Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Bit of Bugs: Worms Armageddon

Despite the fact that the principle and play of this game was pretty basic, it still merits a mention as one of the better "old school" games in the memories of myself and fellow players. You could play it as a single player campaign, single player "deathmatch" mode (which essentially was a challenge against the computer, or as a local or online multiplayer. Because of that I think that this game was (and still is) especially versatile in the grand scheme of gaming.

Worms Armageddon is a turn-based, team-play game in which the player controls one of several worms on the screen. Each team includes eight worms, which can either be controlled by the computer, or your friends. This was a feature that, as far as I know, may have been only available in the PC version, but allowed you to create a team name and customize literally all of the features of the aforementioned team. This was particularly cool because you could also customize the terrain—something that this fairly simplistic game could have gotten tedious without.

The traditional objective of the game is to defeat the other team of worms with various weapons, ranging from traditional bazookas to, uh, creative weapons like the gas of a skunk. The whole scheme of weapons were not always available from the beginning, and were dependent on the weapon set chosen at the beginning of the game. Similarly, some weapons could be received from crates dropping on the terrain in mid-game.

Like Earthworm Jim, another worm-y game that I loved, Worms Armageddon didn't seem to take itself too seriously. The graphics of the game also look pretty similar and usually remain the same throughout the match. In fact, the graphics were fairly simplistic—the characters were small beige like bombs, and the cartoon-y landscape (and some of the weapons) look like something straight out of Looney Toons. While the graphics were fairly on-point with other games from that time period, looking back at it in retrospect they aren't really all that advanced or even very good.

Much like games nowadays, there was a "meta-game" for Worms Armageddon that focussed on adding different objectives (besides just killing the other team) along with plans of attack that were based wholly on a specific weapon or item. Two such metagames were Pro Roper, and Bazooka and Grenade.

I have gone ahead and found a place to play this online (as I try to do with all of the games I review), and have found an emulator here. It bears noting that the PC version is still undergoing updates as Team17 has hired two developers to continue this legacy. Along with being released for PC, which was where I played it, this game was also released for Dreamcast, Game Boy, Nintendo 64 and Playstation—making it a pretty widely released title. It was also released on Steam in 2012. You should check it out, it's usually pretty quick and basic and doesn't require much ramping up to get started.

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