Whether you're new to the Worms concept, or an addict returning for another fix of pink fighting worm action, you'll love Worms Armageddon.
As in the previous versions of the Worms games, this third episode in the series follows the same form of gameplay; you control a platoon of very individual combat Worm soldiers that does battle with other teams of little Worms. This time around, they've returned with improved and even more ingenious weapons, better manoeuvrability and enhanced game controls.
The game opens with cute graphics and a catchy upbeat soundtrack, with revamped menu and option screens much improved on previous incarnations. The basic weaponry allocated to your wriggling teams remains the same; controlled nuclear bombs, shotguns, hand grenades, rifles, homing missiles and even fisticuffs. This time around, your arsenal has been widened to include Killer Sheep (that explode on impact), Maniac Grannies (detonating Salvation Army old women), a flame thrower, dual purpose longbow, chemical weapons, the Viking Axe (which lets you chop only half of your opponent's life away) and The Lingering Fire, which surrounds your opponents with a wall of flame for several rounds.
In this game, you can play against the computer, take on a friend one on one, or play someone else across a network or the Internet (known as WormNet). If you are really serious, you can undertake a series of training missions to become a supreme Worms commando before you actually start playing for, erm, real.
An improvement on previous Worms games is the large array of new sound schemes. A number of English-style sound effects are selectable, 18 speech soundbanks in all, including various voiceovers from London, Caribbean and Scottish characters. There is even an option to record your own voiceovers and detail your own landscapes.
Be advised that this game is very, very addictive...
Graphics: Colorful and simplistic, yet effective
Sound: Impressive use of voices and sound effects
Enjoyment: Fun and unexpected surprises each time you play
Replay Value: Different missions and combinations of soldiers ensure addictive repeatability
Team 17, eager to capitalize on the cult hit that is Worms, has decided to release the newest Worms game in the "if it ain't broke" mentality. This game is definitely not "broke", but I still think this shouldn't be billed (and charged to customers) as a new game...
The graphics in this game are cute and cartoony. Period. The worms are present in big, bright, rich colours, and are animated quite well. The backgrounds are decently varied, and are also bright and colourful, except it is very difficult to discern the foreground from the background. Sometimes I've been walking and run into what I thought was the background, but in actuality was very much a part of the playing field. It can ruin a good plan sometimes, and it's quite frustrating. The weapons, explosions, deaths etc are all rendered with cartoony fun. Even the graves and crates bob around like they're dancing to some happy pop music. Unfortunately, if you are expecting ANY, and I repeat ANY graphical improvement over Worms 2, you will be disappointed. If I said the word cartoony too frequently, it's only because that is the single best word to describe the game's graphics.
The menus are decently laid out, but the oversized icons aren't very intuitive, and you have to move your mouse over each of them to find out what actually means. It's not a big deal, but it could have been done a bit better. Video options are restricted to 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, the only difference being the size of the viewable playing field. I opted for 800x600 because the worms are small enough at 640x480, at 1024x768 they are still quite viewable, but are slightly too small.
The biggest addition from Worms 2 is probably in the sound department. There are dozens of sound schemes that are included with the game, allowing for a diverse range of worm sounds. Unfortunately, the downside of having so many sound schemes is that there is a rather limited number of comments in each sound scheme, and you tend to hear the same exclamations at least a few times every game. The explosions sounds quite good, as do the high pitched cries of pain of the worms. Mwahahahahaha, how I like to make those little wormies squeal!! Ok enough of that. Sorry. As per Worms 2 (which is why the huge number of included sound schemes isn't so amazing), you can download and create custom sound schemes from any .wav, meaning you can hear your high pitched squeals and exclamations when you play. It's a neat feature, but it was in Worms 2. Notice how I'm driving in the similarities to Worms 2 with a sledgehammer.
Worms is, and always will be, a multiplayer game. It has amazing potential for strategies, tactics, and styles of play, simply because of the huge arsenal given to you. This has become a cult favorite in my residence dorm, as well as one of my friend's dorms. Getting together and playing this game around a computer with a bunch of friends is a lot of fun, a lot more fun than playing by yourself over the internet. The weapons all have unique strategies, and I find new ways to use old weapons every time I play. Probably the greatest thing about Worms Armageddon is, like Worms and Worms 2, you will never play the same match twice. Nor will you play even remotely the same match twice. Randomly generated maps make for new choices every time, and human randomness make for some of the best deathmatching around. Team 17 noted this and provided us with a few new weapons to add to our strategies. They all incorporate very well with the Worms gameplay, and add some fun new twists to playing this game.
Team 17 also realized that people do actually play single player, and also realized that single player is more than playing deathmatch against a computer. Yes, Worms Armageddon has single player missions! Now, realize they are just deathmatches with specific objectives that go above and beyond annihilating the opposition, but they still add some single player fun to the Worms world. I personally feel single player should be a last resort if you can't find anybody to play multiplayer with though, since you miss about 99% of the Worms charm playing by yourself.
One of the coolest features is the customability of this game. You can fully create your own levels, create your own sound schemes, edit the weapons, etc. This game is very tweakable and lends itself to playing around with the options until you find what is best for YOU. The editors are quite easy to use, I didn't spend much time with them because I'm a busy guy, but I'm sure there's a lot of substance to it. Adds a lot of replay value.
Worms scores top points here. It is, by far, the most fun multiplayer around. By fun I don't mean gibbing satisfaction, but I mean yelling screaming party-esque fun. Of course you can only get the yelling and screaming part if you're playing with friends..unless you're really enthusiastic and loud when you're by yourself. The cartoon violence and amazingly impressive shots, strategies, explosions etc are all totally condusive to having a good time while playing this game. Any game where you can spend 3 hours straight playing with friends definitely deserves to be called fun.
This game is basically all multiplay. All the options are supported, LAN, TCP/IP, and simultaneous on one computer (best fun). I kind of wish modem play was still included in most games, I don't see why it needed to be taken out, I'm sure it's not that difficult to implement. Oh well, that's just me bitching. Internet games must be played through WormNet, a spinoff of Battle.net and Bungie.net and all those other networks of games. I was unable to test the Internet play, but judging by Worms 2, and since this game is soooooooo similar to Worms 2, the play is smooth and basically lag-free. This game shines when you play against humans.
Although I really like this game, I also really liked Worms 2 and notice no real difference other than a few weapons, new single player missions, and more sound schemes. This is a good game to get if you don't already have Worms 2. If you have Worms 2, there is not enough here to justify plunking down more of your hard earned cash. It kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth, knowing this game was just released to suck any money left in the Worms market, not to genuinely improve on a good idea. The whole thing made me kind of bitter, but this is a really good game...just not a really improved product.
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