Worms is one of those rare games that steps past all of the high profile multimedia fluff and concentrates on delivering what gamers really thirst for - an entertaining play session. Everything about this title, from its "kill everything that moves" concept to its arrow key control, is designed with simplicity and entertainment in mind.
Like the board game Othello, Worms takes only a few minutes to learn, but may take a lifetime to master. Players take turns (up to 16 can play) moving a small worm around a randomly generated landscape and using a nasty weapon set that includes bazookas, shotguns, and fragmentation grenades (my personal favorite). More than just a simple shoot-'em-up, Worms requires players to develop a delicate touch when choosing the best angle and force to fire weapons (this is the lifetime-to-master bit). You'll also have to design complex strategies using the game's non-lethal options - digging tunnels, building girders, and teleporting. The more time players invest in the game, the more subtleties they'll discover... and the more adept they'll become.
Even though Worms isn't the most technologically advanced title, the graphics and sound create a fantastic atmosphere. Rendered cutscenes are humorous enough to keep players interested, and short enough that they're never boring. Sound effects are equally impressive, featuring loads of Lemmings-like speech that makes killing your opponent very satisfying. The end product is a perfect example of how much programmers can achieve with a small budget. This unselfish game will even run on a 386 with 4 megs of RAM.
Worms does have its drawbacks. Since the game is turn-based, a large multi-player game can take what seems like ages to play, and the game's keyboard interface often makes it hard to achieve subtle changes in weapon angle and shot velocity. All in all, though, Worms is an inexpensive game that offers an exciting strategy competition, a lot of laughs, and fantastic replay value.
Ten years ago or more, there was a game called Artillery which consisted of two players destroying each other's castle while firing over one or more mountains. The graphics for the mountains were made up of a continuous line and was nothing special. To hit your opponent you had to fire your weapon by setting the trajectory's angle, firing power, and take into consideration any wind that may be blowing. The game was simple and yet fun to play. Team 17 has taken the game's concept and spruced it up with Lemmings style graphics supplying us with a new game called Worms.
In Worms, the concept of the game remains the same, however instead of having a castle to demolish and protect, you'll have teams of four worms to exterminate. Up to sixteen players can play using four teams of four worms each. Playing is turned based allowing each worm to make their move and bombard their opponent with one of the 14 different weapons. This continues until all except one team of worms is left standing and is declared the winner. To win a match you'll require two wins, which often involves playing the game two or three times. This, however, can be changed in the options menu. At the end of each match the Worm Rankings will be displayed showing who was the Best Shot, Most Violent, Worm of the Match, and Most Useless.
The game options will allow you to customize the game to how you want it. You can change the Move Time (default is 60 seconds for a player to make their move) from 10 second to unlimited; the number of rounds required to win between one or two; round Time from 5 mins to infinite, and once the round time is up, the worms play "Sudden Death", which sets all the remaining worms' life points to 1; Worm Placing between random or in groups; number of land mines from one to eight; automatic action replay on or off which will replay the good wipe out shots that are performed or that win the game; and many others options. You'll also be able to set how many items of each weapon players should have and whether they have an unlimited supply or not.
At the beginning of each match, an animated 3D scene of the worms will be shown. The worms are much larger in these animations, and will give you a sense of how the worms are treating each other out there on those landscapes. The animated sequences are also not very detailed, but the scenes are funny to watch. You will see a worm receiving a grenade in his hand and trying to pass it on to the worm next to him before it's too late. As you can guess, the grenade goes off in their hands.
Each worm has a certain amount of life points that must be eliminated to kill them off, unless they fall into the water or off the screen which will also kill them. The default setting is 100 life points, but you can change this to be anything between 75-500. The more points a worm has, the harder it will be to eliminate them. This is extremely useful when playing an advanced player against a novice player. If the game is too easy for the advanced player, the game can be set up to make it easier for the novice person to kill off the advanced players worms, and the novice player's worms can be much harder to kill. When playing against the computer, you'll also be able to set the computers skill to good, ok, and poor.
All worm movements are done with the arrow keys on the keyboard as well as jumping and shooting your weapon. The mouse is used to scroll around on the screen and to select targets.
The weapons at your disposal range from a shotgun, fire punch, and bazooka, to airstrikes, cluster bombs and exploding sheep. Selecting the angle for which you will fire your weapon, taking the wind's speed and direction into consideration, and holding down the space bar until your desired power level for projecting your shot is reached is how the majority of your weapons are used. Other weapons such as dynamite and landmines are utilized by dropping them near your opponent and then running for your life. This can be dangerous if you happen to make a wrong move and end up being too close to the explosion when it happens, otherwise it can be very effective. Some weapons such as homing missiles are limited and can only be replenished through the random weapon delivery air drops. These appear as wooden crates and can only be pick up by the current player. Inside you'll find extra weapons such as banana bombs, sheep, dynamite, etc.
A diverse set of randomly generated landscapes are available to choose from with over four billion possibilities. Ten different terrains are obtainable: Arctic, Hades/Hell, Forest, Mars, Desert, Candy, Alien, Tropics/Jungle, Junk/Scrapyard, and Beach. Some of them are slippery, have low gravitational fields, and are all covered with landmines. The landscapes are made up of islands with very dangerous cliffs often with water, fire, or even chocolate surrounding them. Sometimes a bridge will join two islands together, and many unusual objects will be found scattered throughout the land. Each different landscape comes with its own code for future reference so that it can easily be recalled. You can also type in names and words that will always produce the same landscape for that name or word.
The 2D side-scrolling graphics of the game are wide, but nothing exceptional and do not contain very many details. There are two or three scenery backgrounds in the distance that provide a feel of distance perception. The worms themselves are very small little pink creatures holding the weapon you have chosen. They will sometimes wear a construction hat when you tell them to build something, or pull out their communicator for transporting.
Besides all the weapons you have at your disposal, your worms can jump, bungee jump, climb using a Ninja Rope, dig tunnels with the blowtorch or drill, build bridges with the girders, and even teleport with your communicator. Building tunnels can provide for nice hiding places, but be careful as your enemy can always drop a stick of dynamite down your tunnel or even send exploding sheep in after you. Exploding sheep will run towards your enemy and detonate at your command.
There are many sound effects within the game for all the different types of weapons and explosions. The whistling of a airstrike, the cry from Hades, or an evil laugh are just some of the sounds you'll hear. The worms will also speak to you in a very high pitched voice (because they are so small). For instance, when they succeed in shooting someone, you may hear either "I got him" or "revenge". When someone is being attacked they'll say things like "You'll regret that" and "just you wait". If you do something stupid to worm, like blow up your worm, it will call you "stupid". All the sound effect are very well done. Music is played off the CD and furnishes a gloomy atmosphere where you can feel that your worm's life is in danger.
The game was originally released without modem or network play. However, a patch has been released that allows just that. Players will now be able to fight against their friends from across town or around the world.
Worms is a very addicting game where bombarding your opponent is your main goal. I would think that anyhow who has enjoyed the Lemmings games from Psygnosis would certainly like playing worms.
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