A review in AMIGA POWER has two purposes: to explain the operation of a game, and to convey the reviewer's opinion of it. In the case of Team 17's much delayed Worms, the first bit is simple: it's Scorched Tanks, the PD game where you take it in turns with Player 2 to fire cannonballs at each other's tanks, except with more tanks, te option to move about, a wider variety of weaponry, and other modifications.
The second bit, however, is more difficult. In fact, having been to the shops and purchased a copy of Worms (Team 17, of course, still being unwilling to send us copies of their games to review), I find myself unable to decide whether or not you would be advised to follow suit.
Instead I have compiled a multiple-choice questionnaire, and suggest that you 'do' it, make a note of your answers, tot up your score and check it against the 'How Did You Score?' section at the end.
1 It's called 'Worms', and in it your control a worm. Do you:
a) Snigger uncontrollably for up to 20 minutes, eventually collapsing on the floor unable to breathe and having to be taken away in an ambulance.
b) Sigh, and mutter something about programmers.
c) Refuse to become involved with it.
2. After a brief search of the surrounding area, you locate:
a) No one at all.
b) A friend
c) Up to sixteen other players.
What about the Clangers, eh?
3. Upon discovering that the worms in one of the pre-programmed teams are named after old children's television programmes, do you:
a) Say "Cor, yeah, I remember them. And what about the Clangers, eh? And whatever happened to Spangles? Eh?"
b) Close your eyes and think very hard about something else.
c) Punch the wall.
4. You have to think up some names for the four worms in your team. Do you:
a) Gleefully run through your entire vocabulary of swear words and anatomical terms, your typing made difficult by protracted bouts of convulsive sniggering.
b) Stick with the default old children's television programmes.
c) Plump for '1', '2', '3' and '4'.
Curse the day you were born
5. Although the backgrounds are quite attractive, with levels generated at random in settings like the desert and a scrapyard, the worms themselves are miniscule, and impossible to distinguish when they overlap. Your reaction?
a) "Look at the animation, though, eh? Brilliant! Did you see that, when he did a karate kick?"
b) "Gameplay, that's what it's all about. Yeah, Sensible Soccer etc".
c) A wry smile as you imagine the Play Station reviews.
6. It turns out that speeded-up samples are used to provide the worms with amusing squeaky voices, with which they can say things like "Hiee-ya!", "Oof!" and "Stupid!" Do you:
a) Cry "Ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant! Did you hear that? Excellent! And certainly not, for example, a feeble rip-off of one of Lemmings' more irritating aspects."
b) Turn the volume down.
c) Curse the day you were born.
A latex-enveloped finger
7. Having had your go, while waiting up toa quarter of an hour for the fifteen other players to have their go, do you:
a) Peer over their shoulders, spluttering lines like "How hard's your worm?", "I bet I have a bigger worm than you", and, "Leave my worm alone" until your cheeks begin to ache.
b) Shout encouragement to the rest of your team.
c) Die of old age.
8. Your friends all leave, and you find yourself playing Worms on your own. Do you:
a) Entertain yourself by compiling a mental list of further hilarious 'worm' jokes with which to amuse your friends next time.
b) Grimace as the computer-controlled worms first jump about to no obvious effect for several seconds, then either blow themselves up unconvincingly or fire a bazooka across two screens against a 90mph prevailing wind hitting their target with pinpoint accuracy.
c) Knock yourself unconscious by running head-first at the wall in the hope that you'll wake up several years later to find that the magnetic particles on your Worms disks have degraded to the pint where they are no longer readable.
9. In a two-player game (which turns out to the best compromise), by executing a series of carefully-calculated tactics, you manage to kill three of your opponent's four worms with no losses to your own. Do you:
a) Rub your hands together and say, "Say goodbye to your worm." or something.
b) Express relief that it will soon be over.
c) Remark, "Hang on. We're still taking it in turns to move. Every time one of my worms has a go, yours gets a go as well. So your worm effectively gets four goes for each go mine set.
So if, for example, one of my worms is standing helpless next to yours, you can kill him at your leisure before beginning to pick off the others. This is clearly stupid. Through my cunning I outnumber you four to one, and should therefore win easily, but instead the game will drag on for another 20 minutes."
10. Removing your collection of AP coverdisks from their climate-controlled vault and flicking through them with a latex-enveloped finger, you notice that:
a) One of AP41's disks contains Scorched Tanks
b) Someone has made off with your Scorched Tanks disk, occasioning you to have to send off for a back issue.
c) Except that all the relevant back issues have been pulped by AP's heavy-handed puppeteer paymasters.
|1.||a) 31||b) 0||c) -10|
|2.||a) -35||b) 40||c) 18|
|3.||a) 8||b) 0||c) 0|
|4.||a) 14||b) 0||c) 0|
|5.||a) 23||b) 4||c) -16|
|6.||a) 11||b) -3||c) -11|
|7.||a) 16||b) 3||c) -19|
|8.||a) 4||b) -15||c) -41|
|9.||a) 5||b) 0||c) -9|
|10.||a) -35||b) 11||c) -15|
How Did You Score?
Up to 40
You will not enjoy Worms. Months of painstaking development have, you will feel, utterly wrecked the Scorched Tanks formula, whose very simplicity was its prime attraction, and which was never meant to be anything more than a free PD game.
Casting Worms aside, you will wonder why, if releasing a revamped version of Scorched Tanks at £30 is such a great idea, no-one did it ten years ago.
Between 41 and 69
While accepting that Worms has its faults, something about it will entertain you, assuming you can find someone to play it against and thus avoid the mind-crippling tedium of the one-player game.
Perhaps it's the amusing animation; perhaps the way practising with it allows you to defeat less experienced opponents, as in all good multi-player games; perhaps the opportunity for side-splitting 'worm' innuendo. Whatever, Worms is far from a disaster although, given that playing it on your own is out, you may as well wait for one of your pals to crack and buy it first.
Between 41 and 69
You're Amiga Format, aren't you?