Windows - 1997
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Manual, patch and misc available
Description of Worms 2
What's a Worm?
It's an interesting situation to observe when a game like the original Worms, from Team17, made such an impact on the gaming community in England, all around Europe, and even Australia, but failed to even obtain as much as an acknowledgement in the States. What was it about the incredibly cute and one of the most playable games of all time that didn't have enough appeal to US gamesplayers? Perhaps marketing was a problem, which shouldn't be an issue anymore, as Team17 have ushered in the services of bigtime publishers in both England and America, Microprose, to distribute their much-anticipated sequel, Worms 2.
Played as a turn-based strategy game, the basic premise of the original Worms put each player in control of a platoon of four little, pink, adorable worms who had the simple objective of having to annihilate all opposing worms on other teams. And wouldn't you know it, they had a full arsenal of rather varied (and hilariously comical) weapons at their disposal to achieve this. The game would generate every level's terrain randomly each time (much like Diablo) thus creating infinite possibilities in the playing field. Its addictive nature, the sheer fun factor, and the instant appeal that allowed even people who didn't regularly play computer games to just pick it up and get into was a true formula for success; the originality, wonderfully lovable characters, and the fact that the graphics (although sporting some neat animations and touches) were not particularly noteworthy made the title incredibly refreshing too, as it proved "gameplay really does matter more than graphics."
And now, they're back
As with all major successes, a sequel was inevitable; however, there really were some good reasons to get working on a second in the series. Despite graphics obviously not being a crucial factor in this game, a sprucing up would always have been welcome. Indeed, the original game, with its blocky VGA resolution, 5-pixel worms, DOS-native code, and most importantly, lack of any easy-to-use multiplayer system, especially over the Internet, could really use a upgrade.
And what's the verdict? Did the games enthusiasts at Team17 do good, and not just produce a cash-in on the original's success? Well, for the most part, yes indeed. They attended to all the above, and quite a bit more. In fact, I entered into the process of reviewing this title with several reservations about how well Worms' simplistic concept could do in today's high-tech game industry, but they all evaporated after just a few hours play. Read on, and you'll see why the game even pried a Silver award away from my stingy clutches.
The basic concept behind the gameplay of Worms 2 has pretty much remained completely stationary in the time between its and the original's release. There's still both a mix of action and strategy gameplay, as you are forced to concentrate on damaging your opponent the most while leaving as few of your worms open to attack as possible. What has changed though is the fact that there are now a huge array of new features to mess with, ranging from tens of new weapons, customizable gameplay elements, up to eight worms per team (as opposed to just four in Worms 1), and an in-built matchmaking service over the Internet, that allows you to meet other players as well as automatically launch into a game together.
The biggest surprise that hit me upon loading the game was that the pre-match setup interface is all implemented within Win95 (albeit in a prettier looking window), using regular Win95 text/checkboxes and pulldown menus. This is extremely unconventional, and although at first might seem like a cop-out, proves to be a very fast, user-friendly and intuitive system. Instead of being bothered by an interface that has to be loaded separately, and will probably be slower to manipulate, this way you can quickly adjust all the game settings you need, and then just hit launch to begin each game. It's a little odd seeing the game switch back to your Windows desktop and resolution between rounds, but hardly a deterrent to your enjoyment of the game.
Worth a mention are the smooth, cartoon-quality FMVs included on the CD where one randomly plays whenever you first load up the game (but the option is admirably included to switch them off). I found the movies from the original game to be hilarious, complete with Road Runner-esque sadism that puts you in the position to witness one worm become the victim of another's cruel trick (pretty much the essence of the game, really); Worms 2's movies are just as funny, and are of a higher resolution and quality than their predecessors (there's even a cool 'in-joke' scene where a bunch of worms are gathered around a TV set watching one of the movies that was featured in the original Worms game, so you can see the contrast in quality!).
