Worms: Ultimate Mayhem

Whatever happened to Team 17? In my childhood these guys were amazing, with classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog (Superfrog!) and, of course Worms.

I used to own the Amiga 500 version of Worms - and it was alright. The idea was simple: Your team of worms attempted to destroy your enemies with various weapons, and devices (exploding sheep!!) causing carnage and having a lot of fun.

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For the uninitiated, Worms is a turn based strategic shooter which involves sending your team of commandos up against various other teams, with the simple ideal of total enemy annihilation.

Locations and terrain vary, but the catch is that your team of commandos are worms; sometimes with moustaches, sometimes with Afros, and always looking slightly play-doughish. This is probably for the best, as death and destruction are imminent in a way only a Lemming could understand. In fact Lemmings fans will probably enjoy and slightly recognise the high pitched voice of the protagonists, which seemed very cult in the 90s but now begins to grate a bit after a few games.

However, the big selling point of Worms has always been the wanton violence inflicted with an eclectic mix of weaponry, and Ultimate Mayhem has it's fair share. Exploding sheep aside, you'll also have access to (among other things) a "Sho Ryu Ken" flaming uppercut, tactical aerial bombings, dynamite, mallets, and - of course - the staple bazooka.

It all sounds fun, and it is, but it's hindered by a combination of frustrating camera angles, dodgy targeting systems (I concede that could be me, at least in part) and the occasional level so overtly multilayered that you spend less time shooting and more time trying to find someone to shoot.

It's annoying enough trying to shoot someone from behind a wall, but when you're out in the open but the camera is still stuck behind the wall?! Ugh.

Campaign Mode is basically exactly that; a series of missions loosely strung together by various themes. It's not really why you should download this game though. Multiplayer offers a solid selection of game types and maps to keep you and some friends occupied for a few hours in intense Worm destruction. Campagin could almost be viewed as training for Multiplayer, as the AI isn't great and, in all honesty, you probably wont play this very much by yourself once you've given multiplayer a go.

This all might sound a little negative, but in a world where several cult games have had varied attempts at reboots (Wolfenstein, Castlevania… Duke Nukem) it's good to see Team 17 taking a different approach, with something more of a re-introduction.

There's plenty of content - essentially a mish mash of both Worms 3D and Worms 4: Mayhem - and the game is relatively cheap. Then again, being made from two games that haven't aged well, it looks cheap too.

The 3D graphics add to the cartoonish feel but, to quote my flatmate, "seems a waste on the Xbox and flat screen mate". As mentioned above, the sound isn't going to change your world either. The high pitched voices just became out and out annoying, and we ended up muting it to put on our own soundtrack instead.

In the end, the main problem with Worms Ultimate Mayhem is that nothing has really moved forward. This complaint can go back to Worms 3D, but it's difficult to justify recommending this to any long time fans. Frankly, Worms 1 and 2 had better gameplay, and if you already have 3D or Mayhem, then picking this up verges on pointless.

Perhaps the problem is I'm unsure who this game is aimed at. Older fans like me can enjoy the nostalgia factor, but then there's not the level of depth to gameplay I now tend to enjoy. There's not even the level of depth I enjoyed as a kid. Then again, the younger generation (children - not you self-righteous teen / 20 somethings) may warm to this more - in which case Worms may be that Doobie Brothers album that your dad played when you were young, that suddenly isn't too bad as you get older.

Or it may just be John Denver's greatest hits.

"Team 17’s franchise is getting close to 20 years old. It looks 40."
- Worms: Ultimate Mayhem
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (1)

Posted by siamese
On Monday 21 Nov 2011 8:41 AM
Superfrog was awesome