Like the majority of her infuriatingly sensible sex, my girlfriend isn't into games. Nevertheless, every now and again she stumbles across one she likes... then plays it so much I start to detest the sight and sound of it.
For some inexplicable reason, she once became helplessly enchanted with Toe Jam And Earl on the Megadrive, and would force me to play it with her, from start to finish, for days on end, wailing like a wounded dog whenever I tried to get up and go for a piss or something. Mario Kart on the SNES and GoldenEye on the N64 became similar obsessions - but she's never grown to love a PC game. Until Worms Armageddon turned up, that is. Getting this review written has proven difficult because she just won't stop playing the damn thing. I've had to wait till she's asleep, and if I type too loud she'll probably get up and demand another go. It's like living with a drug addict or something.
Oh Maggot, They Killed Kenny
If you're not familiar with the Worms phenomenon, it's a deceptively simple game in which two or more teams of cute cartoon maggots fire weapons at each other in an attempt to wipe out the opposing team. It's turn-based; that is, first you take a shot at one of your girlfriend's worms, then one of hers takes a shot at one of yours. You can't move or shoot back during the other player's go, and this is one of the things that makes the game so tense and compelling. The other is the unpredictable nature of the armoury you're given: bazooka shells which get buffeted by the wind, grenades which ricochet in unforeseen ways, and downright ridiculous weapons such as exploding old ladies and flying sheep. Murphy's Law comes to the fore time and time again during a round of Worms, with a fair proportion of the fatalities occurring by accident (hey - just like a real war).
To a sniffy ponce it might look like a 'little game', but it's a damn sight more impressive than most of the blockbusters out there. In fact it's hard to convey just how intrinsically satisfying it is to play - it's as moreish as popping your way through a huge sheet of bubble wrap. Successfully scoring a direct hit at long range delivers a short jolt of pleasure on a par with that which accompanies a really good punchline. Playing against an eager companion, you'll find you just don't want to stop, and if they aren't around there's always single-player missions, CPU opponents or the Internet. You can say goodbye to your social life, basically.
Grub A Dub Dub
What else? Well, if you've already got Worms 2 you might want to 'try before you buy'. The addition of WormNet (the online play system) is a big plus, but otherwise many of the changes in Worms Armageddon are cosmetic (it does look a lot nicer, mind). If you've never played a Worms game before, or you've only tried the first one, you don't have anything to lose.
And before we go, a quick note about Worms Armageddorts superb visuals: this is one of the coolest looking games ever. The design is ingenious, the animation dazzling. The worms are fantastic - full of character and humour - and should really be starring in their own TV cartoon series. Team 17's graphics department deserve a gigantic sack of awards. Actually, make that two sacks. Each one twice the size of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Huge Tracts Of Land
One of the many things the game enables you to tinker with is the landscape itself - you can ask the computer to randomly generate one to your specifications, or pick up your mouse and design it yourself. If you're poncy enough to have a graphics tablet, so much the better; you can draw a forest of great big penlses and then laugh yourself III as the worms hop all over them. If you're that childish, that is.
Mind Your Language
Worms Armageddon enables you to customise your team In all kinds of inconsequential but amusing ways. You can choose a name for each worm, for example, leading to endless hilarity as Posh Spice lobs a grenade at Dale Winton and Big Balls unloads a shotgun into Wet Arse's face.
The worms natter continually throughout each round, and their standard chirpy English voices can be replaced by different languages and dialects. There are cockney wide boys, grim Yorkshlremen, US sports commentators, worms who speak in German, Dutch, French, and so on.
Fair enough. But a few of the speech banks on offer left us feeling a little uncomfortable. There's a Rasta who wails "Big mama!", "Where dat watermelon?" and "Lordy!" like a pop-eyed comedy negro from some nonchalantly racist '30s Hollywood comedy. There's a Japanese worm who screams "Gienadel", a homosexual worm who simpers about handbags and mascara, and an Indian who speaks in fractured grammar, burbling "Goodness gracious me" and "Poppadom!" like a closing-time drunk haranguing the waiter In a small-town curry house.
