ONM Remembered – #324

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 11:00 am Comments Off on ONM Remembered – #324

“… along with new weirdoes such as Rabbid the giant, scooter-riding rabbit who thinks he’s Norman Bates, and Claw Capaldi, the evil mobster lobster with a huge chip on his shoulder.”

from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 59 (August 1997)
(big ups to OldGameMags for the scans!)

Yikes, I can’t believe I’ve never seen this footage before – and I’m certain I had this issue! Needless to say, absolutely none of these environments show up in the final game, never mind appear in other early footage – not to mention talk of brand new opponents who, surprise surprise, never saw the light of day.

I know the Earthworm Jim franchise is already bizarre, but usually on a somewhat comprehendible level. A goldfish with delusions of power, a hellish torture realm backed by elevator muzak – concepts silly and outlandish, but on a level where you can say “I see the joke there.”
This, however? This whole page looks like a terrifying fever dream. From the outlandish architecture to the nonsensical textures – and let’s not forget the giant screaming drain pipe… this is like something out of my nightmares.

And I like it.

I’m a sucker for digital art, from pixels to polygons, but there’s something especially charming in the early days of 3D when there was an abundance of imagination and a dearth of hardware resources. Far-out concepts brought to life using the least polygons possible, and slathered in unflattering textures. That top image doesn’t look far off from something I’d find on an obscure cyberpunk art blog. The finished game has its fair share of insanity, sure, but nothing that made me breathlessly gasp to myself, “what the fuck am I looking at?” And I’m all the more saddened because of it.

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