Worms: Armageddon


Review by Larry Anderson

Team 17


Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

Anyone remember the PC game Scorched Earth?  Back in the days before wild multi-player LAN games, this simple two-on-two game would have PC game geeks occupied for hours, even days at a time.  The premise was simple:  Take one pair of tanks, a little geometry and physics, a kick-ass gun, and shoot at each other until someone screams “Mommy!!”

wormsarmageddondc1.gif (88183 bytes)The folks at Team17 have taken that philosophy (especially the crying Mommy part) and applied it to the venerable Worms franchise.  For those of you who haven’t played the original, this installment had its roots on the Commodore Amiga, later migrating to the Atari Jaguar, before being thrust into the mainstream with this title.  The objective of the game is very straightforward; find creative ways to send your opponent’s wormy team to the grave before they do the same to yours.  The title has a respectable arsenal of play modes; you can square off against the computer on a random battlefield, play multiplayer against 3 of your friends (or foes), or run the gamut of Basic Training to prepare yourself for the 30 single player missions.

The game takes place on a 2-D cartoonish battlefield (locales ranging from junkyards to large pieces of cheese), with equally toonish, armless worms representing your on-screen armada of doom.  This is a turn-based game; you are given 45 seconds each turn to move one of your teammates around the battlefield, aim and shoot your weapon, plant a land mine, throw a grenade, or toss a flying sheep at your opponents.  This goes back and forth until one team is eliminated. 

The sheer variety of weapons at your disposal is dizzying; your destructive tools range from banana bombs to battle axes, holy hand grenades to mad cows.  The explosions are typically large and satisfying; the distance your opponents (or even your own teammates) fly on impact from a rocket, and the satisfying gurgles they make as they drown are even more titillating.  Don’t like where your worm has landed?  No problem!  You can ninja-rope or bungie-jump your way to a new spot.  For the base jumpers among you, take a flight off a cliff, rip open a parachute and rain smoking death with mole bombs before landing ever so softly on the ground.

This game is THICK with twisted humor; your worms don’t merely die, they check themselves out with a detonator.  They don’t just take shots, they cry about it like babies.  Hit your own team’s players, get called the worm equivalent of Benedict Arnold.  And these guys don’t forget about the important stuff; tombstones stand where your brave worms once roamed, as a reminder of your effective command of the battlefield.

The game does have its drawbacks: the computer AI.  It takes the majority of its 45 second turn to decide what it’s going to do; this can lead to some rather slow gameplay.  It’s no wonder that the multiplayer option (especially on the PC version, which can be played over the Internet) is the most popular choice for serious worm-shredding.  Also, the sound is rather sparse; some good bass-thumping rock and roll would’ve increased the intensity during particularly nasty engagements.  However, good marks for the explosions, and the whiny voices your worm counterparts speak in.

If you enjoy this title, Team 17 has followed this game up with Worms: World Party (which includes online play with the Dreamcast version), and soon to deploy, Worms: Blast (a game very similar to Bust-A-Move, twisted into a Worms-themed world).  Next time you see something slithering across the ground after a good rain, consider the mayhem our video worms buddies can cause before smashing it to bits.  You may find yourself on the receiving end of a suicide bomber worm, holding an exploding mad cow… would you really want to mess with that?


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Last updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:59 PM