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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Team17 Software
GENRE: Strategy
PLAYERS:   1-4
March 11, 2004
Worms: A Space Oddity


Worms: Open Warfare

Worms: Open Warfare

Worms: Forts Under Siege!

More in this Series
 Written by Chris Reiter  on April 20, 2004

Full Review: Doc, I hate to break this to you, b-b-but...I play with my Worms!

Icky... Gross... Wrinkly...things! The wrigglers, the wigglers, the nightcrawlers of the, well...the night! WORMS! An insect who has no eyes and no real defense or offense for the betterment of their species, has only been granted both for the past ten years now. Since Worms' initial appearance on the Amiga computer in early 1994, the popular turn-based strategy title to be had been seeding and sprouting its name in a game on every major platform released over that lapse of time. Worms' publishers have varied from Ocean, Titus, Activision, Ubisoft, and even Sega. The torch has now been passed onto Acclaim, who with the franchise's first deviating effort from Worms' longtime UK-based developer Team17 Software, enhances the gameplay formula into a bulgier, bigger, and blatantly more essential format from 2D into 3D.

Bust. Explode. Ignite. Pummel. Vaporize. Do whatever it takes to make it so the enemy is no longer still standing. That is in itself the one ideal goal between you and those who stand against you. Worms! Worms 3D is the next in line for Team17's strategic, turn-based warfare release that takes place inside various settings throughout a slew of gameplay modes, where along with a pal or just you and you alone can become victorious by being the first team to annihilate the competition. Each of these modules' is divided into single player and multiplayer games. Single player offers the more essential facets of gameplay, sorted into the Tutorial (different stages that teach every worm to crawl before they can shoot their first weapon -- quite literally too), the Campaign (the meat and potatoes, where thinking matches with destructive completion of every operation), and the Challenge menu venues (challenge being the place where extra objectives become available once unlocked in the campaign's stages, for various timed objectives amongst other things).

In the remaining parts of the game, there's the Quick Draw and Multiplayer options. Quick Draw has players competing in a one round matchup against a computer-controlled team. Multiplayer, on the other hand, allows for up to?four human players to contest against one another (or with the computer for a second, third, or fourth replacement challengers) within customizable maps, to see who's the reigning champion in all of worm-dom. That's the cool thing about multiplayer here -- there are dozens of interchangeable options you can adjust,?in choosing how much health or time limit each team gets to work with, to how powerful certain weapon schemes are presented. With a side attraction called Wormpot, you can total up to three additional enhancements for multiplayer games -- be it enabling grenades, animal weapons, or other such items to become abundant in sway. Rearranging these features helps toward specifying an order so yours or the enemy's worms each have a flaunt or flaw about them (so that each time a worm falls from a height, the impact hurts them harder...or even giving each team the David and Goliath effect with one mighty worm character, and the rest being weak). Oddly enough, the multiplayer action can only be processed through the use of a single controller alone. Just so long as you're able to pass the controller around (unless you're opting to kill yourself), the multiplayer game will function.

If you're not one to be nice with others, or are just looking for an unlike kind of experience that progressively grows more difficult the further you get, then there's always the single player campaign. With a better understanding of Worms' 3D gameplay mechanics first by entering into the tutorial (especially for newcomers), the campaign will become a little more clear. Worms 3D is really quite simple a strategy setup where one team moves first, then the next team moves, and then the next team, and so on. Every time you get your shot at action, you're given a short amount of time (around 45 seconds in the campaign) to either select a weapon from the menu and stick it to the enemy, or you can use that duration to position yourself to where the enemy resides. Each worm placed on the battlefield isn't always next to one another. The battlefields are usually spread out on one lump of a map (or two or three) surrounded by water. Sometimes the enemies can rest up above, down below, or sitting right across from you. How you use the time given to you, rightfully, is just how you succeed.

Certain weapons work better than others of disposing of any lingering threats. Though, not every weapon or tool in the game can be used directly right away or conveniently as you might think. Ranged, mid-ranged, and close-ranged objects all can apply toward whipping the enemy good. With a bazooka shot, a homing missile, or even some kind of grenade (some of which are standard issue; regular hand grenades, holy grenades; a most devastatingly powerful weapon, or banana bombs; bananas that bounces around once thrown to eventually explode), you'll be able to launch an attack from a good distance. The most common dilemma with projectile weaponry, though, is that with Worms 3D's inadequate camera values and weapon power gauge, it's hard sometimes to establish a correct power supply (in which most thrown weapon articles are equipped with a power bar) for each weapon whilst pinpointing an exact trajectory that will put a thrown object or a large bullet from where you stand to where your target stands. An enemy worm could very well remain upon some platform high above your position, and you're equipped with camera views that can't give you a precise directive for telling whether or not you're actually going to affect the enemy. Using the right analog stick, you can move the camera around to see a 360? view of all the terrain, or press R2 and get an eagle eye view of every ally and enemy abroad the land. R1 takes you into a first-person perspective. If you were in control of the bazooka, first-person is the one you'd want to be in, and the same one that only gives you a reticule marker that can be adjusted left, right, up or down. But the problem still is that in this view, you'll only have your eyeballs to guess if the distance from the marker on the screen pointed toward this landing zone is even going to touch what might be at a greater distance or a shorter one, and it's difficult to know how much power you'll actually require along with which angle to fire from.

