Review: Worms 3D (XB)

Worms 3D
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Team 17
Genre: Strategy
Release Date: 03-01-05

Hi. My name is Geli and I am a Worms addict. Back in the stone age, I played it with friends and family alike. There’s nothing more satisfying than ninja roping yourself over to an enemy only to fire punch him in the face. Or what about unleashing a sheep to bounce around and explode on your enemy with high-pitched insults flying from your worm’s mouth. Through thick and thin, Worms has been there with it’s strategy and trash-talk to give a satisfying experience whether alone or with friends. When Worms 3D was released, I eagerly awaited to arrival of the cd I thought would keep me entertained for hours. So I thought. This time though, I’m not sure I wanted to be the early bird that got this particular worm. It’s too much like swallowing a bitter pill.

Let’s review, shall we?

1. Modes

There’s a huge variety of choices when it comes to slecting which game mode you want to participate in. With Worms, I imagine it’s hard to create a static story to keep through a Campaign. So in Campaign Mode you find yourself battling through different scenarios to unlock certain maps and areas that will eventually show up in Challenge Mode. For example, the first scenario looks like a take on WWII and D-day with your worms on the beach shooting at the enemy. In other cases you may find a pirate-like theme to work your way through. If you don’t feel like stepping through scenarios, you can step up to different challenges in Challenge Mode. In some cases, it’s not about who kills who first, but you’ve got different goals to complete those levels.

I think the best part about any Worms game is the multiplayer mode. You have total control over your maps and even if you don’t have any friends you want to play with, the computer teams can play against you. It’s a lot more laid back and interesting to just have a full-scale war, worm style. There’s also the option of jumping online and going up against other players on Xbox Live, which is another extension of multiplayer mode. Although, overall you have more control if you play with friends in your living room.

If you don’t feel like jumping whole-hog into the experience, there’s also a Tutorial Mode to hold your hand as you explore the 3D world of Worms. Even after all the explaining in the world, it doesn’t make the controls any easier or make the camera angles feel any more natural. But that’s a beef for another section. As far as game modes, Worms 3D did a good job at bringing in the variety.

Score: 7/10

2. Graphics

Ahh… Refreshing, cartoony little graphics. So it’s a little chunky and not stylized to be unique or different, there’s nothing wrong with the graphics. It’s fun on some customizable maps to add objects for your worms to crawl around like hourglasses or rocks. The bright colors and simplistic icons make it easy to recognize weapons and locate enemies. The texturing is a little odd because they could definitely do water or grass better, but I think it was rendered that particular way to allow you a greater ability to customize your maps when entering into multiplayer mode. All in good fun, you can change your team’s flag or even the tombstones that appear when your worm has been flattened. Overall, I was pretty happy with what I saw.

Score: 6/10

3. Sound

I love it! No installation of Worms is complete without the sound effects of the little squiggly buggers. The voices and the commentary are absolutely essential to creating this game and go a long way to making me happy. There’s nothing quite like a high-pitched, trash-talking worm in varying accents, including “German” and “Alien.” The background music was typical enough that it faded into the background like it’s supposed to and I hardly noticed it. It’s also satisfying that every weapon type is granted its own sound effect. God Bless the sheep, the poor exploding souls. The mad cows and the old ladies were an interesting addition to the arsenal of sound. Grenades and punches are followed by the appropriate sounds as well. The worm sounds I know and love are still with us! Hooray for small miracles.

Score: 7/10

4. Gameplay and Controls

The controls are the major beef I have with this game. With turns that are time sensitive, it makes it doubly hard when you’re trying to make your way around the controller just to power up your worm’s jet-pack. It’s fairly easy to pick a weapon or tool for your worm, but navigating around the map is difficult. There’s a “radar” screen that’s added to give you a clue as to the location of your enemies, but with the odd camera angles it’s hard to move your worm to the right place to be within range. Starting out in this game, it took me several tries before I stopped accidentally throwing my worms off cliffs and into the drink. With multiplayer mode you can customize your map to have more land, but even with maximum land mass, you’ve still got islands connected by small bridges. It’s not bad, but in 3D it’s difficult to navigate your worm in the time-frame provided without finding yourself in the water. In a lot of cases, you may find yourself helping your enemy out by setting them up for the perfect shot at you.

