#281 Worms

Posted: 5th December 2012 by Jeroen in Games
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199th played so far

Genre: Action/Strategy
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1995
Developer: Team17
Publisher: Ocean Software

Show me someone who had a PC between the years 1995-2001 and you will have someone that has played Worms or at least one of the franchise. It’s going to be pretty hard to write this since everyone who is interested in this blog (all five of you) will know this game by the back of their hand.


Our Thoughts

I earlier mentioned the PC specifically as a place to play Worms since I first came across this classic game on a port to the Playstation… a platform that this game is admittedly not entirely suited too.

The premise of this game is simple enough; worms have become sentient, been given access to a kick-ass arsenal and have declared war with other like-minded invertebrates in their patch of dirt. It would have to be a fairly experimental armoury since it includes the likes of a kamikaze headband and the infamous exploding sheep. Where do these battles take place? Scenic vistas like hell and alien worlds with goo lakes.

I’ve got many fond memories of this game. I know that’s is something we’d normally discuss in the introduction, but as it ties into some of the specifics of gameplay, I don’t mind bringing it up now. Despite its given genre, it’s one of those perfect party games – four of you gathered around the PC (that’s the best platform – mouse and full keyboard) shooting each other off the screen. Then there’s the ability to (in certain versions) create your own levels or have them be generated. It’s brilliant to play together.

The reasons for this are also partially the reason this game is so good. First, it has good, decent mechanics, easy to grasp, but with its own additional features. You see, first of all, it’s a simple fire and fall mechanic – the usual Newtonian curve. Then there’s wind included to throw you off, allowing for more spectacular shots… or failures.

Second, there’s a lovely variety of weapons. First in mechanics – bazooka as your main weapon usually, homing missiles for easier shots, shotguns for two closer shots,punches, cluster grenades and so on. More so, though, there’s the variety of wackier weapons. Most memorable is the exploding sheep (yeah, it hops around and can get stuck in bad places) and the banana bomb – a cluster grenade that’s a bit slippier.

Oh, and if you kill a worm, it blows itself up, leaving a gravestone. Had I mentioned that yet?

Third’s the strategy. Remember the levels? Not only do you have to deal with simple positioning, most explosions leave (fairly circular) craters that can be tricky to get out of, and always leave the battlefield a bit different. Second, you can use the landscape to good effect. Not just by hiding behind peaks and inside items, but you can also dig inside, getting past mountains or hiding away. In my previous days of playing, we loved the ninja rope, swinging from lump of earth to lump of earth, as well as the bungee cord, for a safe descent.

One thing that helped this game be set apart from others (although were there many games like this) is the fact that you could name your own teams. I can’t even begin to mention how many hours I spent on Worms and Worms 2 coming up with different teams and then enjoy the fact that this game keeps a league table of the number of wins as well as stats of the MVW (most valuable worm). The names of the team also reveal the British make of this game with one named after the member of Take That under the moniker of Take This. There are also references to ABBA and Thunderbirds which are enjoyable to say the least.

There’s also the shorter humour bits. Aside form the gravestones (somehow their bounciness is… fun) there are the sound effects (“INCOMING!” in a high squeaked voice. It’s funny when you hear it), comments, and even the default teams.

It’s not that special when you hear about it, but playing the game, it all works together for something fun… and occasionally frustrating. Brilliant enough, really.

Final Thoughts

Oh, I did love going back to this game. It had been some time, and had some good memories. And even now, despite the graphics not holding up, the game is as good – and difficult – as I remember it being. And yeah, even now it’s just great to sit around a PC and play together. Lovely.