Close your eyes and whoosh: It's 1974, and you're listening to one of those jaw-dropping sitcoms which dealt with the sensitive issue of racial intolerance by placing a white man In the leading role and reducing everyone else to the level of guming half-wit stereotype. Still, in the knowing '90s, can't we just look on this as a bit of cheeky non-politically correct fun? Maybe. But since the game is also designed to be played across the Internet, against people of all nations, it'd be interesting to see just how rib-tickling or otherwise the rest of the world finds it.
Download Worms Armageddon
It wasn't that long ago that Ocean (now absorbed into the Infogrames collective) brought out Worms for the PlayStation and Saturn. The ultra (and when we say "ultra," boy do we mean it) addictive turn-based strategy game was an instant hit in the EGM offices. Those days, editors would lob grenades and launch air strikes against one another for hours. Then a couple of years later, Microprose brought out Worms 2. Alas, it was for the PC only. Even though Internet games were laggy and buggy, we still had a blast with the sequel. Now, the third game in the series is out for the PC, but we have our eyes forward for the console versions instead. After all, Worms is a hilarious party game...everyone has a much better time laughing and talking trash in the same room, in front of a TV, rather than typing the occasional "hahaha" or "lol."
If you're not familiar with the concept, it's about teams of cute worms who are armed with deadly (and goofy) weapons. These teams are scattered about outlandish landscapes and forced to fight one another, until only one side remains. Only one worm moves and attacks at a time, and when his or her turn is up, the next team gets to have a crack with its own worm representative.
When your worm is up (umm...don't read too much into that phrase), you have to decide how you're going to get from point A to B. You can move into a better spot for offense, burrow underground and take a defensive stance, parachute off a cliff to take the lower ground, teleport, grapple rope (with the famous Ninja Rope) to move closer to the enemy, teleport, etc., etc.
When you're where you want to be, you then have to pull out one of the many weapons at your disposal. Is the enemy standing on the edge of a dangerously high cliff? Then a baseball bat to the noggin should send him a flyin'. What if he's in a valley? Throw a cluster grenade down at him. Other offensive tools include shotguns, mini-guns, dynamite, flame throwers, guided missiles, bazookas, mortars and more. Some of the more non-traditional attacks include Dragonballs and Fire Punches (yes, they're mocking Street Fighter), exploding sheep and old ladies, stinky skunks and the Holy Hand Grenade. And when you need to exterminate a whole field of worms, try one of the weapons of mass destruction, like a napalm strike or carpet bomb (which involves an explosive batch of carpet rolls being dropped from the sky). This game has over 70 weapon types, many of which are secret and can only be gained by collecting them from air-dropped weapon crates. If the finished product matches the quality of the PC title, Worms Armageddon for Dreamcast is going to rock. Don't miss out on what will probably be the best party game for DC this year.
Many deadlines ago, we here at EGM were glued to our TV sets, playing the original Worms for hours at a time. Now, the third and best chapter in the series (Worms 2 never came out for the consoles) is here, and I couldn't be happier. This excellent strategy title makes a perfect party game. Almost everyone I know loves it (except Mark MacDonald of OPM...strange one, he is). Don't let the term "strategy" scare you off either--this is a simple game that's hella easy to jump right into. It's also one of the most fun things you'll ever play. Whether it's Crispin accidentally falling on top of a live stick of dynamite he just placed or me inadvertently letting go of the Ninja Rope over water (sending me to my watery grave), something inevitably goes awry. And when it does, everyone laughs their heads off. As a sequel, this one doesn't disappoint. The graphics are leagues better. The game has tons of new (and secret) weapons. The numerous game schemes provide plenty of variety. The training mode adds a lot to the normally weak one-player Worms experience. Speaking of which, playing WA against the CPU is alright (it doesn't aim as annoyingly perfect as it used to), but it takes an awful long time to think out its moves. Don't get this for the one-player game though...this is meant to be played (a lot) with friends.
