Tuesday, March 16, 2004

My new obsession: Worms 3-D!!

You really need to be a Worms fan to get this.

The original Worms was released in 1994, but the phenomenon started way before that.

One of the first games I ever played on any computer was one called something like Artillery Duel. There were 2 stationary tanks on a hilly landscape. Each player, one at a time, chose the angle, and the power that your missile will take. You watched the path your missile took, and adjusted your shot on your next turn accordingly. It was amazingly simple, and very addicting, especially for the math/computer geek crowd, of which I was among.

Sometime in the 80's, someone made another version of this, but it was gorillas chucking bananas at each other -- but it was the same concept.

The game was released in Basic for PC's. There were versions for Mac. There were Atari/Colecovision/Intellivision versions. But it was always basically the same -- take turns shooting little rockets at each other.

Then, the fellas at Team 17 took it to the next step. And it was Worms. All of the computer geeks were waiting for this game, we just didn't know it until we saw it. It was beautiful -- all the simplicity of artillery duel, but this time you were controlling worms toting a powerful and hilarious assortment of weapons. Bazookas, bananas, and exploding sheep... it was amazing.

The series continued with Worms 2, Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party. There were a couple others in the series, and a few spin-offs as well (like Worms Blast). Each added new ways to play, new weapons, and new graphics, but it was still the 2 dimensional, simple-graphic blastfest.

The next generation of turn-based explosion fun has arrived.

Say hello to Worms 3-D.

The GOOD: Gameplay, menus and price. The game is just a jump in and shoot stuff party in a box. It is so easy to navigate the menus. In fact, if you are just interested in a little bit of fun, one click on the main menu gets you there. You can hop in and play for a few minutes. You'll most likely play for a few hours. I was actually in bed the other night, having a little trouble sleeping, while visions of bouncing worms danced in my head. I got up and played for an hour when I should have been sleeping. The insane amount of weapons and play modes are wonderful, and the "Wormpot" allows you to pick random modes -- there's well over 10,000 ways to bend the rules of physics and gameplay. I have the game on my Playstation 2, and at $30 brand new, I've already gotten my money's worth.

The BAD: Doesn't keep track of your stats, and the awards system has bugs. The only complaint I have so far: In Worms World Party for Playstation, it kept track of your team's wins and losses... this one doesn't bother to do that. It was kind of fun to keep track of... how many worms killed, how many of your worms were lost, etc. Also, one of the greatest things about the Worms game is the fact that they distribute awards at the end of the match -- most deadly worm, most useless worm, etc. The awards come up at the end, and don't seem very imaginative, and it seems like they show awards even when no one gets it. Just about every game I've played ends with the message: Most Accurate Team: . It seems like a simple thing that should have been picked up in QA.

The UGLY: The camera gets in its own way on occasion. The problem with the 3D camera is that it tries to follow the worm, but sometimes walls and landscape make it hard to see your worm and where he might be heading. I have fallen into the water and stepped on land mines, and had it be a COMPLETE surprise. There is a first-person view, as well as a "blimp view" from over head that helps a little, but it still seems that there are places you can't see as you move around.

Any flaws are excusable so far, and I can't recommend this enough.