Worms Retrospective

Worms: The Beginning (“Incoming!“)

Worms was not always Worms, infact, the title begin life with the name Total Wormage. To accompany this bizarre name there was a distinct possibility that the game as we know it today might not have been created at all; Let me explain. First off the concept of worms was thought of and created by a guy called Andy Davidson. Andy made the game as an entry Blitz BASIC programming competition which was run by the Amiga Format magazine. The game which was then known as Total Wormage did not win the competition but Andy still knew he had the basic for a good game so he decided to send the game off to as many publishers as he could in an effort to get the game noticed. Sadly this was not to be and no one wanted anything to do with it. In a last ditch effort Andy attended the European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) and took the game with him to show off his wares. At the show he met some of the guys behind Team17 and they quickly made him an offer to publish and develop the game. The rest, as they say, is history. From that day the game evolved into a full commercial game and got its title shortened to just plain old Worms. The game then got released on the Commodore Amiga and was a great success.

[b]Don’t Know What Worms Is About? (“I’ll Get You!“)
In every edition of Worms ever created (even the 3D ones, which I still think were a bad idea) each player contains a team of worms which have their own names and personality (some mental people made up their own personalities to associate with each one but no more about those kind of people!). When it was each player’s turn they got to pick one of their worms and move it around the level and had a set time limit to do what ever they wanted. They also had a selection of different items and zany weapons at their disposal with which they could hatch their plan with. The simple goal of the game was to get rid of all the other members of your opposition team before they got rid of you. It’s a simple idea but a highly effective one as there is many people still addicted to the 2D version of the game today even after half a decade of playing it.

The Weapons Of Worms (“Bombs Away!”)

The Worms series is also home to many zany weapons which are at times just outright bizarre. Projectile Weapons range from a normal Bazooka (that the first time I called a bazooka normal!) to a Banana Bomb, Mortar and a whole lot more. Firearms include an Uzi, Shotgun, Longbow, Minigun and a Handgun. Close combat weapons include a baseball bat, Fire Punch and the oh so brilliant Kamikaze where the worm launches itself in a horizontal or diagonal direction carving through the terrain, and any worms caught in the path will be punched out of the way as though struck by a Fire Punch. A different variety of TNT and mines then make up the drop and run style weapons.

It then gets even crazier as you go on as there is a selection of animals that want to blow you up. These include the mad cow, mole bomb, skunk, the oh so dangerous sheep. Air strikes can also be called and there are many different types ranging from a Carpet Bomb, a French Sheep Strike and the Mail bomb. Lastly there is weapons that affect the whole play area. These included Low Gravity, Earthquake and the most powerful weapon in the game; Armageddon. There is also many tools such as the pneumatic drill, blow torch and the infamous ninja rope to aid you in moving throughout the area to get to whichever worms you want to try and blow up. If your looking for a full weapons list you can check out the weapons Wikipedia entry.

The Games:

To date there has been 13 Worms game. As I said at the start of the retrospective the game started out life on the Amiga. In total there were two Worms games released over the life cycle of the Amiga- namely Worms (the original) and Worms: The Director’s Cut. The Director’s Cut version was completely written by Andy Davidson while at the same time guys at Team17 were programming Worms 2. The game did not do too well at retail and supposedly only amassed total sales of around 5000 units. There was also two other versions of the Worms made before the move to Worms 2. There was The Full Wormage (1998) and Worms United (1996), of which were both available on DOS.

Then the move to Worms 2 (1998) happened and it was all changed for the wormverse. First off the game engine was completely redesigned for use with Microsoft’s DirectX. Coinciding with this engine change the tone of the game also went all cartoony (a big change from the original’s dark tone) which is now the familiar look for the game today. Worms 2 also heralded the first time Worms went online. Disappointingly though the interface was less than spectacular and far too much hassle was needed to get the game online leading many to not even bother but this was all soon to change in 1999.

In 1999 everyone was getting ready for the new millennium but no such things were on the mind of the worms. All they had on their minds was absolute Armageddon and thus came the release of the seventh game in the series; Worms: Armageddon. Armageddon included one of the biggest single player games of any of the games to date. In total 33 missions were available for gamers to play through in the single player campaign. The game also upped the stakes in the graphics and sound department, along with a few new weapons and items as well. Armageddon also heralded the addition of WormsNET which was a huge improvement over the online facilities included in Worms 2 which lead to loads of online matches. Worms: Armageddon was released on many platforms but is mostly played on the PC.

The next game in the series was Worms World Party which was originally release on the Sega Dreamcast with a PC release shortly thereafter. The game had a lot in common with Worms: Armageddon but with almost zero improvements over the previous game. Sales were not high. 2003 heralded the release of the first 3D version of the Worms series and the game was uninspiringly titled Worms 3D. This was the first time the worms could move around in a 3D environment but it was though that the move to 3D took away some essence of what made Worms special. Two more 3D games have been released since the titled, Worms Forts: Under Siege and Worms 4: Mayhem but have still not got the magic of the 2D version back.

The greatest game in the series is still believed to be Worms Armageddon and even with the series going 3D this 2D version is still the most played game in the series. Worms: Armageddon also won many awards during its year of release.

The Awards Included:

– Most original game – EMAP Awards
– Best game – BBC’s Live & Kicking
– Most original game – ECTS Awards
– Best game – Micro Mania Awards
– Classic Award – PC Zone
-Strategy game of the year – EG Monthly
– Best strategy game – Trophee d’or
– Best game – Micro Mania Awards
– Multiplayer game of the year – GMBH

At the time of writing there is currently thought to be three Worms games in development. Two variants of Worms Open Warfare are in development for the PSP and the Nintendo DS which will be release during the summer of 2006. It is also thought that Team17 are planning to release a version of Worms on the Xbox 360’s Live Arcade but this is not expected until 2007 at the earliest.

Worms Has Appeared On:

– PC
– Mac
– Dreamcast
– Nintendo 64
– Nintendo
– Game Boy and
– Game Boy Advance
– GameCube
– Nokia N-Gage
– PlayStation
– PlayStation 2
– Saturn
– PocketPC
– Xbox
– Amiga
– Amiga CD32
– Genesis
– Jaguar