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Worms World Party

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Titus
Developer: Team 17
Media: GD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

For six years now, Team 17's groundbreaking Worms series has remained famous for bringing huge laughs to the small screen in tiny, bloodthirsty packages. Worms World Party, the latest and greatest for Dreamcast fans worldwide, still retains the simplistic look and feel of its predecessors while improving a few aspects.

Don't be fooled by the first glance; underneath a seemingly modest exterior, WWP boasts the smooth character animation and beautifully rendered landscapes that every Worms veteran knows by heart. Every gut-busting sound effect is here (possibly the funniest part of the game), with added voice libraries and music for a fuller battle experience. Unfortunately, fans of the PC versions may be disappointed to know that separate soundbanks for each team cannot be used in-game; this means every worm in the round uses the same sounds, which can get a bit stale when playing a 4-team match. Still, the voices are always hysterical (personal favorites include Rednecks, Angry Scots, and UK Geezer) and the soundtrack, although a bit limited, comes through wonderfully in surround sound.


Gameplay:

The classic Worms gameplay style stays intact with this release, strengthened by loads of new features and Team 17's same comedic approach we've all come to love over the years. The premise is simple enough: worms are still blowing each other up for no apparent reason, and you get to have fun controlling them! Think of it as a radical new version of Scorched Earth, with adorable cartoon earthworms replacing those really small tanks. Weapons range from old favorites like straight-shooting Bazookas and Dynamite, to the crazier innovations of the arsenal... Super Banana Bombs, rambling Old Women, and the fear-instilling Concrete Donkey. Yes, fear the Donkey.

As its name implies, WWP focuses quite a bit on the new online interface. Now more than ever, Worm-heads have a no-hassle, quick & easy way to take on up to three opponents around the globe in heated combat on the Dreamcast. Of course, this detracts nothing from the offline multiplayer modes; even with just one controller or up to four, players can challenge their buddies in the comfort of their own living rooms in one of the most hilarious gaming experiences to ever hit the home console.

Even though the main appeal lies with its multiplayer modes, WWP offers over 40 brain-twisting single player missions and 20 updated training missions to hone your skills for the real thing. If this isn't enough incentive for owners of Worms Armageddon to go for the newest game in the bunch, a slew of fresh soundbanks, custom landscapes and never-before-seen graphics have been thrown into the mix. Just add friends and you've got one hell of a brilliant party game!


Difficulty:

When playing against the computer in a normal game, difficulty seems to be sort of a free-floating, abstract concept. No matter what setting you assign to your enemies, chances are the computer could make totally nonsensical moves one round, and then kill three of your worms with a perfectly-placed banana the next. It's impossible to tell why the CPU makes some of these moronic choices even on the hardest levels, but maybe AI wasn't one of the developers' top priorities for this game. In fact, there's no way that it was.

In solo missions and training levels, tasks range from insanely easy to insanity-inducingly difficult. This makes for great replay value, just as long as you don't end up smashing the gamepad on the floor in frustration. One gripe, though: a 'restart mission' option would be nice in single player mode, eliminating the need to lose/surrender and run through all of the menus just to start over on a particularly tough level. Jeez.


Game Mechanics:

Compared to Worms Armageddon, almost nothing's changed in the way of controls and weapon behavior. Playing with the DC gamepad may take some time for PC-only players, but if you've got a Dreamcast keyboard handy, here's a chance to put it to good use! Otherwise, the basic control scheme can be tricky during the first few games (for example, using weapons while dangling from a Ninja Rope won't be second nature for newbies), but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it all.

On the technical side of things, only two major complaints come to mind. First and most importantly, the amount of time that CPU opponents spend 'thinking' about their next idiotic move is absolutely ridiculous! Whether this be a problem with load time or an intended feature by the developers (and I sincerely hope it isn't!), it's easily the most annoying fault in the game. Nothing's more frustrating than watching a worm scratch his head for 35 seconds, only to finally act by throwing a grenade straight up into the air, which explodes in his face two seconds later. What's the point?

Another minor, yet very confusing, point comes up with the post-match stats after each battle. Titles like 'Shot of the Round' and 'Happy Shopper' go to the appropriate worms after everything's said and done... but in a match involving 16 worms, how the hell is it possible for one worm to receive both 'Most Entertaining Worm' AND 'Most Boring Worm' awards?! Sadly, it happens all the time. Don't ask why.

Aside from braindead CPUs and useless stats, though, Worms World Party belongs in the collection of anyone looking to have a great time alone, online, or with friends whilst blowing up tiny, screaming worms. It's great to see the continuation of such a phenomenal multiplayer series on the Dreamcast at a time when the system won't be around too much longer, and at around 20 bucks, there's never been a better time to Worm it up!


-Ben Monkey, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ben Lewis

Sega Dreamcast Daytona USA Nintendo GameBoy Advance Arcade Advanced

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated