Review by Not Dave

"Don't let this game fool you - bananas are still an excellent source of potassium"

Mr T lifted the holy hand grenade, pulled out the pin with the hand he... doesn't have, and counted. "One, two, FIVE!"

Bill Clinton screamed at him, "No, foo - it's three!"

"Right, right!", exclaimed Mr T. He then counted to three and hurled the holy hand grenade right in the smiling face of Rosie O'Donnell. All the worms looked at Rosie in astonishment and anticipation, and a "Hallelujah" was exclaimed by what seemed to be the grenade itself. A massive explosion followed this exclamation. All that was left of Rosie O' Donnell after this was a grave that seemed to have appeared instantly. Masked by the explosion, some witnesses claimed they could hear "Ohh BUMMER!!" from none other than Rosie, herself.

And it is scenarios like the above that make Worms Armageddon such an absolutely incredible and entertaining game. One of the most interesting parts in the game is the ability to make your own team of eight worms. You can pick whatever you want for their team name, and can have a re-occurring theme for your members like "US Presidents", or can just go off-the-wall and pick random people to be represented by your squirmy little creatures. Your team captained by Richard Simmons can have Chuck Norris on the front lines, and Batman holding back the fort. You then can choose a special secret weapon for your brigade - choices range from mad cows to exploding old women to homing pigeons. There is a massive array of zany weapons to accompany the previously mentioned holy hand grenade, and these make for an enormous amount of fun. You also choose their graves. Should you happen to lose a few comrades along your journeys, they instantly receive a proper burial. On top of that, you have full control over what your worms sound like - whether you want them to be yelling in the voices of rednecks, the British, or basically just any stereotype you can come up with. You then choose a flag and victory music for your worms, and they are sent out into the real world. The real world, of course, being a colourful selection of rather small (yet likely gigantic to a worm flying overhead on a jet pack) randomly designed levels. You can wage battles against your friends, enemies, mother, or even your clever old computer's teams.

In preparation for these quick battles, you are in complete control of the rules. You can change almost every detail in the game options. You choose how many worms will be fighting for each team, how many rounds they'll duke it out for, and how much of each weapon and accessory appear on the battlefield. After each battle, the game keeps detailed records of your statistics and team rankings.

In addition to these quick battles are several other wonderful, challenging game modes. The first to be discussed is training. In training mode, your worm captain, who is simply the first on your team list, will go through several various exercises to get you ready for the other modes. First your little warrior will be trained in basic aspects of combat, from throwing grenades to how to shoot his bazooka while keeping the force of wind in mind. He also gets to come to grips with how to manoeuvre himself around the area with the use of ninja ropes, which allow for a lot of fun and take quite a bit of skill to master. The challenges of the cadet's time in the academy become harder and harder - directing super sheep around to collect tonnes of crates filled with supplies isn't the easiest thing for a young rookie worm to pull off. Nor is shooting an endless supply of old women with a limited amount of arms. But, whenever your worm graduates from the academy, he can go on with his seven friends to make an attempt at the other game modes - missions and deathmatches.

Mission mode contains a variety of thirty-eight different challenging scenarios. Worms Headquarters sends your troops to seemingly random locations to complete a set goal. Whether you must simply kill all the opposing worms, protect a valuable worm, or kill the enemy commander, you are sure to have fun in the process. There is one mission on a pumpkin patch, one on a bowl of fruit, and even one on Team 17's logo. In one mission, you have to scale the Eiffel Tower with little more than a bow and some arrows to find and kill a very well protected enemy. Now, if you happen to lose your gallant worms in the heat of battle, it's okay. You can attempt the missions as many times as you would like. However, there's a catch. Once you complete the mission, you are graded on it. If you succeed first try, you get a gold medal. Second gets you a silver, and below that will net you a bronze. So, if you fail five times in a row then finally complete it, you'll have to finish it successfully the very next time if you want to snag yourself a nice, shiny, gold medal. Getting all of the gold medals is quite the challenge, but it is rewarding as well.

Something that will have you cursing at your computer monitor and that will steal even more of your time than mission mode is the deathmatch. It starts off very easy - you greatly outnumber your foes eight-to-three and must simply dispose of them in order to come out as the victor. The starting opponents are also the weakest computer AI. But, as you complete the deathmatches, they begin to get what would perceive as impossibly hard. Often you'll find your team of worms horribly outnumbered, and with a very limited arsenal. On your road to becoming champion, you must guide a measly two worms on their way to defeating fifteen enemies - all on the hardest computer setting. You have to overcome this horrible obstacle of being short on worms and triumph over the other teams so you can move your way up the ranks and become "Elite" - the highest honour of deathmatches.

If you have enough confidence in your abilities as a worm commander, you can bring your squad into an Internet server to compete against some worthy opponents. Over WORMNET, you can find many different challenges issued by the game's host, whether it be a race through a self-designed maze using only ninja ropes, or just a full-on doomsday battle using the “Full Wormage” rule set. The online Worms community is full of very skilled players, and it can take hours on end to be able to put up a fight against these formidable fellows.

Another neat feature of Worms is the ability to design your own battlefields in a pretty detailed little level editor, and then bring those levels to life by throwing skunks across the terrain or dropping air strikes on your opponents. You can also raise the water levels in your custom levels so that if a worm isn't extremely careful with where he or she is jumping, they will end up in the drink. And worms can't exactly do the backstroke very well.

One of the great things about Worms Armageddon is how easily it can be controlled with your mouse and keyboard. Nothing is awkward about the controls, and every option and item is readily available with the press of very few keys. The controls for the PC version are much more friendly and easier to get used to than using a joypad for one of the console versions of the game.

Worms Armageddon is open to more possibilities than you can count. Should you swing your baseball bat at your opponent for a home run sending him all the way across the field, send an aqua sheep down under the water only to come up and surprise your unsuspecting foe with an explosion, or take an honourable death for your weakened worm by using the kamikaze skill – sacrificing yourself for the better of your worm army? The sheer variety of weapons is overwhelming. And to accompany them are various other accessories, like low gravity, laser sight, and the aforementioned jet packs and ninja ropes.

Come to think of it, in the time it took me to write this little review, I could've been throwing moles and banana bombs at opposing worms! This game's flawless cartoon graphics, massive array of weapons, incredible potential for customization and great set of game modes will keep you constantly coming back for more. There is nothing more you can ask for from a war-like turn-based strategy title. Worms Armageddon delivers, and it is guaranteed that it will keep you in your computer chair for a very long time, and even longer if you have a friend who will willingly compete against you for the honour of being the Worms champion!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/18/06

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