Earnest Evans is a strange game. The first version of it, which was a Japanese Mega CD exclusive, was released in 1991. It was presumably in development at the same time as El Viento, but it ended up being the second game to be released in the series, despite being the first chronologically. The game was one of the first titles around for SEGA's Mega CD console, but it most likely didn't leave a very good impression with buyers for what the system was capable of.

The game's big feature was how it created character sprites. For example, Earnest's sprite is actually several separate sprites all joined together, which is also the case for for some of the enemies in the game. Unfortunately, this animation style doesn't work well in this game, with Earnest's ragdoll movements looking unintentionally hilarious. A developer interview with Wolf Team in volume 1, issue 2 of Game Fan revealed that the team had purchased a G.I. Joe doll and "studied its movements" for inspiration. Whilst the sprite technique used in Earnest Evans looks silly, it would at least be used to much better effect in games such as X-Men: Children of the Atom.

Getting over the odd sprites, there's lots of other problems. The main one being that if Earnest comes into contact with an enemy or obstacle, his life drains rapidly with no invincibility time after taking a hit. The game tends to lag a lot, even when there aren't that many things on the screen -this can lead to the controls becoming unresponsive, especially for jumping. Most of the levels are really short, especially towards the end of the game.

The cartridge version, which came out around a year after the CD version, was only released in the USA. It's practically the same game as the CD version, but the cutscenes have been taken out, and replaced with nothing. This means the game is much shorter, as with the cutscenes gone, the average gamer should be able to complete it under 25 minutes. Reviews at the time were middling to negative, and this game sadly started Wolf Team's slump, something that the company never recovered from.

El Viento had some problems, but was a decent game. So how Earnest Evans turned out so badly is anyone's guess. If there is one positive thing I have to to say about it, it's the music -Motoi Sakuraba's score for the CD version has some good tracks, and he'd do the music for the other games in the series, before moving on to bigger and better things.

The story for the CD version takes place in the year 1926, two years before El Viento. Treasure hunter Earnest Evans heads to Mexico looking for a Coatlicue statue, but soon find himself caught up in a sinister plot to summon the dreaded Hastur, an evil God. With Al Capone's gang involved and the Hastur Cult also determined to bring their master to Earth, Earnest's hopes are in a young Priestess who may be able to seal Hastur away. He's got to help her!

The American cartridge version has a completely different story, which is only revealed in the game's instruction manual. In the cart version, you are playing as the grandson of Earnest Evans...who is also called Earnest Evans. The story takes place in the 1980s, and has Grandpa Earnest send his grandson on a quest to gather three sacred idols before Brady Tresidder and his gang of crooks get their hands on them. Why? Because these idols can summon an evil God called Mavur, who is Hastur's counterpart.