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Lorenzen's Soil

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Jim's Electro-Gun, exclusive to this level, yet permanent and non-swappable. (Sega Genesis version of Earthworm Jim 2)

Lorenzen's Soil (a.k.a. Lorenzo's Soil in later ports of the game) is the second level in Earthworm Jim 2.

Description

This level and its use of game mechanics are notable for the revolutionary use of in-game physics at the time of Earthworm Jim 2's development.

In this level, Earthworm Jim is buried underneath the surface of the seismically-active Planet Burbank. With the Electro-Gun Jim can shoot the ceiling and walls of a type of dirt known as Lorenzen's Soil, not a type of soil belonging to somebody named Lorenzen, causing dirt to fall to the ground and pile up around him. This ability to move the soil around allows Jim to uncover buried collectible items, open up tunnels to new areas, and trap and bury enemies underneath it. The piled-up dirt also creates higher ground for Jim, enabling him to jump further upwards due to this advantage.

Jim is also timed on this level, and can refill his timer by picking up clock icons found throughout exploring the stage. There will be an earthquake if the timer runs out.

Enemies in this subterranean level includes ants and larva. Lorenzen's Soil culminates in a battle against the foreman of the mines, Pedro Pupa, a giant larva riding a unicycle.

Level development

Andy Astor, a Shiny Entertainment programmer who worked on Earthworm Jim 2, stated that his initial reaction to the request of creating the physics possible to form falling dirt around Jim in the Lorenzen's Soil stage was "You can't do that." However, he states that the development team pushed him to give it a "harder try", as shown in a Making of Earthworm Jim 2 television mini-documentary, featured in the British TV show Bad Influence!

Versions

Larvae

Sony PlayStation port

This level is missing entirely from the PC DOS version, likely due to the difficulty of porting the physics used in the game's engine.

The initial appearance of this level in the Sega Genesis version features a fully lit screen, while the Nintendo SNES and 32-bit versions added the effect of being covered in darkness, with a spotlight centered on Jim. The spotlight has transparency effects in the SNES version of the game, but appears to use dithering in the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation ports.

In the latter two mentioned ports, extra sprites and detailed background art is added, such as the skeletons buried in the soil and giant dinosaur fossils in the background. There are also safety signs displaying how many days have passed since there was last an accident in the mines.

Manual Description

Lorenzo's Soil

"Within the earthy soil of planet Burbank, Lorenzo larvae and twin evil ruler Pedro Pupa have staked an archaeological claim to what they think to be the lost temple of The Psy-Crow. Jim has followed Psy-Crow here and has been buried alive in the depths of the excavation site. Now the maggots of the underworld are throwing everything they can at him: babies, chairs, cups of really hot coffee, you name it. Jim must dig, dodge, and drill his way past these malevolent maggots to reach the surface soil...or eat dirt forever. You'd better hurry though, another earthquake is due to strike the planet at any time!"

ProTip: Always keep an eye on the timer in the corner. To keep the pesky ants from bothering you, it's best to keep them from even letting them out of their holes."[1]

Theme music

Earthworm Jim 2 (PS1) Soundtrack - Subterranean (Lorenzens Soil ISO 9001)05:40

Earthworm Jim 2 (PS1) Soundtrack - Subterranean (Lorenzens Soil ISO 9001)

"Subterranean"

Game music composer Tommy Tallarico's theme music to this level is called "Subterranean". It is an electric guitar-driven piece that culminates in a powerful ending.

"Subterranean" is also used as the music for a later level in the game, ISO 9000. In later ports "Subterranean" was not used as the music for ISO 9000, and ISO 9000 instead uses the granny theme.

Trivia

  • Though the manual titles this level Lorenzo's Soil, in-game, the Genesis version (which all ports of the game were derived from) titles the level Lorenzen's Soil. The name of the level is likely a pun on the title of the 1992 drama film Lorenzo's Oil.
  • The signs in the level say that the mines have gone without an earthquake, and subsequently without a cave-in, for 125 days.

References

  1. North American Earthworm Jim 2 Sega Genesis instruction manual

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