The graphics of Worms 2 aren't going to stun your friends, but then on the other hand, they are probably the best you could possible achieve for a game like this. After all, this isn't exactly the type of title that needs some 3Dfx enhancements. The most impressive thing about the game's visuals are the animations which are creamy smooth - Team17 boast thousands of frames in total for all the moving sprites on the screen. The entire game has a very cartoon and bouncy feel to it, which captures perfectly the atmosphere of the Worms game (ie. no gore or blood whatsoever). This is most certainly violence for all the family!
My P133 handled the top-detail level visuals fine, apart from a few hard drive chugs here and there which halted gameplay momentarily. But luckily, if you're on a slower system - even a high-end 486 - you should be able to still play Worms 2, albeit with the parallax scrolling, and other special touches, switched off.
Sound effects are, as with the first game, also of high quality. You get a huge range of 'sound banks' to assign to your teams of worms - each bank has different sound effects and speech that suit the theme. For example, you could choose to command a bunch of cockney London worms, Redneck worms, Posh worms, Scottish worms, etc. There's also an easy-to-use sound bank editor for you to record your own wavs and use them, although in Net games, obviously both players will have to own the sounds on their hard drive to hear them.
Gameplay has obviously always been the most important aspect, but it would have been very easy for Team17 to let the commercial side of computer gaming overcome them and concentrate more on producing high system requirements and eye-popping graphics than keeping the game fun, humorous and a joy to play. Andy Davidson, the head programmer and man behind the original concept of Worms posted this recently to Usenet: "Because Worms 2 was a total re-write, and graphic overhaul, a lot of time was spent getting the game to play and feel right. Worms has always been about how it played, above all else, and in changing the way it looked we had to spend time making sure it still played right." So assuming this is true, you can see the right priorities were always kept on top throughout the game's development.
Weapons are, without a doubt, the key highlight of both Worms games, and this sequel not only features the favorites from the original, but a huge variety of new ones, not to mention some fantastically outrageous 'secret' weapons that pop up from time to time (or you can activate them with a cheat code).
Here's a quick outline of the basic weapons available to enable from the pre-game setup. Generally, most people will choose to play with some of these weapons switched off, only made available to the player through special weapon crates that drop periodically from the sky.
- Bazooka, Homing Missile, Mortar, Homing Pigeon: Long-range weapons. Those without automatic guidance require precision aiming and power selection. The Bazooka's probably the Wormer's most popular basic weapon.
- Grenade, Cluster Bomb, Banana Bomb, Homing Cluster: Grenade weapons, suitable for lobbing, unaffected by wind, great to get through small areas. The Banana Bomb's an hilarious addition from the original Worms, which acts as a super powerful cluster bomb.
- Shotgun, Handgun, Uzi, Minigun : These are the 'up close and personal' weapons. When you don't have much room to maneuver and the explosive weapons could potentially damage your own worm, there's nothing like pumping an enemy full of lead!
- Firepunch, Dragonball, Kamikaze, Prod : 'Ninja' weapons, or hand-to-hand combat moves, these are usually best for when an enemy worm is in the prime place to be pushed/punched straight into the water (instant death for wormy).
- Dynamite, Mine, Sheep, Super Sheep : The Dynamite and Mine are the ideal "plant and run" devices, so as long as you have an escape route planned, they'll usually do optimum damage. The Sheep is a 'running' dynamite that can be detonated on command, while the Super Sheep dons a Superman cape and can be piloted to an enemy worm!
- Air Strike, Homing Air Strike Napalm Strike, Mail Strike : "Carnage from above". For when the worm at your control has absolutely no way of getting close to an enemy, radio for reinforcements and watch your plane drop some destruction from the skies. The mail strike's (nice pun!) particularly fun to watch as seemingly harmless envelopes float down and explode on impact.
- Super Banana Bomb, Holy Hand Grenade Petrol Bomb, Priceless Ming Vase : These are some of the rarer weapons that basically act much like the ones above except are somewhat more powerful. The Holy Hand Grenade, for example, provides over double the explosive force and damage than a regular grenade (the quick choir chorus chanting "Halleluia!" before it explodes is a laugh too!
