in a game show that features utterly logicless questions and answers. Another level features Jim’s head expanding like a balloon and the player guiding him gently upward as Evil the Cat attempts to deflate him.
When you complete each level, a short clip of cows in a field plays. The cows congratulate you. One of them smiles.
None of this is explained, in canon or out.
Though loose Earthworm Jim 2 cartridges appear to be relatively cheap and abundant, new copies of the game have become something of a prize for collectors. According to retro game resale tracker PriceCharting, a sealed, unopened SNES copy sold on eBay for as much as US$1,300 (or AU$1,731). An unopened Mega Drive copy is going on eBay right now for almost AU$3,900.
One wonders what its appearance on Nintendo Switch Online will do to those prices.