Sunday, 5 June 2011

Zounds! I am undone!

OK, so for the past few weeks I've been playing a fair amount of video games. Steam keeps putting things on sale, so I bought a couple. Most notably, Worms Reloaded.
I think this is actually the first time I've owned a full version of one of the Worms games, and therefore been able to play it properly. I think we had a demo of the original Worms, and on occasion I played one of the subsequent ones (I think it was just Worms 2) because a friend had it. But that was it. They've refined the formula somewhat since then.

I assume most people are familiar with the basic premise of the Worms games, but just in case, I'll explain: The players control teams of worms. The worms have a variety of guns and other weapons, which they use to try and kill each other. Oh, also there are some things used to get around the landscape (Which can itself be destroyed, potentially dropping worms in the water, where they will drown).

So, firstly, in Reloaded you can customise your worms with different headgear and voices. Now one of the really notable things I remember about the original was the voices ("Oi! Nutter!") They were fairly iconic. But nonetheless, offering a variety is definitely a good idea. Particularly given multiplayer play is an inevitable element of the experience, something to help distinguish your worms from your opponent's is, well, helpful. Also it's amusing to put your worms in top hats, roman helmets, or whatever else takes your fancy from the options. Or to have them in an accent of your choice, or a particular themed voice, like Roman ("You are very dreary, much like the senate."), Cad ("Can't say I appreciate that, old chap."), or in my case, Thespian ("Zounds! I am undone!" "Gadzooks!" "Hell hath no fury like a well-timed grenade!")
There is a bit of a lack of variety in what they say. A few more phrases would be nice. But it's still pretty good.
Oh, you can also choose you tombstones. Mine are little Stonehenge things.

Good variety of weapons. Some of them are very situational, of course, but since the first game they've managed to adjust things such that by my reckoning, almost all the weapons are worth using under some circumstances. This was less the case in the original, when things like the uzi and the shotgun were just unambiguously worse than the bazooka (With which typically you have infinite shots). Well, unless you're close up and want to completely avoid the explosion damage. But it's highly unlikely you wouldn't be able to just move a bit further away.
Some interesting things included. Ferrets. Termites. Electromagnets. The concrete donkey and the buffalo of lies, which seem to be religious idols in the Worms universe. And then classic like the Super Sheep and the Holy Hand Grenade.

Interesting different game modes. There's a campaign, mostly consisting of standard deathmatches with varying numbers of worms with varying amounts of health on your and the somputer's sides. But there are also a few levels which are basically puzzles. They're not overly complicated puzzles, but they do neatly teach you to use some of the less intuitive things, like ninja ropes.
Then there's Body Count, wherein you have one worm, while the opposing team have four, who start with only 10 HP each, but respawn every time you kill them, and gradually start getting more starting HP. You try to kill as many as possible before they kill you.
There's a mode called Bazookas and Grenades, wherein you have infinite bazooka shots and grenades, and nothing else. It would be helpful if you also got some items to allow you to move around - jetpacks, blowtorches, etc. Otherwise there's a distinct possibility you will end up firing bazooka missiles from one end of the landscape to the other, which can get a bit tedious.
Then you also have Rope Racing. Ninja ropes have become popular enough to have a game mode devoted specifically to them. One worm each, infinite ninja ropes and nothing else, you race from a starting point to a destination. It's not possible to play this mode against the computer, presumably because it would always win.
And Fort. Two forts, one team in each. Gives a different feel to a match than the normal random distribution.

The only notable issue I have with Worms Reloaded is that it could do with having better artificial stupidity. Most notable with regard to grenades. Now naturally, the computer can perfectly calculate the effect of the wind and the way the grenade will bounce and how long it'll take to reach its intended destination. But when the computer-controlled worms do this, it feels somewhat unfair, as no human player could ever be that perfect. And this is in contrast to other things - the computer-controlled worms will make mistakes with other things, accidentally blow themselves up, or into the water, sometimes through the simplest of errors. It's just grenades where they seem to be perfect.
Oh, there was one other problem I had, but that wasn't down to the game, it was down to the cat from two houses down the street, who comes to visit. I quite like having him sit on my lap, but it becomes a problem when he tries to put his head on the keyboard. He caused me to fire a bazooka point blank into a wall.

So, yeah, overall I like the game. And it's handy if I'm feeling frustrated to be able to start it up and blow up cartoony worms with a variety of ridiculous weaponry, sound effects, and things like "Pow" and "Bang" flashing up on the screen as I do so. Definitely worth however much I paid for it.

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