Rom Player: PC
Synopsis: When I didn’t have my PC with CD-rom for very long yet, I mainly played demos. Games were still expensive things to me, and I didn’t have internet access yet – besides, downloading games probably wasn’t as easy yet as it is now. I had a whole collection of demo and shareware CDs to keep me occupied. Often I would play a demo to death and then end up buying the complete game enthusiastically, like with Warcraft II, Sam & Max Hit The Road, and a little game called Worms.
The look of this game was very simple and reminded of the Lemmings series. In this case too, the characters were built up from a handful of pixels. You’d have 2-4 teams of four worms, equipped with a great variety of arms, set on a battered and chaotic landscape littered with mines, with the intent of destroying the other teams by any means necessary. Gameplay reminded very strongly of old games like Gorilla, where you would hurl explosive bananas across a city at each other by entering the speed and curve in plain numbers. Worms took that addicting concept and expanded on it. The armory consisted of bazookas and shotguns, hand grenades and Street Fighter-like punches, drills and ninja ropes, and more exotic weaponry such as the banana bomb and the exploding sheep. Landscapes were randomly built up so you’d never get bored of playing the same old stages.
When I started out playing this game I initially took on the computer, but the fun was out of that soon – either the computer would be too accurate (hitting me full on with a grenade from the other end of the landscape) or too stupid (firing a bazooka right into a rock wall). Like I said, I had no internet access to play online, so I turned to friends. Before long, I had five other guys hooked on Worms, and we were wasting our Summer days away playing hot-seat games (hot-seat: constantly trading places before the keyboard when it’s someone else’s turn) and cursing or laughing at each other. Because of the combination of pure strategy and “shoot first, see where it lands later” tactics, and the endless variety of weapons and landscapes, boredom was a thing of the past. You could dig holes through the landscape and construct a base with girders (the so-called “dark side” of play, since it’s cowardly and stalls the action), or boldly use ninja ropes to swing your way across the screen only to land next to your enemy and deal him two shotgun rounds between the eyes. The ninja rope was probably my favorite tool, since I was the only one among my friends that could properly use it, and I could piss them off endlessly by sneaking up on their worms and dropping dynamite at their feet. On the other hand, I was also prone to sacrificing my worms for the sake of a great kill or just a spectacular explosion, evoking “What the hell did you do that for” questions from my friends.
To keep your team members apart, Worms had the option to name both your team and members. Before long, you’d start loving the little bastards, and anyone foolish enough to dump a stick of dynamite on your hero’s noggin could count on a murderous pursuit from there on. The high-pitched voices of the worms crying out “Revenge!”, “Kamikaze!” and, moments before self-destructing since their energy had run out, “bye-bye…”, all added to the loveable nature of the game.
Worms remains one of the best games I’ve ever played. The sequels, Worms 2 its expansions Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party were fun too, but the multitude of added options and often useless new weapons that these sorts of public-pleasing sequels bring (though meant well) tend to annoy me and rob me of the raw feel of the original game. What I am hoping for, though, is that the next Worms will be in 3D, with a third-person perspective. The prospect of putting all of Worms’ tools to use in online team games and perhaps environments that are just as easily blown to bits as the original Worms’ landscapes would be pretty damn cool.
Best Cheats: Type "BAABAA" during play to get all three superweapons in unlimited quantity: uzi will be replaced by minigun, cluster bombs by banana bombs and mines by exploding sheep.
Game Play: 10
Overall Rating: 9
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