Mid-ranged and in-your-face kinds of mechanisms are much easier to manage on the whole, although even these don't accommodate for one-hundred percent accuracy. Midrange weapons grant a bit of a distance, and won't get you into trouble as much as the long distance weapons will. Items listed as a shotgun, a blowgun, and sheep allow for you to get close, but not too close. For instance, the shotgun is better used when nearer to an enemy, as aiming it in first-person wobbles around some. With only two rounds of bullets for each time the weapon is activated, it's better to make those count. Like the shotgun, the blowgun is better fired when somewhat nearer to an enemy's location. Though, with this device, it takes on more of a gradual aftereffect, as the blowgun pumps a toxin into a worm's body that decreases their health each time a round passes by. As for the's a bomb, but it's a remote bomb that will walk on its own. A specific class of character items, like sheep, can be tossed. Once out in the open, it'll walk in the direction you've aimed prior to release. When it reaches a preferred area, you can then set it off to go boom. Then there are those utilities that get you close and personal to your opponents. Amongst these is such useful hardware like the firepunch, the Viking axe, and some good old-fashioned dynamite. Just sliding right next to an enemy can have you strapping on a bandanna to slap the enemy hard with the karate touch of death from the firepunch. The Viking axe is pretty much the same thing, only it's an axe chop. Dynamite, however, is a little present you can lay down, escape from, and sit back to watch the fireworks. Especially along with an interesting selection of extra tools you can access (at some point or another), including the ability to teleport anywhere you want on a battlefield, accustoming a ninja rope to climb up and swing around to new heights, and the occasional bombardment of bombs from a plane's air strike, there are plenty of neat gadgets to find in Worms 3D's particular style of gameplay.

For its first time in 3D, it's tough luck that Worms 3D isn't all that fashionably stunning. Worms 3D isn't a large game by any means. It's setup across variable maps that are, in themselves, just seemingly giant chunks of ground. You and the enemy being worms and all, it's made to be appear at least a little massive. But it isn't. Really, these oversized mounds are just that: lifelike objects that are scaled a little larger than normal. Amongst these terrains are snowy, grassy, and even some spooky themes, like this one that's set in a graveyard with an old house, a wooden bridge, and tombstones you can climb on top of or around. It's also that every one of these levels is summarily resting somewhere out in the middle of an ocean. With that in mind, the only interaction you'll find is between you and the enemy. Anything that's not a worm is something that's not moving. There's lots of giant structures, such as flowers and plants, mountains, and some places with say an enormous squid or an ape -- neither of which is actually alive, but rather is more like a plastered statue to give off a certain motif to those levels (and in the squid's case, something extra to move around on).

As what's available isn't much, it's precisely that looking at the little is primarily minimal. Very small percentages of texture work went into Worms 3D's design. Basic to the bone, the game's much too much simplistic. Certainly, battlefields and character models alike are not horrendous, though expecting rich, vibrant, and awesome visual candy is more like waiting for Hell to freeze over. It just isn't going to happen! The great thing...that is, the best thing about the game's graphical prowess is that each object (or at least most of them) is ruinous. Implementing any detrimental stratagem into your tactic will leave behind dents in the ground or anything and anywhere you or the enemy can travel. There's a worm sitting on the edge of a cliff over water. What do you do? What can you do? Well, you can fire a mortar onto where he waits, so that the entire chunk of land along with the worm goes kerplunk into the murky, watery depths below him. Plotting a hole into a hill will construct a hole. Tossing a grenade inside that tunneled area can resume in colorful blasts, leaving the scarred mountain hollow and more accessible than ever. Even though Worms 3D doesn't achieve a glamorous standing as the top of the line in definitive perceptions, at least it's fun to tear the game's playgrounds apart...piece by piece.

Opening its doors to multiple speaking nationalities, the vocals of the worms in Worms 3D can be gotten wind of whether you're fluent in Czech, French, Italian, German, Polish, Slovak, Spanish, or are just a regular Yankee Doodle Dandy American. Sweetening the deal, a long line of separate, selectable, and stereotyped voice bytes are included whether a World War II General, a Southern belle, or maybe alien chit chat arouses your attention. In and out of each accent, it's unfortunate that there isn't too much a divergence as every one seems to be acted by a single, high-pitched person. The voices themselves are exceedingly awkward -- which doesn't hurt the game, though it doesn't promise a respectable appreciation for it either. Going the way of audio, there are some decent effects related to squeaking as a worm slinks, outbursts as an eruption dilates, and the splash of water as you or your enemy goes crashing underneath the earth. As for the game's music...if you've ever sat in a doctor's waiting room for an hour or so, you've already got a good idea of what's coming.

Bottom Line
Shedding off its 2D cocoon, Worms has definitely come a long way. With Worms 3D being the first specimen to jump out of its flat shell, it's hard to determine whether Team17 made the right decision in bulking up its gameplay efforts or not. But one thing's for sure: Worms 3D isn't the best strategic title to come along, though it is an interesting one. There are tons and tons of choices anyone can make to diversify their gameplay experience a bit, and many cool items to use in taking charge across each of the game's battle bruising landscapes. Worms 3D also bestows a relatively simple formula that even with glaring flaws, can still be a blast to play through. Once it's all been said and done, Worms 3D is a game gamers who are looking for a new kind of strategy session will discover something odd, however sporting, throughout the entirety of its renewed configuration.

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