Quick quiz: What were the most momentous events of 1995? For anyone who answered Braveheart and Toy Story topping the movie charts, Bill Clinton taking up residency at the White House and Microsoft raising the curtains on Windows 95, go to the top of the class. For those who answered with just one word: “Worms,” well, pat yourself on the back and have a shiny gold star on us. Back then, in the hazy, carefree years of 1995, gaming was dominated by teams of mischievous invertebrates hell bent on blowing each other up with rocket launchers and exploding sheep. Side scrolling 2D was cooler than Michael Jackson’s moonwalk and iconoclastic British game developers Team 17 were the Rockstars of the day.
In its latest outing, the core gameplay remains untouched. The idea is simplicity itself: take control of a team of four worms and destroy the competition. At your disposal are an arsenal of creative and wickedly ingenious weapons ranging from the traditional rocket launchers to flying post boxs dropping exploding letters (the Mail Strike), The MB bomb ( a cartoon caricature of Martyn Brown, Team17′s studio director) , the Holy Hand Grenade (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and of course, the classic exploding sheep.
For anyone who has played and loved Worms, the first game will be an introduction to the series that can be skipped without fear of missing anything. The weapons are less varied, the randomly generated terrains are less adventurous and games against the AI can take a long, long time. There is very little fun to be had in multiplayer unless you’re happy to pass the controller from player to player.
All of these gripes however are done away with in Worms 2: Armageddon. Originally released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2009, Worms 2: Armageddon features a host of new weapons, including the bunker buster, lightning strike, electro magnet, emergency teleporter, the poison strike and the super bunker buster. Single player has been injected with a dose of testosterone and now features up to 30 missions that get progressively more challenging the further you progress into the game. And Team 17 also waved their magic wand over the multiplayer side of things. Worms 2: Armageddon boasts six game types: Beginner, Standard, Pro, Fort, Rope Racing and Crazy Crates and the game supports up to four players either going head to head locally or via Live. A leaderboard has also been thrown in so that you can compare your progress against your mates. Sweet.
Team 17’s foray into the world of 3D was, however, less successful. Worms Ultimate Mayhem was plagued by fiddly camera issues and infuriatingly slow game play. The graphics were given a lick of fresh paint and content for this game has been taken from a compilation of Worms games including the lacklustre Worms 3D.
Worms Collection also includes a wealth of downloadable content that you can install to improve your Worms experience. There are six sets in all, all focusing on different aspects of the game, for example, Battle Pack that adds new weapons, and there’s a Puzzle Pack, and a Retro Pack that lets you play missions from the original Worms game. How cool is that?
All in all, Worms Collection is a welcome blast from the past for you’re ass. A touch of the old skool flava that you’ll want to savour with your neighbour. Or anyone else that’s around for a spot of worm-bashing fun.
For anyone yet to experience the sinful pleasures of throwing explosive sheep at their mates, this is a great way to find out what you’re missing. For gamers who enjoyed the series the first time round, buckle up and get ready to be happy. Recommended.
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