Genre: Action Developer: Wolf Team Publisher: Renovation Players: 1 Released: 1991
Earnest Evans is the prequel to the classic El Viento and was released in 1991 by Wolf Team on both the Sega Genesis/Megadrive and the rather common Mega CD release (it was one of the first titles for the system after all), which was released only in Japan. From what I’ve gathered, the Mega CD release just adds a CD soundtrack along with some animated cut-scenes. Fortunately, unlike its sequel El Viento, this game is just a mess and should be avoided.
Since I’m a nice and lenient person when it comes to games, I’ll start with the good first. You’re cast as the famous archeologist Earnest Evans and you are looking around the world for some sort of book that will apparently stop the summoning of a powerful god named Hastur. The ending makes room for the sequel, which is usually a good thing. Here, I’m not too sure â€“ as the game was bad the first time around, but at least the sequel was improved. The story is just like its prequel, meaning Evans’s adventure is involving and told through some pretty decent cut scenes. It’s a shame the Mega CD release didn’t make it outside of Japan, because it’d be nice to see the animated story sequences. Apart from the story and added plot dynamics, the only other thing that’s good is the music, which is fitting to the game but won’t stick with you long after you finish the game.
There is also some great looking rotation used in some of the enemies and backgrounds. Wolf Team had a knack for pulling off some cool sprite effects when they wanted to, and while it doesn’t really add to the gameplay, it’s still some pretty cool eye candy.
Earnest Evans plays a lot like its sequel, which is somewhat of a good thing. The bad thing is that there is more bad than good.
The biggest problem lies in the movement, Earnest moves like a marionette, he even looks like one! To be specific, each of his limbs rotate much like a 3D model would using 3D graphics. However, being strictly 2D, Earnest looks more robotic than human. Some people hate it, I only like it from the programming aspect but it definitely looks out of place. The enemies have rotating limbs, but that’s okay, as most of the enemies you are going to face are not human anyway. The other big problem is the fact that at times Earnest will pose in ways that take unnecessary effort and time to reverse and might frustrate newcomers. I’s simple to overcome though. This problem is mostly caused by Earnests whip, which causes more trouble than it should.
Just like many other the other games in the genre, Earnest Evans lacks replay value, which is a good thing as I don’t want to play this game anymore. You’ll struggle to get through it and will be happy when it’s over. Not the hallmark of a good platformer to say the least, and something not typical of a Wolf Team release.
Earnest Evans had a lot of promise, but these technical and gameplay problems just ruined my enjoyment of the game. Thankfully, everything was almost fixed in the sequel. For some people, however, it was too little, too late. The game is rather cheap and somewhat common, so you can easily get it and judge it for yourself.