Worms Armageddon

Scratch the pointless singleplayer and this is a five-star game.

Every game from the Worms series draws with its comical violence, silly weapons and involving strategy. Supporting both online and one-on-one matches on a single computer, Worms Armageddon is often regarded as the best of the series. But even with its juvenile humor and cartoony-style gameplay, you’ll find a solid strategy game thrown in there.


An explosive mishap sends them worms flyin’

Matches in Worms Armageddon are turn-based between two or more teams that can be either human or AI controlled. Each side is handed an army of squeaky-voiced worms randomly distributed over a 2D battlefield, where they take turns blasting, burning and machinegunning each other into smaller bits. You’re only able to control a single worm per turn, making strategy paramount as to how you’ll inflict maximum damage to the other guy. The gameplay is inherently slower because of its turn-based structure, occasionally having the feel of a tabletop game like Chess (albeit with more rocket launchers).

The endearing invertebrates featured in this game come packing some hilarious firepower, ranging from simple shotguns and high explosives to flying sheep or exploding skunks that release noxious fumes. Coming in all shapes and sizes, Armageddon’s 60 weapons and gadgets are distributed logically along twelve rows, making finding things easier than expected. Using these tools of destruction (and in some cases tactical construction) effectively will depend on particular circumstances.

The Flamethrower is powerful but has very short range. Napalm Strikes cover a large area but can be easily diverted by strong winds. The baseball bat does little damage but can send worms flying off the map. Shotguns and Longbows have the added ability of allowing two shots instead of one. It seems amazing that no weapon has been thrown in haphazardly, each one having its own intuitive strength and limitation.

The game supports both single and multiplayer matches, both enjoying a nice degree of customization. The solo missions task you with specific objectives that require quite a lot of skill, usually involving collecting a crate or killing a worm. Many target practice missions are also included on the side. But the singleplayer is pretty much filler and not a whole lot of fun, chiefly due to mission difficulty and a predictable AI. You can fortunately build you own matches thanks to the skirmish mode, which also allows for turn-based multiplayer on the same computer.

snap71The only downside to all of this is that you’re pretty much required to play against other people to have fun, as the basic AI is terrible. Computer-controlled worms are programmed to use only a handful of weapons, such as the Shotgun, Bazooka or Grenade. When it runs out of its basic armory, while still having more powerful weapons, it will pathetically revert to skipping turns. It’s unable to make common sense judgements like not running towards the edge of a map after firing a weapon, or using the Ninja Rope or Jetpack to get to a better position. If anything, the AI makes for good target practice when learning the weapons.

Along with Worms World Party, WA enjoys considerable online attention on GameRanger, and buying it will also allow you to play on WormNET. Both make it easy to find human players online, and encompass the most this game has to offer. Competition is fierce and the strategy remarkable – the toughest, most grueling and spectacular fights are conducted online, so make sure to give it a shot (a fully updated Worms Armageddon will work flawlessly in GameRanger).

System Requirements: Pentium 100 Mhz, 16 MB RAM, 2MB SVGA Video, Windows 95/98

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