Review by NeoGeo

"Worms is great fun in multiplayer, but terrible if you are playing on your own."

Of the two worms games on the Dreamcast, I decided to purchase World Party because it was the most up to date and had the newest features and weapons. I wasn’t disappointed with the latest version; in fact, it has been improved slightly from the earlier titles on computer and, well, most platforms. But it only has a certain amount of gameplay and after the initial fun you lose interest.
The ideas from the first game are still there and the concept is simple: you command a team of four worms in an attempt to obliterate your enemy. You are armed to the teeth with various tools of death such as: exploding sheep, banana bombs, air strikes, concrete donkeys and tons of others. Rounds for each worm are to a set time limit and you can climb, jump and swing over the thousands of possible terrains you fight on.

Graphics: 6/10
They are simplistic, slightly 2D and 3D at the same time. They are not detailed but have a high definition and the animation of your worms is comic like. The levels you fight battles on are totally flat with a colourful background. Scenery on the level is totally destructible and can often lead to your worms being blown into the sea below. The visuals have been much improved since the worms first hit the PC and PSone several years back. In the first worms game the characters were low-quality sprites and everything looked fuzzy. Now a basic type of cell shading has been used for the worms. This is especially noticeable in the great looking cut scenes. The whole game looks and plays very like the PC and DC versions of Armageddon, with only weapon and level additions to the already nice looking game.

Sound and Music: 6/10
Sound was probably not high on Team 17’s list of things to improve in the game. There are the simple, repeated war themes that are similar to tracks in earlier games; there is some repeated music whilst you play, but you only notice it when you are waiting for your go. Sound effects are ok but then again there is nothing special here as well. The worms sound effects are quite cheesy and you would have thought that there could have been some sort of commentary instead of the text boxes at the top of the screen. Even voiceovers from the worms you play as would have been better. The best effects are the good sounds that have been recorded for the weapons, such as lobbing a grenade over a wall: hearing the metal casing hitting the rock surface is great. All the different items of war in the game have some sort of sound, but a lot of the effects are repeated for similar weapons. Team 17 could have improved this part of the game by including more interesting and noticeable tracks and possibly more voiceovers for the worms’ reaction to someone’s actions.

Gameplay: 9/10
It’s not so much complex or taxing on the brain, as it is just plain laugh-out-loud fun. You wouldn’t have thought an old game series that is mostly 2D and has slow load times would make a game with good gameplay … but it does! The main game is split into various game modes: quick match, training, time attack, missions, death match and a multi-player match where you can customise almost anything. There are almost too many modes of play and things to do. A large portion of the gameplay comes in the form of 45 missions that increase in difficulty, making progression tricky. There are, however, a few minor problems with the game. First of all, there are the slightly annoying load times. They are no way as long as the times you have to wait whilst playing Soldier of Fortune, but they are lengthy and have a very blank load screen (black with one or two words). There should have been some sort of game art in the background or an interactive item like the load screen in Phantasy Star Online, but these suggestions are lacking. Navigating the menus in Worms World Party, you will notice that the pictures are drawn in a similar comic-book style, but because of the large images and small text, selecting the game you want to play is more tricky if you are not familiar with this or any other worms game.

Overall: 7/10
A polished 2D strategy game that provides plenty of multi-player fun. It has improved a lot from the first game, but it is not really a must own Dreamcast title due to its small flaws. The most annoying aspect when playing Worms World Party is the medium to high difficulty setting and the slow load times on all modes of play. Playing the game is exactly the same as previous titles except for the fact that there are a few new weapons to get your teeth into and master. Controlling your worm can be tricky at times when using the Dreamcast pad, so I recommend trying out the keyboard to see if it suits you better. You will get the most enjoyment out of the multi-player modes; especially if you play with three other people, the fighting can be fierce and explosive. Single player is ok but is not the strongest point in the game. Luckily, if you don’t have four controllers, you can just set the first controller to all the teams then pass it to the other players. And if you’ve got no one to play with you can always play the CPU, but this is unrealistic due to the fact that the computer hardly ever makes mistakes and aims perfectly. Plus there is the small problem with having to wait for the CPU-controlled worm to “think”. By the amount of time it takes to make a decision you would think it was plotting to take over the world with nuclear weapons.

Rent or Buy?
Unless you are a worms’ fan or like the strategy/war genre then you probably won’t love this game. But if you are one of those people you should rent it and maybe buy. I bought it. I am not a massive fan of worms, but I play the games on and off and enjoy them. If you come across this game, then it will most likely be cheap so even if you don’t get tons of play from it then it’s still worth purchasing. When buying this game, if you haven’t already got a keyboard. then I suggest getting hold of one to recreate the PC experience on your Dreamcast.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/06/02, Updated 12/06/02

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