- Mad Cow, Old Woman : These are also usually more scarce, and variations on the 'Sheep' weapon. The Mad Cows advantage are they can be released in herds, while the Old Woman can be sent on her mumbling, moaning way without having to worry she'll unreliably jump everywhere.
- Blow Torch, Pneumatic Drill Girders, Baseball Bat : With the exception of the baseball bat, these are construction tools which allow your Worms to dig through scenery as well as place girders to help them traverse the landscape. The BB is a very powerful 'punch' that'll usually send all but the most well-protected worm into the water.
- Ninja Rope, Bungee Parachute, Teleport : Perhaps the most important tools for the experienced wormer, these allow navigation around the playing area to better place your worm either for an attack or to protect him from enemies.
And the weapon range doesn't stop there, as several "secret" weapons which appear on occasion (when enabled) are sure to show up and surprise you. One of my personal favorites is the "Concrete Donkey" - a whopping huge statue of a Donkey drops from the sky and literally rips through a large portion of the landscape (and any worms that get in its way). Other secrets are sure to cause hilarity amongst their audience, but let's not give them all away, eh?
Modes of Play
Worms 2 is really not at its best in single player mode. You have the option of either setting up a game yourself (as you would in multiplayer), but designating the opposing teams as AI-controlled, or entering into the special one-player 'mission' mode, that puts your team of pink killing machines up against a computer player in an environment of pre-defined maps and armaments. This greatly adds to the single-player element, as the missions offer a nice sampling of the variations of gameplay to be had with the game. For example, one mission situates all the worms on their own little floating platforms sporadically placed around the screen, and the only weapons available are the handgun variety, so aiming skills are the crucial factor that determines a winner (since you have no means of negotiating around the terrain).
In the department of Internet gaming, it would have been possible to truly destroy Worms 2's chance of success, if implemented wrongly. Just take a look at my review of Monopoly: Star Wars if you don't know how badly a developer can screw up. But I'm more than thankful to report that Worms 2's Internet playability, while not perfect for a few reasons listed below, is still a huge step in the right direction. The main point to highlight is that once a Net game is actually established and all players are present, the whole experience is absolutely fantastic. The smooth gameplay along with the brilliant chat facility is perfectly designed.
I was interested to see how Team17 would overcome the hurdle of playing a modem Net game, without having to watch the remote player's actions jerk continuously as the connection lagged. They appear to use a really great 'read-ahead' method, that causes a small 4-second pause at the beginning of a remote player's turn, but then after that, his entire actions are buffered so that you actually watch what he does 3 seconds after he's performed it, so if there IS a 1-second lag in transmitting data, it doesn't matter because you're still a few seconds behind what's happening on his screen (kind of similar to 'streaming audio' that applications like RealAudio use). And since this is a turn-based game, the few seconds discrepancy on each player's screen is completely inconsequential to the gameplay and the players don't even notice it. If you haven't followed this paragraph, then rest assured, all you need to know is unless you have terrible lag to your opponents, you'll get fantastically stable and fast Internet games with as many as 6 people all on different corners of the world (I played a 4-way game with people from the US, England, New Zealand, and Europe, and the game remained problem-free throughout).
The chat facilities are also wonderful. By simply using the 'PGDN' and 'PGUP' keys, you can bring the chatbox down and put it back up at ANY time, whether it's your turn or not. Then when you type a message, all players without the chatbox down get an animated telephone icon on their screen to let them know that players are conversing. Unlike Monopoly: Star Wars where all game controls are restricted to the person whose turn it is, in Worms 2 you can spend the time when it isn't your go, being social. A big thumbs-up to Team17 for this system.
