Developer(s) – Team17
Publisher(s) – Ocean Software
Designer – Andy Davidson
ELSPA – 3+
Starting out as an entry for a programming competition called Total Wormage, Worms went on to become not only a hugely popular game but a hugely popular franchise. A by-product of the 90s, a strange time for the industry in its own right, Worms combines some concepts which may sound ridiculous on paper, but make for something very entertaining on either CD or cartridge format.
Graphics – 6.5/10
The designs of the in-game battlefield, in particular, are quite unique compared to typical video game settings for not only its times but for video games in general, taking place in settings varying from glaciers and scrap yards. The FMVs that play out before the beginning of each battle were also pretty well done for the time and add quite a bit of entertainment to the game, which I will elaborate on further into the review. The aspect that I think lets the visuals down, however, is how poorly detailed the character sprites stand out among the in-game scenery. I think by that token, the game hasn’t aged particularly well from a visual perspective. After a while, the sound bytes of the character voices could get a little annoying after a while in the first installment.
Gameplay – 6.5/10
I find that this game’s fairly strong level of addiction can be attributed to how many challenges can be involved at times, and for how much strategy and variety in gameplay was surprisingly included in a game like this, which I personally commend it for. At the time, there was something strangely wonderful about determining the best way to take out each of the opposing team’s worms before they take the player’s team out, and it’s a unique gameplay novelty, which I believe still holds up to this very day.
Controls – 9/10
The only gripe I have about this game’s control scheme is the system of having to measure up wind resistance against trajectory in order to make the most accurate shot possible with the bazooka or grenades. In my opinion, that can make the game unnecessarily difficult at times, given the most awkward of circumstances and unit positions. To my dismay, this system would feature in future Worms titles. However, there are no problems otherwise.
Lifespan – N/A (10/10)
As a game with no fixed lifespan, it only lasts as long as player interest. Like games such as Mario Kart, Worms is a game that can simply be picked up and played without players having to worry about making progress in the conventional sense of having to worry about how fleeting the experience may feel like after they’ve finished playing.
Storyline – N/A (10/10)
As with many video games before and after the release of Worms, this game has no properly established storyline, but rather a mere basic premise; worms warring with each other. The best thing about the premise of Worms is the entertaining comedic element portrayed in the many FMVs of the game, which play out before each fight. This would become a staple in the series, much to my personal approval.
Originality – 7/10
In the ’90s in particular, when most players were primarily used to 2D side-scrolling and first-person shooting, a real-time strategy game about worms at war and using a wide variety of weapons and gadgets to subdue each other was a breath of fresh air on both a conceptual level and in terms of gameplay. Indeed, these are the kinds of seemingly nonsensical ideas, which have been the very foundations for some of the greatest video game franchises ever conceived.
In summation, Worms is a very unique and compelling game, which whilst not holding up on a graphical point of view, definitely holds up in terms of both gameplay and originality. In my opinion, it’s a must-have for any fan of the real-time strategy genre.