This paper investigates artificial neural network (ANN)-based simulators as an alternative to physics-based approaches for evolving controllers in simulation for a complex snake-like robot. Prior research has been limited to robots or controllers that are relatively simple. Benchmarks are performed in order to identify effective simulator topologies. Additionally, various controller evolution strategies are proposed, investigated and compared. Using ANN-based simulators for controller fitness estimation during controller evolution is demonstrated to be a viable approach for the high-dimensional problem specified in this work.