On the downside, however, there are a number of problems with Team17's Internet match-making system. Although I offer my full admiration to them for creating, funding and maintaining their own Net-meeting system, servers, etc, it really seems to be in an infancy stage right now. Currently, there are only 4 available servers (three in England, one in Italy), and they all go down on a regular basis. There are several more being launched imminently, but their reliability cannot be evaluated at this time, obviously.
Also, unfortunately, even when the servers are up, initiating a game can be a very mixed experience. Sometimes you'll go in without a hitch; others, you'll be tearing your hair out with frustration. For some odd reason, when you join a server, you're unable to actually 'talk' in the lobby - you have to join a channel (or create your own) to converse with others on the server. The problem is you can't see how many people are in a channel before you join, so you usually spend ages jumping from channel to channel looking for just one person, and finding most of them empty. Add to this, the fact that the matchmaking client itself seems to be very unresponsive and slow, the software really needs some work. And finally, when you manage to actually launch a game, if any player didn't make it (because their machine crashed, for example), the host is not given the option to drop the player causing the hold-up (even though he the display shows exactly who is responsible for the problem). Instead, all players have to wait a full 6 minutes before the 'dead' player times-out, which is really an eternity when you're stuck watching a blank screen (most of the other players simply quit out before the game eventually initiates).
The beauty of Worms 2 (as with the original) is that its appeal is not just limited to hardcore gamers, but to pretty much anybody. Show it to someone, a family member or friend, who usually has no interest in computers, and chances are, they'll really enjoy this game. I'd go so far as to say, if you're looking for a good 'hotseat' title (ie. a game you can play multiplayer on the same machine) then this is without a doubt, exactly what you're looking for. You can play it for 5 minutes or 5 hours and still have fun.
As for owners of Worms 1, is this worth buying? Absolutely. There's more than enough additions to warrant a purchase, including smooth Net play, improved graphics, new weapons, a paint-style map editor, as well as some very new gameplay elements that drastically alter gameplay (for example, you can now drop weapons off of a ninja rope, climb almost vertical surfaces, etc). There have been some complaints on Usenet from Worms: Reinforcements owners that Worms 2 omits some of the original's features that should have been included, but Davidson's response was that they wanted Worms 2 to, for the most part, offer a different playing experience to Worms 1.
It's also worth mentioning that there's a number of bugs, which, although are scheduled to be patched "before the end of January", can potentially ruin a serious worm gamer's time. A hiccup involving the cluster bomb allows players to easily plant one in a certain way that will instantly kill the enemy worm - something that was previously not possible. You can also shoot the Mortar in a certain way that will again cause an instant kill from top energy. There's also a worry concerning Team17 announcement of an expansion pack due out in May, that is set to "add a new front-end, and introduce new features/game-styles, as well as add extra Net-orientated features like world leagues, and also a more comprehensive level editor" - shouldn't all these things be included in the original package, and if not, they should at least be available as a free upgrade?
But so as not to end on a bad note, Worms 2 is definitely a stable and, for the most part, bug-free game, that offers many, many hours of varied, humorous and frighteningly fun gameplay. It has a very wide appeal, all the addictive nature of the original game, and once you have an Internet game initiated, it's fast and smooth. It's also probably one of the most enjoyable games that lets you gather four (or even six) people around a PC and each takes turns at blasting the hell out of one another. Download the demo, and you'll be hooked - this game definitely deserves to succeed.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
vlajster 2017-12-14 0 point
everything seems to be working but the speech wav files are empty so the worms are silent,too bad
se_pp 2017-11-26 3 points
i can say it works perfect, even under windows 7 (32 bit)
... and since i was lucky to find it out...
the trick to get the terrain-generation working (the landgen.exe error)
is to ensure that there are no spaces in the folder-names!
steve 2016-09-11 2 points
rip version doesn't seem to have music (except for some weird spanish stuff!) and iso version is mdf not iso. hope i can get it working properly!
The cool one 2016-06-21 0 point
Awesome, there is something wrong with the terrain generation, maybe that is on my end though.
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