There were some adjustments to be made when playing from a 3D perspective. The wind could be blowing from any angle. Although you could see what angle and what speed the wind was breezing by, it was hard to get down a strategy of attack. On occassion, a supply box full of goodness will fall from the sky to replentish your arsenal but I was unfortunate enough to see it fall directly into the water a few times. Seriously, what is up with that!?!? I’m almost of the mind that if you’re going to make Worms a 3D affair, don’t make any water bodies larger than a small pond.

It did occur to me that maybe I’m just bad at playing Worms in 3D. So I with the help of a few friends, we tested out that theory. While it cheered me considerably to see that my friends were having a tough time with the controls too, it didn’t bode well for the game itself. A lot of the maps were set up, again, with a lot of interconnected islands. You hardly have a chance to destroy the health of enemy worms and instead the common strategy is to knock them in the water. I also ran into another odd bug where one of my worms landed at the edge of the water after a grenade blast and when it came to my turn with that worm, he instantly drowned to forfeit my turn. When it comes to losing a game due to a bug, I’m definitely not a good sport. Beware my temper-tantrums! In fact, with this game I had more than one opportunity for a tantrum.

Score: 3/10

5. Replayability

At this point I’m biased by the fact that Worms 3D has horrible controls. Barring that, I’m having trouble finding a reason why you would play this game over and over again. Xbox Live does give you the option to play online with friend and foe alike, but it’s a hard call. Personally, I don’t want to stick through the single player mode to unlock all the levels, much less do it a second time. I suppose if you’re feeling particularly masochistic you can play the game repeatedly to experience bad camera angles and buggy results. In most cases any normally sane person will put this game down before they get anywhere close to the end of the game the first time.

Score: 3/10

6. Balance

Worms is the type of game where the difficulty is based on your environment and your opponent. Once you get past the fact that the crappy controls make the game itself difficult, you can set yourself up for any difficulty. In fact, if you find yourself breezing past even the hardest AI, you can choose multi-player mode to let some organic players pose a more proper challenge. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this game can pose as a challenge. In this aspect, this game did not fail me.

Score: 7/10

7. Originality

Can I say that this game was an innovation to the industry and that more games out there should be more like it? Sorry, that’s going to be a negative there, chief. When Worms first came to the forefront it got a lot more attention as a fun and original game. These days, it’s not any different than it was. So does taking a 3D stance on a game make it original? Not any more. With 2D games like Frogger, PacMan and Lemmings going to the 3D world, it’s not a fresh concept any more. In fact, even these “newer”, 3-dimensional games can be found in your local bargain bin. Sorry, Worms 3D, you’re just not cutting the cake.

Score: 4/10

8. Addicitveness

If your idea of an addictive game is one that tempts you into throwing your controller halfway across the room, please raise your hand. *looks around* Any takers? Except for the one idiot in the back of the room, most of you would probably agree that if you’re throwing things you’re probably not happy with the game. As I said, “most of you,” which means I don’t want to hear from the guy in the back of the room. The original Worms had class and finesse and I could play it for hours on end. Its simplicity and strategy keeps you begging for more. I can’t say that about its 3D counter-part. I’m just glad I rented it and I’ll be able to mail it back from whence it came. Addictive, I think not.

Score: 2/10

9. Appeal Factor

On this part of the review, I will play nice. Worms 3D grabbed me hook line and sinker before I even played the game. It’s the entire Worms francise that will appeal to you. So if you’re under the age of 12, it’s likely you’re not going to care too much about the game or the francise at all. Those older, more reminiscent folks are going to go running for the game. So yeah, it’s got plenty of shine and appeal at first. In fact, if you like Worms at all you may want to try it just to see how bad the 3D version really is. The appeal for me was pretty big before I even played the game, but afterwards… *shudders* So I’ll play nice and give it the good old average score.

Score: 5/10

10. Miscellaneous

I don’t want you to think that this is a terrible game. It’s cute and funny but it’s one that’s hard to get a handle on. I like some of the weapons lsuch as the Old Lady and the Mad Cow which required some interesting people in order to think up an idea like that. It’s still Worms, and has the spirit of it through and through. I’m just not sure that it translates well into a 3D game to be played on a console. I just wish that more time was spent setting up the controls and the camera angles. Still… I’m going to give an A for effort because I do love Worms so much.

Score: 7/10

The Ratings:
1. Modes: 7/10
2. Graphics: 6/10
3. Sound: 7/10
4. Gameplay and Controls: 3/10
5. Replayability: 3/10
6. Balance: 7/10
7. Originality: 4/10
8. Addicitveness: 2/10
9. Appeal Factor: 5/10
10. Miscellaneous: 7/10

Overall Score: 51/100



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