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Earthworm Jim returns

Atari's picked up the rights.

It would seem that Atari has some spare change knocking around after selling off Timeshift and Stuntman to its rivals, since the troubled publisher has now picked up the rights to the Earthworm Jim franchise.

Atari is developing a range of games for "next-generation handheld and online systems", whatever they are, all based around the classic character. For those who can't remember a time when games weren't all about shooting pimps and doing drugs, Earthworm Jim first appeared on consoles back in the 1990s in a series of games that were generally great fun to play and managed to stay just the right side of wacky.

Atari's first Earthworm Jim game will be "a side-scrolling action-packed platform game set in a cartoon-like, humorous and challenging world." He's still battling against the Queen and her allies, and old friends Peter Puppy and Princess What's-Her-Name will make an appearance, too.

Expect lots of open plan levels, puzzles, power-ups and surreal environments, all presented in glorious 3D. Jim will have an expanded arsenal of combat moves at his disposal, and a two player mode is also promised. Atari has yet to announce a release date for the game.

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