Worms Collection Review
Game: Worms Collection
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Xbox 360 version reviewed)
There are few simpler pleasures than carefully balancing a stick of dynamite on the head of your best friend, before ninja-roping to a safe distance and watching the explosion send them skimming across a nearby expanse of water, before sinking to their doom. I am, of course, speaking in terms of the Worms series of warfare games. Games that have endured the seventeen years since it first launched in its quite primitive, home-programmed form.
The games have developed into more highly-polished cartoon-quality affairs, and even developed into fully three-dimensional titles, and this collection packages together most of the Worms games that have so far been released for current-generation consoles via PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Made up of the basic Worms, the fully loaded craziness of Worms 2: Armageddon and the 3D foray into Worms: Ultimate Mayhem. In case – by some weird accident – you don’t know how Worms works, teams of Worms (basically mini soldiers) take turns to launch increasingly strange weapons of destruction at one another, until only one team is left standing as the victor.
Worms and Worms 2: Armageddon are both very similar to one another. They are both played in the traditional two-dimensional, side-on view that was nailed down in the very first Worms title. They have, of course, both received a high definition makeover since they were first released on the PC back in the 199os, but at their core they are more or less the same game. Graphically, they are both very alike too, being presented in the same cartoon style. Armageddon ramps up the craziness, by adding more over-the-top weapons and missions to the basics of the first game, as well as a few minor graphical tweaks and extra customisation options. It must also be said that the disc contains six DLC packages for Armageddon, providing extra weapons and themes for your gaming pleasure.
These games are really quite timeless and are guaranteed to still provide hours of violent entertainment; despite their age. Grab a few friends and some tense, competitive deathmatches are bound to ensue. The wacky selection of weapons that made the series famous is well and truly present here, and it is ridiculous fun guiding a Super Sheep around the map to your enemy, or smacking a worm into the wild blue yonder with a Baseball Bat. This is all accented by the familiar high-pitched utterances of the worms, taunting one another or lamenting their own situation. For classic war gaming, Worms is the most accessible title you are bound to find, and anyone can pick up and play within minutes. Add online matchmaking and leaderboards, and you can even play the game when there is no-one else around for you to grab. The single-player missions, consisting of specific scenarios and situations to handle, are more of a training ground, on which you can hone your skills to take into the multiplayer arena.
Ultimate Mayhem is where things really get different. This is a combination of the two games, Worms 3D and Worms 4: Mayhem, which were both released during the last console generation, and most importantly, these games marked the move into three-dimensions for the series. Although the graphical style is similar to the cartoon-like visuals in the previous games, stepping into 3D makes the game play very differently, and makes it an altogether more complicated and confusing affair. This is somewhat of a shame, as the simplicity and fun is muddied somewhat by having too many camera options and controls to worry about. By having to move in three dimensions, it makes judging shots, traversing the environment and surveying the battlefield much more complex; and not in a good way. The beauty of Worms is in its simplicity, and 3D just detracts from that. It isn’t a bad game, but it just doesn’t work as well as its predecessors.
VERDICT: The Worms Collection might not be one hundred percent pure gold, but it is a great way to reacquaint yourself with the classic series. OK, Ultimate Mayhem isn’t the Worms that we all remember and adore, but it is a bold attempt at reworking the series that unfortunately loses the charm of the original. Also, including Worms and Worms 2: Armageddon seems a bit redundant, as the two titles are almost the same, save for the extras in the second title. Releasing a full collection that compiles the currently available Arcade titles doesn’t seem entirely worthwhile, seeing as how similar some of them are. It seems that most Worms fans would have their taste for battle satiated by purchasing the madcap Worms 2: Armageddon alone, but this is a nice option for the completionists out there, and for those who love the concept, but missed out on trying some of the later entries into the series.