So what was wrong with the original Worms that needs fixing? Well, let's be honest, nothing. It was, still is, and probably always will be one of the most playable games ever. I've always wondered how Sting must feel when he writes a 'classic'. You know, songs like Every Breath You Take, or Message in a Bottle. I mean, what's it feel like to create something that will forever be referred to? Andy Davidson must know that now, because as sure as we forever refer back to Pacman, Galaga and Donkey Kong in our sad, retro-way, you can be sure that ten years from now (when my goatee is long and grey) we'll be quaffing space beer in a virtual reality pub recalling the 'good old days and Worms' (and won't it be funny when the retro-nostalgia compilation releases include titles like Worms and Gloom!)
Worms, can you say that you've never sat playing a game and said, "wouldn't it be AMAZING if you could drop weapons on people's heads while swinging over them!" or "I wish I had a bloody intelligent homing missile that could follow you down your bloody Dark Side tunnels!" Yes. I think we've all had our own little ideas during play, and so has Worm's author. Mr Davidson, because this release is really nothing more than a chance for him to put right some wrongs from the original, while also allowing him to add some new, more-bonkers weapons to the proceedings.
As far as the 'righting the wrongs' goes, it's nothing more than a few cosmetic corrections and some bug killing. Now when you tunnel or dig, you no longer leave nasty-looking gaps that give the impression that the cave really ought to, er... cave in. Oh no, now the landscape has two layers: so dig away, safe in the knowledge that all you'll do is uncover the 'inner background'. A silly little addition. I know, but one that does a lot for the presentation.
Other odds and sods have been included, again doing nothing more than making the game look nicer. Use the blow torch and a spray of dust will fly out the passageway behind you; call in an airstrike and the explosions will gout fire as well as devastate the landscape. That sort of thing.
The landscape creation has also evolved, with some new terrain types and a lot more control for the user. The most obvious addition to the proceedings is the new Graffiti mode, where the player can take control of the cursor and draw himself a custom level, complete with as many silly features as he wants. You can then assign a terrain type to your creation and sit back while the program fills in the gaps and makes everything pretty for you. Create a corker of a level and you can even save your baby to disk for use another day. Should you find the graffiti drawing too crude, you can import your own customised landscapes using a paint package such as DPaint. Following the well-explained guide supplied with the game (ie sizes and colour translations). And while we're on the subject of using levels over and over, you can now chose to play an entire match on the same landscape without repairing damage done in previous rounds. Needless to say, with four teams playing, by the last few round there are very few trees, bridges, and well... any landscape at all left really!
You can also set the worms to take unused weapons from round to round with them. This means that the strategy goes that one step forward, with players hoarding weapons for those all important last few rounds.
Young Mr Davidson has gone to town as far as player control goes, allowing the user to alter lust about every aspect of the game. As well as turning weapons on and off - as you could before - you can also chose to disable certain weapons until a set point in the game. If you always hated how much damage an early airstrike did to unorganised troops, simply disable it until, say, turn #3.
You can also alter the odds on which landscape will appear, upping the ratio of your favourites against your least favourites - or simply banning the ones you hate! Alter the sensitivity of mines, the damage each weapon inflicts, and even how many times you can fire off your new improved rope to Tarzan across the ceiling (ah, but I haven't mentioned that yet, have I!)
Oh yes, it's all change on the rope front. Apart from having a greater reach, a particularly splendid addition to this tool is that you can act out all your Spiderman fantasies. By pressing the space bar while swinging you send out another rope and 'Tarzan' across the terrain. Though you might not think this all that great, that's before I tell you about the new cavern levels. Yes, that's right, one out of every four levels (unless you change the default) is a cave level that has a complete roof. This means that, not only do you have to be more careful with arcing weapons, but the rope takes over as the most important thing ever! Oh, and did I mention that you can now drop a stick of dynamite while swinging over somebody? Yes,I think you're beginning to get the idea now!
So much more
Well to be honest there's chock-loads more, but there's more fun to be had finding all of the new touches by playing the game than just reading some fool go on and on about it, but I think you can see that, while this is an exercise in improving an already great product, it's also a chance to let your hair down and just have a good laugh. Come up against some dead-serious player who's perfected his bazooka shooting and you can simply send an old woman his way (I kid you not) or perhaps order a herd of mad cows to attack. And the best thing about all these crazy weapons is that they're not just dumped in your lap, you have to search for them and, after each match, you'll be given a code that allows you to keep what you've found when you come to play next time - searching for the new toys as you go. Now it's not just brilliant fun, it's progressive brilliant fun. This is truly classic stuff.
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