It comes down to this: If you have at least one friend, you should own Armageddon. And since most PlayStation owners have at least one friend, all of them should have this game. It's that good. In fact, the only things that are a little off about the game are the cheesy euro-dance music at the Title Screen, and how long it takes the Al to decide what to do during a one-player match. Note: You don't need to own a multi-tap to enjoy multiplayer fun.
Worms Armageddon may have originated on the PC, but this madly rewarding multiplayer experience reaches its full potential on the PlayStation. Invite three pals over (you don't need a Multi-tap), boot this thing up and you're set for hours of goofy fun. Everything about WA, from its extensive options to its many play modes, is fine-tuned for multiplayer play. Even nongamers--like, say, your significant other--will love this game.
The Worms series has long been a favorite of mine on the PC, but Armageddon is certainly the best incarnation yet. It's best with four players...and with a bunch of friends who don't take things too personally. This can get really competitive, and you'll find yourself playing for LONG sessions, exploring the possibilities of the wacky weapons while devising increasingly fiendish strategies. This is multiplayer video gaming at its best.
Depending on your personal taste, Worms is either an annoying and outdated novelty or one of the best multiplayer games ever. If you prefer your deathmatches with a bit of tactical brainpower, and the prospect of sending a psychotic wriggler into orbit using a couple of well-placed sticks of dynamite makes you rub your hands with lee, you'll certainly enjoy Worms Armagedoon.
As a turn-based action game, it's a unique multiplayer experience. You get a set amount of time (usually 60 seconds) to use one of your team of four worms. You can shuffle along to a different location if you're it bit vulnerable, get into the best I position to take a shot, then use an item from your huge arsenal. Once you've taken your shot, the next team gets a go and you have to sit and watch, hoping that nobody takes offence and singles you out for punishment before your next turn. It's quite superb, calling for plenty of thought and planning - sometimes you'll need to ignore a couple of easy kills in order to knock a more dangerous worm out of harm's way; other times you might need to sacrifice some of your mobility. No two games are ever the same.
The single player aspect of Worms has always been its weak point, since the computer players could pull off the most improbable shots. No matter how well you were protected by bits of landscape the computer would always find the exact angle to land a bazooka shot right on your head. Worms Armageddon is a huge improvement. You'll still get hit by a few dubious shots from time to time, but the game places more emphasis on brainpower than trying to outgun the enemy. You get a series of missions to complete, and the later ones usually have only ones usually have only one possible solution. It's a bit like the old Amiga title Lemmings, except far more explosive.
Getting a good score in the missions earns extra abilities for your worm up long-range assassination attempts. The weaponry includes such treats as the multiple-warhead mortar, the baseball bat the exploding cow and the extremely painful flamethrower. For added disrespect, you can execute weakened enemies with a handgun, poison them with a toxic skunk or even push them into the water with a quick prod from the index finger. All the old favourites are still in there, from clusterbombs to miniguns, along with a few ruinously powerful extras that you'll have to agree not to use at all if you want a decent multiplayer game. The choice of weapons eventually becomes so vast thai it's hard to remember what each one does. Inevitably, you'll wind up sticking with a handful of the most effective ones and leaving the rest alone - the standa bazooka and shotgun are indispensable.
The action is accompanied by some fantastic voice samples. You can choose your favourite voices (Braveheart-style, kung fu movie, 70s blaxploitation, classic English, French and German, or, best of all, Full Metal JacKet-style) when you create your team. You also get to pick an emblem, a flag and a gravestone design for that extra bit of personalisation. The potential for creating amusing worm names is reduced somewhat by an annoying eight-letter limit (why?), and despite the fact that the game uses on- cart backup, you don't get a league table to keep track of your scores. Careless, but hardly a serious flaw.
Worms Armageddonis just about the best version of the game to date, thanks to its brilliant solo missions. It could have done with a zoom option to make lot range aiming less haphazard. have preferred to see original Vietnam backgrounds instead of the surreal cartoon landscapes on offer here, but despite these niggles, it's still a brilliant addition to the N64's catalogue of classy four-player games.