Worms (PlayStation Review)

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After you’ve read this please check out Jake’s YouTube channel for lovely retro gaming vids.

 

The turn-based, artillery tactical series Worms has always tried to push the boundaries of barminess with each installation for the past twenty years, as if wiggly insects fighting one another with bazookas wasn’t silly enough. It all began, however, in 1995, when British developers Team 17 released the first entry in the series for a multitude of consoles. It’s safe to say that it was a great game across near-enough every platform, and the PlayStation was no exception.

There’s not much to go by in terms of plot. In fact, an official campaign mode is completely absent. No need for a dull military briefings here, just shoot anything that ain’t on your team. To its merit, the game does offer a random selection of cut scenes akin to Looney Tunes skits, which show the mud-eaters using all sorts of tricks and abilities to fight one another. They’re silly, slapstick bits of FMV goodness that are a fun watch before the level begins.

Each team has a squad of four worms, and they’ll need to take out the opposition while remaining in one piece. Admittedly, a lack of additional game modes is the game’s biggest gripe. However, the gameplay still stands strong, especially with other human players. You’ll only need a single controller if you ever want to play with others, and since it won’t take too long to get the hang of the controls, it makes it a great party game.

 

 

There’s a slew of weapons to pick from, ranging from sheep bombs and grenades to kung-fu attacks and airstrikes. Other items, like teleportation devices and girders, are non-lethal and can be used to help travel around the area. Once any of these things are used, regardless of whether it hits or not, then your turn is up. Annoyingly, it’s the same case when you accidentally hurt yourself, no matter how minute the damage is. Regardless, it’s so satisfying to send enemies flying with your attacks; they’ll instantly die if they drown or get knocked off-screen.

There’s quite a bit of customizable features on offer. You can tweak the ammo for each item or weapon, fiddle with the health bars, and even decorate the landscape with mines to complicate things for everyone. Speaking of which, the game randomly generates maps with various different appearances, from sweets and scrap metal to snow and a fiery, hellish landscape complete with nooses and gargoyles. Each environment is eye-catching, detailed, entirely destructible; explosions and gunshots can make huge craters to climb into or take shelter in.

 

 

While the sound design is fitting enough – with its satisfying weapon noises and the pathetic little death noises that the characters make – the soundtrack is as minimal as it gets. With exception to the cheery main theme, the only background noises you’ll here are some bland, ambient tracks that aren’t interesting to listen to at all. It could be to help players concentrate, yet the lack of goofy jingles or victory fanfares do feel like a missed opportunity.

It can be a bit daunting to pluck a favourite game from the Worms series, considering how many entries there are to choose from. At least it’s safe to say that the first one is still worth trying out. Thanks to the randomly-generated maps that are entirely destructive, as well as its numerous customisable settings and the sizeable arsenal on offer, it’s easy to set up a game and cause some mayhem with little fuss. Despite its minor nuisances, those being the minimalistic soundtrack and lack of additional game modes, Worms remains a polished-up title that promises chaotic deathmatches for all to enjoy, moreso with two or more players duking it out.

Jake

 

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