XBOX REVIEW: WORMS 4 MAYHEM

If you like blowing up your enemies with sheep then Worms 4 Mayhem is the game for you.

Worms 4 Mayhem is the 2nd 3D game in the infamous worms series. If you haven’t played a worms game before, what happens is that you are given a team of worms to command and with the help of these cute yet deadly worms you have to eliminate the opposing team’s worms. To accomplish this task you are given a massive arsenal of weapons both conventional and unconventional to help you out.

Worms 4 improves upon almost everything that Worms 3D it’s prequel had to offer plus it also fixes those issues, which prevented Worms 3D from being an enjoyable game.

Worms 4 has 2 main modes of play to offer. Story and Multiplayer. The story mode is the single player campaign where you will get to play through a total of 25 missions spread through 5 different eras- Jurassic, Camelot, Arabian, Construction and Wild West. Besides destroying worms in the single player mode you’re also charged with objectives such as recovering items or smashing scenery. Story mode is quite fun to play because the missions are filled with variety. For example one mission has you defending a castle for a specific amount of time while another one puts you in a duel in the Wild West where you have to destroy your set of targets before the enemy destroys his.

The multiplayer mode is the mode where this game truly shines. This mode contains 5 different game types namely Deathmatch, Homelands, Destruction, Statue Defend and Survivor

  • Deathmatch in this game is the same as the deathmatch found in any FPS game. The player with the most kills wins. Simple and easy.
  • In Homelands each team begins with control over a fort for tactical play kind of like a team deatchmatch.
  • There is a race to destroy the enemy’s base in Destruction.
  • While in Statue Defend you have to destroy the enemy’s statue while defending your own.
  • And in Survivor each team uses 1 worm at a time. Death of 1 worm spawns another one until 1 team runs out of worms.

In team based game types in multiplayer mode a maximum of 4 teams can go head to head with each other on 1 map at the same time. Online multiplayer support is available on the PC and the Xbox but not on the PS2. I wonder why. (Worms 4 Mayhem will NOT be available in North America on the PS2 due to a lack of approval on SCEA).

Besides the above mode quick game is also available that puts you straight into the game without you requiring to make any selections. Tutorial teaches you the basic gameplay mechanics of the game and Challenge mode lets you complete specific challenges in a given amount of time.

The amount of customization available in this game is unmatched. You can customize almost everything in the game. Names, speech (the type of voice your worms will have) Heads, eyes, face and hands are all customizable. Heads can be customized with afros, caps, hats etc. Eyes with 3D glasses, eye patches, sunglasses etc, face with different types of mustaches and hands with different styles like cowboy, pirate etc. Besides body parts you can also select your team flag, your team grave and your team weapon. Yes now you can make a weapon of your choice. The “create a weapon” mode lets you do just that. With a wide variety of options that can be modified you are sure to design a weapon that will satisfy your destruction needs.

Besides the already available huge amount of customization items available you can purchase even more from the “Item Shop”. In the item shop you can purchase items by spending points that you earn while playing the story mode. Finish a particular level in the target time and you will get extra points. Items available for purchase include maps, sounds, hats, hands, weapons and much more.

Speaking of weapons Worms 4 Mayhem has one of the largest arsenal of weapons I have ever seen in a game. This arsenal includes both conventional weapons like grenades, sniper rifles, shotguns, cluster bombs etc to the more unconventional weapons such as sheep, banana bombs, holy grenade, old woman (that is the name of the weapon), fatkin strike (similar to an air strike but with a trademark Worms twist) etc.

The Worms series is well known for it’s weird and funny weapons thus keeping in line with this tradition this game doesn’t disappoint. The above-mentioned unconventional weapons are both fun to look while using them is quite enjoyable.

Besides the weapons arsenal you also have what I like to call support items. These include jet packs which can be used for reaching enemy worms in higher places than you, ninja ropes which can be used for scaling walls, parachutes which allow you to float down from a wall, a tower etc, anvils that allow you to build your own bridge to access areas and bubble trouble (again that’s the name of the item) that acts as shield against enemy attacks.

The gameplay of Worms 4 is quite addictive. With so many different ways to destroy your enemies it’s hard not to get hooked on. Besides the weapons the environments are also fully destructible thus making it even more enjoyable. One problem that plagued the last game was the camera. It was stiff and most of the times got stuck in places from where it was hard to aim at your enemies or even get a good look at the terrain. That camera is gone for good measure. Now you can fully rotate the camera plus zoom in and out so you can better plan your attack. The camera plays an important role in a game like this because for air strikes and bazooka fires you have to aim properly to ensure a clean hit plus if you move carelessly without knowing the map you can easily fall in the water and instantly die because these worms though able to fire bazookas can’t swim. With these changes it doesn’t mean the gameplay is flawless because it is not. Since you have to sit and watch every move the CPU makes it slows down the pace of the game. With some maps being bigger than others you will wish that there was some way that you didn’t have to watch CPU moves or maybe fast forward them. What makes this fact more irritating is that after wandering around the map for some time and wasting time the CPU will decide to skip his turn. I also found the AI to be a bit inconsistent. In the duel mission where targets have to be destroyed I found that the aim of the CPU was spot on and he beat me more than once whereas in another level the aim was not so great and he missed me several times plus he even injured himself with his attacks. Besides aiming, CPU worms in some missions are unwilling to attack you and happily skip their turn while you annihilate them.

Graphics wise the game is nothing extraordinary. The environments though not extremely detailed are colorful and easy to look at. All the worms look the same and the only thing that sets them apart is the gear. The whole game bears a cartoon like look which works perfectly for the game since the game isn’t going for any realism here. The weapons and explosions all look nice. Though the worms have hands they don’t have arms, which looks kind of strange.

There is very little voice acting in the game and whatever voice acting there is, it is only there to add humor to the game. Different worm teams like Gunslingers, the Scots, Funky Dudes etc will utter catch phrases in their own style. Gunslingers have a western accent, Funky Dudes an eighties style accent and so on. Each accent is spot on and distinguishes between different worm teams effectively. Besides the catch phrases all worms speak the same language that sounds a lot like the word “me” and nothing else. But still different emotions like anger, surprise etc are shown nicely by using different tones of the same word and hand gestures. The music takes a backseat to the sound effects and is soft mellow and forgettable. There will hardly be any tunes which you will want hum to.

A special mention has to be made about the humor of this game. This is no doubt the funniest strategy game I have ever played. Whether it’s the weapons, the worms’ language, their actions and emotions when they are about to be hit or their catch phrases, everything is UNIQUE and SPOT ON. I don’t think this review does justice to the humor of this game. You have to play it to experience it.

Finally, with so many changes and customization options this is a must have for fans of the series ensuring a long replayabilty. Whereas casual gamers and those looking for a simple and fun game to pass their time should definitely check it out.

System: Xbox, PC
Dev: Team 17
Pub: Codemasters
Release: Aug 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Sohail
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
4.0