Worms (1995 video game)
|Release date(s)||Amiga, CD32, Game Boy & Mac
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Worms is a turn based game where a player controls a team of worms against other teams of worms that are controlled by a computer or human opponent. The aim is to use various weapons to kill the worms on the other teams and have the last surviving worm(s).
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The game was originally created by Andy Davidson as an entry for a Blitz BASIC programming competition run by the Amiga Format magazine, a cut-down version of the programming language having been covermounted previously. The game at this stage was called Total Wormage (possibly in reference to Total Carnage) and it did not win the competition. Davidson sent the game to several publishers with no success. He then took the game to the European Computer Trade Show, where he met with Mark Foreman – Head Games Buyer at GEM Distribution. Mark suggested to Andy that he should speak to Ocean/Team17 as they would be an ideal partner – they also had a stand at the show. Team17 made an offer on-the-spot to develop and publish the game.
During the development of Worms 2, Andy Davidson wrote Worms – The Director's Cut, a special edition produced exclusively for the Amiga. Only 5000 copies were ever sold. It was also the last version released for the Commodore Amiga platform from which the game originated.
The references to the developers' home county, Yorkshire, is visible, with a soundbank named "Tykes", which is a Yorkshire accent, and in the "Hell" level found in the single player mission mode, a sign with "Welcome to Ossett! Ha! ha! ha!" written on it.
In 1995, Team 17 began development on a port of Worms to Nintendo's portable game console the Virtual Boy. The game was to be published by Ocean, but was canceled only weeks into development as a result of Nintendo's discontinuation of the console.
Character, level and sound design
The game's graphics and sound design is primarily 'cartoon-like' (though less so than the later games in the series). Levels designs are randomly generated by the use of alpha-numeric strings as their seeds. The object and landscape sets used to generate the field are arranged into 'themes' including forests, martian landscapes, beaches and 'hell'.
Worms is the first in the Worms series of games. A remake, also called Worms, for the Xbox 360 was released in 2007. It has since been released to the PS3, in April 2009, and on the iPhone on July 11, 2009.
Worms Reinforcements (1996) is an expansion pack for Worms, which was later amalgamated with the original game to create Worms and Reinforcements United (a.k.a. Worms United or Worms Utd.) the same year. Released only for the PC, it added a single player campaign and the ability to add custom levels and soundpacks (which was already available for the Amiga version). It also included an introductory FMV.
Worms: The Director's Cut
Worms: The Director's Cut (1997) is a sequel to Worms, available only on the Amiga. It is largely built upon the original Amiga game engine with various gameplay enhancement and additions, as well as graphical improvements and fixes.
Reviewing the Saturn version, Sega Saturn Magazine especially praised Worms's unexpected complexity and the fun of multiplayer mode, and called it "Quite simply the most playable game to hit the Saturn so far." Maximum commented that "Basically, Worms is Lemmings, but it's without the puzzles and with weapons instead." While firmly stating that they found the game dull and unappealing, they acknowledged that it was clearly well-liked by gamers. GamePro summarized that "A humorous concept never really pays off in Worms." They criticized that the tiny size of the characters and their weapons makes them unappealing and even hard to make out. While allowing that the use of the different weapons is interesting at first, they found the action too slow-paced and repetitive to maintain interest. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly commented that "Some games have great graphics and control, but Worms doesn't need either because the fun factor is a 10+. With multiplayer ability of up to four people, Worms is one of those games that is so unique, it doesn't fit into any category - except innovative and incredibly addictive."
GameSpot scored the PC version a 7.6/10. They criticized the slowness of large multiplayer sessions and the imprecision of the keyboard controls, but, like Sega Saturn Magazine, they lauded the combination of surface simplicity and underlying complexity, summarizing that "Like the board game Othello, Worms takes only a few minutes to learn, but may take a lifetime to master."
Conversely, the Amiga Power review, written in the style of a magazine personality quiz, whilst praising the detail of the animation, described frustrating imbalances especially in relation to the vaunted 16-player multi-player mode and was critical of the puerility of the game's humour.
- Worms at MobyGames
- Worms review from CU Amiga Magazine (Dec 1995) – Amiga Magazine Rack
- IGN [ Worms Blast Preview]
- GameSpy [ Worms: Open Warfare Developer Diary]
- Merrett, Steve (January 1996). "Review: Worms". Sega Saturn Magazine (3). Emap International Limited. pp. 86–87.
- Worms (Playstation) Review
- "Worms Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (82): 32. May 1996.
- Ward, Trent (May 1, 1996). "Worms Review". GameSpot. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- "Amiga Power Issue 57". Internet Archive. Future plc. January 1996. p. 30–32. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- "Maximum Reviews: Worms". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (3): 158. January 1996.
- "Maximum Reviews: Worms". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (3): 144. January 1996.
- "ProReview: Worms". GamePro. IDG (93): 64. June 1996.