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Worms Armageddon
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-16
Developer:  Team 17
Publisher:  Microprose
Features:  Vibration Compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
You may remember that a few years ago there was game called Worms that might have caught your eye. Perhaps you even picked it up and looked on the back, but maybe the concept was a little too bizarre and confusing for you. "Is this like Lemmings?" you asked yourself. Like most you then put it back and picked up something more reliable like Tomb Raider or Resident Evil. Well the chosen few that actually did venture forth into making a Worms purchase regard it as one of the greatest moves they ever made. As such, it has become one of the greatest sleeper hits of all time. It has spawned two sequels on the PC (Worms 2 and Armageddon) and now has finally come back to the Playstation (it also debuts on the Dreamcast) with glorious new action and graphics.

The point of Worms is shamelessly simple: kill all of the opponents’ worms without killing yours. How you go about doing that however, is where all of the strategy comes in. The game is turn-based so there is nothing you can do to avoid getting attacked until it is your turn. This allows for offensive and defensive strategies. There are various weapons (a whole hell of a lot more than were in the first game) that you can use to shoot, explode, punch, or just plain hurt the enemy worms. The old favorites like the Banana Bomb, the Mini-Gun, and the Sheep are all back with slight modifications (the sheep can fly). There are also some new weapons like the Old Lady, the Mole Bomb, and the most devastating of them all, the Armageddon. Each worm has a certain amount of damage points (defaulted at 100) that will sadly decrease every time it gets hit. The bigger and more accurate the hit, the more damage it will do. All the levels are played over water, which can be death to any worm that falls into it. If you have ever thrown worms into a creek you know what I mean.

The real fun of the game, as in the first one, is its multi-player aspects. The game can be played by up to four teams. This means that if every person controls one worm you can play with up to 16 people! Party Game Galore! Even with two people and up to 4 worms on each team the game can still be a palm sweating battle to the finish. What makes Worms constantly fresh and exciting is that anything can happen. This means that an inexperienced player may get really lucky while a really experienced player may shoot himself (or herself) in the foot. Most of the time there are so may explosions and chaos that it does not matter what kind of player is playing.

You will find that the more you play Worms, the more intense and complex it gets. With millions of randomly generated levels the action is never the same twice. Add to that the different scenarios that are available and you have got a game with an infinite amount of replay value. The scenarios vary from Tanx where the worms are immobile to Shopping Mall where crates full of weapons are constantly falling, to High Explosives where well you get the idea. Nearly all of the game options can be changed and suited to your liking

The biggest problem with the first game was its sheer lack of one player game excitement. The computer AI was either really terrible of completely accurate. There was no strategy to it, and it really was not all that fun. That has all changed with Worms Armageddon. With training levels to aid in the mastery of weapons and mission-based challenges to keep things interesting, the one player game makes a nice divergence from the simple 4 on 4 shoot-em-up. Also, the AI as been tweaked remarkably so that now the computer actually plays more like a human. You will see the it making the easy shots, missing the impossible ones, and using basic human-like strategy like shooting through an barrier. The major problem with the computer opponents is the the way it always uses all of the allotted time (45 sec.) so keep some reading material or a snack handy.

If you have any desire for strategy at all, get this game. You will not be disappointed at all unless the idea of an exploding sheep gets you down. Worms: Armageddon is packed with a great deal of strategy, a hilarious set-up, and some of the greatest gameplay you will find anywhere. In fact, it is so good I challenge countries in conflict around the world to look to a game of Worms to decide the fate of their wars. It is simpler than fighting a real war, and fewer people die. We here in the office have been settling our disputes with games of Worms, and I must say fewer punches have been thrown.

Chris Shade

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