Written by Cyclaws
-Kevin Street (Cyclaws).
Since 1995, Worms has evolved from a simple 2D strategy game, to 3D, colourful and certainly a very different game. In 2006, Worms wear hats, recognise threats to them, and even use customised weapons. There is a very split opinion on whether or not the 3D transition was a good one.
Back in ’95 the game Worms was a simple one. Take a team of four worms, some wacky weapons, a randomly generated landscape, and blow the hell out of any enemy Worms you could. Due to the success of this game, it got itself an expansion pack (Worms Reinforcements). The two were then released as Worms and Reinforcements United. Much of Team17’s Worms fan-base originated from this game, and incidentally, the release of Worms 3D lost Team17 some on its fans (although the 3D Worms brought in, shall we say, a new ‘generation’ of ‘Wormers’).
The release of a sequel was inevitable. Two years after the release of Worms, Team17 brought us just what we wanted. Worms 2 had a much more cartooned look, new weapons, new single player campaigns, and multiplayer/online playability. This was the first time a Worms game could play online, and it was certainly a right move by Team17. Fans of the game loved it.
Just one year after Worms 2 was released, Worms Armageddon was thrust into the welcoming hands of ‘Wormers’. In 1998 one of the most popular, if not the most popular Worms game was released. This game became popular for several reasons: it was very customisable, with maps and schemes easily created. WormNET was a lot easier to use this time around, and back when it was released, people could enjoy ranked games online. Unfortunately, these were removed later on, however patching of the game continues thanks to Deadcode, and in V4 of Worms Armageddon, the ranking system will be back! Worms Armageddon is still played by people online to this day, and many of the people who have been playing since its release have got a very good name for themselves.
In 2001, Sega decided that they wanted a piece of the action, and Team17 were asked to develop Worms World Party for the Sega Dreamcast. Worms World Party was essentially Worms Armageddon, but it came with more missions and a few more features. A lot of the ‘Worming’ community were not impressed with Worms World Party, as it didn’t add a whole lot more to the series. With Deadcode continually adding features to Worms Armageddon, many people feel that Worms World Party is redundant. Thankfully however, Worms World Party did make a good N-Gage game.
In 2003, Team17 made their biggest (and somewhat buggiest) leap since Worms 2. 3D Worms. Two years after Worms World Party, Worms 3D was released, and whilst it was well received by some fans, many of the 2D Worms fan-base preferred the 2D games by far. Worms 3D’s single player campaign was fantastic. The downside was that it was a very buggy game. Online games would often time out, and two service-patches later, the game was still fairly buggy. On the plus side, Worms 3D did make a nice, first transition from 2D to 3D, and was a great opportunity for Team17 to learn and improve...
…which is exactly what they did. Worms Forts: Under Siege was released in 2004, and was a great improvement on Worms 3D. Although it was a spin-off to the series, (rather than the traditional aim and shoot procedure, Worms made forts, and used them to deploy even greater weapons), it was well received by some of the 3D fan-base. Its main downside was the inability to play online. Although the feature was meant to be there, it just didn’t work. Another bug? Yeah, probably.
Another year passed, and Team17 released the best Worms 3D game to date. Worms 4: Mayhem improved the 3D series drastically, as it had the same enjoyable features of Worms 3D, but added more and removed the bugs. A new single player campaign was introduced in which coins were earned for completing missions. These coins could be used to buy clothing, sound banks, and maps. Worms had more expressions, and the maps were a lot larger. Team17 really did learn from their mistakes in Worms 3D and Worms Forts: Under Siege. With the greatest net-code and new features, Worm: 4 Mayhem became very popular. If you want to try a Worms 3D game – get this one. There’s a good chance you won’t be disappointed.
Team17 decided that the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP mustn’t be forgotten, so Worms: Open Warfare was released. This game was anticipated by many fans of the 2D series, as it was a return to 2D. Unfortunately, the DS version was not well received. Not only was it buggy, but many ‘Wormers’ complained that is lacked features that were enjoyed on the other Worms games. The PSP version was better, but still not perfect.
All-in-all, Worms has certainly progressed since 1995. 11 years later, the series is still going fairly strongly. However, with Team17 saying that they’re taking a break for the series, all we can do is sit back, and wait for the next one.