[GAME MASTER]Worms Mayhem“Worms Mayhem” is the fourth game in the Worms series, and the best game since “Worms Armageddon” first emerged from its hole.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, “Worms” is a turn-based team warfare game that takes place on a limited map. (In other words, “Lemmings” with guns.) It features a cartoony style and irreverent design ― the original was so entertaining it could suck up hours in what felt like minutes. The later games, especially “Worms 3D,” which liberated the little invertebrates from their flat environment into three dimensions, ran into a few gameplay problems. Fortunately, many of these are fixed in “Mayhem.”
At a glance, this game appears the same as “Worms 3D,” because the animation is identical. Many fans of the series disliked “3D” because the new perspective made it nearly impossible to control the worms, while movement keys were sometimes unresponsive. However, these bugs have been worked out with new camera angles and slightly different controls.
Most of the movement glitches in the previous game also have been resolved. Although gameplay is hardly seamless, in this version your worms won’t spend half their time stuck in a wall.
Then there is the matter of difficulty, which was a problem with previous versions. In this update, the difficulty of the levels is well calibrated, and most single-player games become steadily harder, although every once in a while a mission pops up that is impossible compared to the others.
New features include an item shop that sells weapons, maps and accessories to use in the multiplayer mode. Another fun new feature allows players to design new weapons and game styles, as well as put hats, sunglasses and even facial hair on your team's worms.
There are more than enough different options to chose from, and as your team advances you'll be able to afford more at the item shop.
All the classics like the bazooka, banana bombs, holy hand-grenade and air strikes are still here, with the addition of poison arrows, snipers and sentry guns. There is no lack of firepower in this game, and with a destructible landscape on some levels, it is still possible to blow up the entire map.
In single-player mode, there is an amusing storyline about time travel, but it's not really important. At best, the stories add some variety to the gameplay. There are several types of missions, ranging from item collecting to the good old-fashioned deathmatch.
The cutscenes are actually quite well-animated, but I encourage all to use the “subtitles only” option as the default worm voice is one of the most annoying sounds that has ever wriggled out of my computer. Naturally, the little fleshballs make the same kind of snide remarks in-game that have come to be a signature of the series, but this time there is an even larger selection of voices to choose from.
All in all, this is the same kind of simple, fun, “blow the living crap out of everyone else” game that characterizes the Worms franchise. Although there are few real differences from the last edition, it does iron out all of its problems and makes the series more accessible to the Worms novice. It should make a great pick-up-and-play game to provide hours of explosive entertainment.
by Ethan Applegate
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