- Original release year: 1995
- Consoles: Amiga, CD32, Game Boy, Apple Mac, Dos, Mega Drive/Genesis, Playstation, SNES, Saturn, Jaguar.
During the mid 90s, PC style games were going through something of a renaissance, with developers left, right and centre coming up with original, innovative and unique titles to take advantage of the personal computer (or Amiga or whatever).
In 1995, one of those titles was the now infamous and fondly remembered Worms; a hilarious turn-based artillery strategy game, starring anthropomorphised worms. It took the basic mechanics of the old-school gem, Tanks, and basically took it to the next level.
Worms works like this (for those who have lived under a rock for the past 21 years): You and your opponent take turns to control a member of your worms team. You have a short amount of time to make your move. During this team, you can slowly move your worm across the terrain, jump, look around the map and decide your next move. Ultimately, your aim is to kill your opponent’s worms. You have a selection of weapons to choose from, as well as some useful inventory items that may help you (such as making it easier to travel across the terrain), e.g. bungee rope or a drill. You win once all your enemy’s worms are dead.
Once you are ready to fire your weapon, you move the cursor, with 360 degrees of control, aim and then hold down the attack whilst watching the power meter, letting go when you have decided your shot is powerful enough. You need to time it just right.
There isn’t a lot more to say than that. The concept is simple, but it’s effective, addictive fun and one of the best series of strategy games ever. What has really helped the games stand out though, is developer, Team 17’s, great sense of humour.
Weapons include the usual suspects, e.g. rocket launchers, guns and grenades, but then there’s the exploding sheep: A hopping, barring sheep that explodes. Or there’s the banana bombs, a cluster bomb that bounces across the map. The weapons only got wackier and more interesting as the series continued (although it kinda lost its way post-Armageddon – the third game in the series).
The other thing that made Worms so great, was the diverse maps and destructible terrain. This meant maps were not static, but dynamic as the matches progress. Tunnels can be formed and terrain can be destroyed, adding an interesting twist to the game’s mechanics. There’s also the wind to consider, which also changes, meaning aiming and force will always need to be considered depending on what the wind is doing (if your weapon is affected by the wind).
Worms, to this day, is still an absolute must play, for pure multiplayer style fun with your friends. Sure, nowadays, I find Worms Armageddon is my favourite in the series, but it all started with this gem right here, the original 1995 classic.