Anti-Climax Boss: It's possible to kill the Final Boss in one hit with the whip. The HD version even encourages this! And even if you don't, it's still easy to stun-lock her to death with your gun if you have enough bullets (which the level provides more than enough of just before.)
The song that plays during the first section of Buttville and the second phase of the Stage 5 boss battle fits the intensity of both areas perfectly, and is just catchy overall. The version on the Special Edition, "Falling" adds a nice guitar solo courtesy of Tommy Tallarico.
Bizarro Episode: Despite the franchise as a whole being bizarre and running on ridiculous premises, the "Villi People" level stands out as the most nonsensical of the bunch: It consists of controlling a pink salamander as it flies through a maze-like digestive system, avoiding pinball bumper pads to reach specific platforms, where you must then answer questions for a quiz show.
Breather Boss: Bob the Goldfish is the easiest boss in the first game. All the player has to do to defeat him is tip his bowl over and leave him flopping on the ground.
Broken Base: The quality of the HD remake is hotly debated among fans. On the one hand, it contains many improvements over the 16-bit originals: the graphics are crisper, the game autosaves after each level (the 16 bit versions used password saves), weapon swapping is much easier, and the game has more difficulty settings (although playing on the "Original" difficulty - the hardest of them all - gets you the Golden Ending). On the other hand, it's missing the bonus level "Who Turned Out The Lights?", it uses a new voice actor for Jim, and (as Doug TenNapel himself pointed out) the animation is more rigid.
Common Knowledge: Contrary to popular belief, Tommy Tallarico didn't compose the music for the first Earthworm Jim game; that was done by Mark Miller of Nu Romantic Productions. However, Tallarico did re-arrange tracks and create a few new ones for the Special Edition re-release on Sega CD and composed nearly all the tracks for the second game.
Contested Sequel: While on its own people widely agree the second game is still first-rate and absolutely worth a play, there doesn't seem to be agreement on whether it's better than the first. The Sequel Difficulty Drop was generally agreed as much-needed and the ramping up of the comedy is widely praised, but the shift into Gameplay Roulette (only three of the game's nine stages are traditional platforming fare) and the more frustrating Psycrow interlude stage are often points of contention. Averted entirely with the third game, which everyone agrees was a complete flop.
Fanon Discontinuity: Earthworm Jim 3D and Menace 2 the Galaxy are subject to this, due to being made without the involvement of the original team.
From the world made out of boogers, the creatures made out of boogers and the booger-lake of "Snot A Problem" to the insides of a sapient intestine "Intestinal Distress" to Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, who has nearly an entire stage devoted to its huge, putrid glory, the series is notorious for grossing people out, primarily on purpose.
Chuck, the final boss of New Junk City. His primary method of defense is puking fish he Swallowed Whole.
At the end of every level in the second game, a cow tells the player "Well done". But this is a rather realistic image of a cow, which could be quite frightening.
Polished Port: The Sega CD and Windows 95 versions of the game are often considered the definitive versions, with a new CD audio score, extra levels (New Junk City Part 2 and Big Bruty), and some other neat enhancements. The Windows 95 version in particular deserves special mention, with a new save feature that allows you to skip to any level you want at any time and enhanced graphics over the Sega CD one. Either way, both versions provide the definitive and full experience that you won't find on any other versions of the game.
Porting Disaster: The Game Boy Advance version of Earthworm Jim 1, lovingly made by Majesco. The game's graphics basically still look as good as they should, but many of its animations are either extremely too slow or missing altogether, many of its sound effects (especially the "Jim firing his machine gun" sound effect) are either laughably bad or missing altogether, Andy Asteroids looks awful, and the game itself becomes a glitchy mess. Also, its soundtrack becomes a horribly distorted version of an already weak version of itself (the SNES version).
The GBA port that Earthworm Jim 2 got is easily just as bad as the original's, if not worse. It has most of the same problems and fixes very few of the previous port's, and it even has its own fair share of problems as well. The graphics are slightly better than those of the previous port, but many sprite animations are still cut out of the game. The 3D-ish floor in the level "Puppy Love" is glitched up, and the music still sounds like a horribly distorted version of the SNES version's but with parts of the songs cut out. This port is also widely known for its incredibly broken password system that literally loads a game where you instantly die for no reason.
The Genesis version of 2 does not let you change weapons, unlike all other versions. Not even if you use a 6-button controller.
3D has a laundry list of these:
Being unable to tilt the camera up and down. When rotating already is the source of a ton of Camera Screw, it doesn't help at all that you can't even get a decent view of a platform you need to land on. This becomes especially obvious in one level that has an entire section dedicated to vertically ascending jumps!
You cannot change your weapon. Not only is this a basic feature that even the second game had (on the non-Genesis versions, anyway), it becomes extremely annoying when you just want to save ammo on a specific weapon you may need later but can't.
The marble Collection Sidequest could have been a fun detour were it not for the fact that they are record based. This means if you die before you reach specific (invisible!) checkpoints, you lose every marble you've collected up to that point, and getting a Game Over or exiting the level will guarantee that you have to do it all over again from scratch.
The pig-surfing in the boss fights. Horrible steering controls, inconsistent acceleration and deceleration, and very strict hit detection will guarantee a very rough time. And this mechanic is used on every boss in the game!
The bubble gun from the second game is a very much intentional example. See Joke Item on the main page.
