EARNEST EVANS / Wolfteam / Sega Genesis
 
 
Earnest Evans was the Japanime take on Indiana Jones from Wolf Team, the group that would later go on to do the "Tales" series for Namco. Technical kudos for experimenting with patching characters together from multiple sprites to give a sort of "ragdoll physics" effect to the game world not seen in platformers before '91, but at some point someone really should have noticed that it not only looks ugly in practice, but also severely hampers the gameplay.
 


This was the first of an obscure trilogy that includes El Viento and a Japan-only follow-up for Sega CD ... thankfully the later games dropped the "ragdoll" thing entirely to become more standard side-scrollers in the vein of Valis. Here, though, the guiding design philosophy seemed to be "Super Castlevania IV, but way less competent."
 


Earnest's jumping is a bit awkward, but the main issue is that the man simply cannot duck in place. With any pressure on the horizontal pad buttons, he'll creep forward to crawl under obstacles, but he also likes to unpredictably pitch face-first into a somersault that gets you in all sorts of trouble. He does this randomly in mid-air too, sometimes leading to him getting partially buried in rock (see final screenshot). That, and using the whip to attach to hooks and swing is needlessly finicky and weird.
 


The "ragdoll" nature also allows some enemies and obstacles to obnoxiously juggle you. In keeping with the Indy Jones theme, there's lots of environmental obstacles like spike traps and dropping boulders and etc. Some of these are impressive in a Treasure-like way, but when they hit you they also tend to launch you comically like you're in the Unreal Engine. Instead of a gruesome impaling a la Prince of Persia, the consequence for landing on some spikes here is to get launched 100 feet in the air like Wil. E Coyote blowing himself up.
 


This was actually initially designed for the Sega CD and then "downsized" to a cartridge version, so maybe the original is better with the extra horsepower ... after seeing the Retsupurae of it, however, maybe not so much.
 
 
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