Worms 4: Mayhem is the latest installment in the long-running Worms series; it is the 12th proper game, and the third one in 3D (you can find the full list of games here). The series started back in 1994 and was a huge hit, bringing a lot of 2D fun to gamers the world over. About two years ago Worms developer Team17 switched to 3D, with Worms 3D and Worms Forts: Under Siege. The gamesâ€™ receptions were mixed however, as many gamers used to the 2D action found it hard to transition to three-dimensional combat.
If you are not familiar with the Worms series, it is a cartoon style, turn-based war game in which the soldiers are all worms. Pink, cute little worms. Each worm soldier is outfitted with a range of weapons from baseball bats, shotguns, grenades, cluster bombs and bazookas to homing missiles, holy hand grenades, banana bombs, exploding sheep, fire punches and more. The terrain is fully destructible during combat, allowing for battlefields to get messy real quick. Each teamâ€™s mission is to kill all the other teamâ€™s worms. The best way to kill a worm is to simply toss it - one way or another â€“ into the water, which surrounds all the terrains. Worms 4 keeps the seriesâ€™ trademark humor intact; the faces the worms make are hilarious, especially their desperate tactics when targeted â€“ when one is about to get shot, they wave at you not to shoot them, or point at another worm from their own team, trying to persuade you to shoot them instead. Their voices are very amusing when spouting traditional comments like â€œYou miii-ssed!â€, â€œOh, leave me alone!â€, â€œPerfect shot!â€, â€œJust you wait!â€ and more.
In Worms 4: Mayhem you can dive straight into a fight with a quick game, or you can choose the tutorial where you can learn how to use your weapons. Another mode is the story mode, where a nutty professor teaches you how to play the game in 25 missions. Each of the missions teach the rules of the game through tasks like collecting objects, stealing tools, ruining barrels, and of course fighting. Two more modes are multiplayer and challenges; in multiplayer you can play up to four players, but, unfortunately, there is no online option for the PS2. In challenge mode youâ€™ll be tasked with activities like shooting down targets under the time limit and flying around while collecting crates.
Just like in previous versions of Worms, you can create your own battle groups. After succeeding in missions, challenges and multiplayer games, you will collect coins, which are later used to purchase items such as hats, spectacles, worm hands, weapons and more. In an attempt to make the 3D transition easier, Worms 4 comes with new camera angles, making the game a little easier to play when searching for your enemies.
Worms 4: Mayhem sports new weapons as well, and players will be happy to see that most are as hilarious as previous ones. The Sentry Gun is the most famous addition â€“ besides being in the logo of the new game, it is one of the spiffiest weapons in your armory. After you place one, it can detect an enemy moving nearby, swing towards it and shoot it. One time we tossed a worm airborne with a bat, which caused a nearby Sentry Gun to detect it and shoot it to death. With the Poison Arrow, you can hit a worm (or even a surface), and it will explode, releasing poisonous gas. Itâ€™s a useful weapon, despite having a very short range and being easily affected by the wind.
The new Sniper Rifle and its zoom function help you hit the tiny worms from a distance. The Tail Nail is a hammer that plants your opponent into the ground. It doesnâ€™t do much damage or prevent the nailed worm from attacking, but the worm canâ€™t move until some kind of an explosion sets it free. The Bovine Blitz, as the name suggests, is an air strike that drops exploding cows, which you can aim at other worms. There are a few more new weapons, but these are better left for you to discover over the course of the game. And in the unlikely event that these bizarre weapons are not enough, there is a new option that lets you manufacture basic weapons in a factory.
There are also five new environments in Mayhem: Wild West, Jurassic, Construction, Arabian and Camelot. Most of them will remind you of the old environments from past games.
The AI is not bad â€“ the CPU has an obvious advantage when calculating the angles and distances for shooting, but computer accuracy is scaled appropriately depending on the skill level you choose. In easy and normal modes it seems that Worm 4: Mayhem puts a severe handicap on the AIâ€™s accuracy â€“ basically, enemy worms are not very bright. That is not the case in the hard mode, where they almost never miss a shot (enemies missed only one shot over the course of this review), and summarily they are not so easy to beat.
According to many gamers, when the Worms series moved to 3D, it lost some of its magic. Having said that, it is also a matter of getting used to playing the game in three dimensions. Mayhem does improve the controls a little with the new camera angles, but youâ€™ll still end up having to waste valuable time searching for your enemyâ€™s location. The terrains in Mayhem are a little bigger than previous titles, and the graphics are slightly improved. Gameplay is a bit smoother then earlier games, although it is much inferior to the PC version of the game, and the terrains are a little more destructible. The map loading times seem to drag on forever, no doubt due to the extra processing power needed to render the 3D world.
Like older versions of the game, it is still hard to jump from one platform to another in Mayhem. One of the worst downfalls we found in the PS2 version was the lack of an online multiplayer mode, which is intact in the Xbox and PC versions. If you do not have a previous version of 3D worms, you will probably enjoy Mayhem very much. If you do own one â€“ youâ€™re better off staying away from this can of Worms.