For an example that isn't enforced, the laser from "Are You Hungry Tonite?" in 3D is one of the worst weapons in the game, which is mandatory to use on this level. It only carries six bullets at a time, has a slow recharge rate, and while the bullets can travel for infinite distances, this is rendered nearly completely moot by the fact that the bullets travel at the speed of molasses. Considering the enemies that you are up against can shield against your attacks and move around, this does not make for a fun time.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: Compared to the first game, Earthworm Jim 2 has a lot fewer instant death traps (generally just bottomless pits, and even those are rare in 2), easier bosses, and generally less frustrating levels.
Big Bruty. You have to guide yourself through the level while avoiding the eponymous Bruty - who's also invincible - lest you watch Jim getting chewed on big Bruty (which is instant death). The level itself isn't too bad, but some segments will kill a player going through this level for the first time. Thank goodness its only on the Sega CD and Windows 95 versions of the game!
For Pete's Sake involves escorting your dog, Pete, out of harm's way, lest you get attacked by him in his berserk state, resetting quite a bit of your progress in the process.
Buttville. It starts with you have to helicopter down a branching shaft of thorns.
From the second game:
Villi People has you slowly flying across the level where walls will damage you and bounce you off. Not bad? Part of the level is in a very narrow corridor, so touching a wall will bounce you into another wall and then to another wall... Not to mention the bumpers which can pinball you everywhere, especially into a wall.
The Flyin' King. It's not too difficult but instead tedious, you have to carefully guide a floating bomb to make the boss spawn and finish the level, but since there are tons of enemies to deal with you might shoot the damn thing by accident. Either you go ahead and clear out all enemies and guide the bomb to the end of the level (which requires two trips) or guide the bomb while handling enemies (which is harder than it sounds). In any case the level is nothing short of frustrating.
Puppy Love levels of the second game tend to be very annoying and there are three of them with each being progressively more difficult. In these levels, Jim must transport Pete's puppies to safety by bouncing them on a giant marshmallow; if he fails to catch three of them, Pete goes ballistic and delivers a high-damage beatdown before resuming the level. In the third such level, there are so many pups flying through the air that a single missed step can trigger Pete's rage.
Earthworm Jim 3D:
"Are You Hungry Tonite?" is a huge slog for several reasons. First off, you're stuck with the laser gun mentioned in Scrappy Weapon above. As if that weren't enough, the level also has multiple sections that are guaranteed to frustrate you — one of which is a slow, boring, and lame Escort mission that will have you begging for "For Pete's Sake" to come back due to how unengaging it is (and it has no checkpoints either, so any death on it means redoing it from the beginning), and the other is a vertical section where you have to pick up cans of baked beans to fart-rocket your way up. The problem not only comes in the fact that some jumps are near impossible to make because the gaps were made a little too wide, as mentioned in Scrappy Mechanic you cannot tilt the camera up and down in this game, requiring you to make a ton of blind guesses as to where the platforms you need to land on are.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The plot of Earthworm Jim 3D about the Journey to the Center of the Mind is a brilliant concept that has limitless potential, but it's all completely thrown out over the fact that the different areas of the mind are represented in extremely bare-bones Video Game Settings that don't play with the concept at all (like how the first world is a very simplistic barn themed stage with some war zone elements and the second is vaguely themed around fast food). It seems like it was used more as an excuse for what the game's hub world would be represented by rather than an actual plot element.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Earthworm Jim HD. The original Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2 are no slouch either, with artwork so detailed and animations so fluid that they could easily pass for indie games released twenty years later.
Ass Pull: Played for Laughs when Johnny Dactyl saves Jim and Peter Puppy from Queen Slug-For-A-Butt's henchmen. He is a character who has never been mentioned before. To top it all off, that was his only appearance.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The second act of every episode starts with a short sketch that has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot (such as Professor-Monkey-for-A-Head in therapy or Psycrow trying out a new career after becoming bored with being a villain). After it plays out, the narrator will announce that it's time to get back to the story.
Continuity Lock-Out: Whenever they run into Walter, Jim refers to him as his old prison buddy and Walter calls Jim "Floss" with no further explanation, which may confuse viewers who didn't see the episode "Conqueror Worm".
Cult Classic: The show never hit very high ratings and doesn't tend to be the first thing that comes to mind when recounting the Kids' WB lineup, but those who have seen it agree that it's not only one of the best shows to be based on a video game, it's hilarious in its own right and retains all of the surrealist humor of the video games flawlessly.
Harsher in Hindsight: In "Peanut Of The Apes", Jim admits he's worried the show might get cancelled if they don't get the ratings up. There were only 3 more episodes before the show really was cancelled.
Moment of Awesome: The end of "The Egg Beater." After Jim fought them in separate battles throughout the episode, his usual enemies get together to eliminate him. That's seven (eight if you count the monkey) enemies (the Queen, Psy-Crow, the Professor, Evil and Henchrat, and Bob and Number 4), as well as a stressed-out, transformed Peter Puppy to worry about. In the ensuing battle royale, Jim either outsmarts or outright Curb Stomps them all before a more prolonged battle with the Queen that sees her beaten. And he keeps count of his victories in the process!
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Peter Puppy goes from being the cause of the most agonizing levels in the first two games to being a genuinely likable sidekick to Jim and serving as the voice of reason to his dimwitted nature.
Moment of Awesome: At the end of the first issue of the 1995 mini-series, Jim has just learned that his beloved Princess What's-Her-Name is going to be wed to Bob the Killer Goldfish. He races out of Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's lab to go to her rescue...and then screeches to a halt and goes back. Because he just remembered that he made a promise to a heartbroken Peter Puppy earlier that he'd save Peter and the other victims in the Professor's dungeon, and Jim keeps his promises! He tears the doors to the prison down with his bare hands and sets all of the Professor's victims free, inspiring Peter so much that he immediately volunteers to come along with Jim and help him rescue the Princess.