|Platform Reviewed||IBM PC|
|Genre||Comedic Arcade War Game|
|Number of Players||1-16|
|Multiplayer Value||Very High|
|Length||Thousands of battlefields|
|Skills Required||Simple Tactics, Aiming|
|Interface Devices||Keyboard and Mouse Used Together|
|Interface Design||The Worst Imaginable|
|Game Design and Playability||Excellent design, extremely fun|
|Type Of Fun||Party-Style gaming|
|Overall Value||High, save for the terrible interface|
|Quality||High, except for the wretched interface|
|The Best||A wonderful version of the side view ballistic shooter|
|The Worst||The Interface From Hell|
|How much I'd Pay for This||20 bucks|
Worms is an elaborate version of the 'Scorched Earth' genre of side-view ballistic shooter. Tiny Worm soldiers take turns aiming and firing projectiles at each other. Think 'Lemmings' meets 'Cannon Fodder'.
No story as such, this is a 'Party' game where the object is
simply to kill a few pleasant hours, perhaps with some friends.
Worms is a fairly elaborate version of a tried and true old
freeware design. Originally done with tanks, Worms takes the ancient
side view ballistic shooter and attempts to infuse it with character
and charm. Worms accomplishes this task with aplomb, and is all
but brilliant as the finest version of this old chestnut to date.
But it has one incredibly glaring, absolutely unforgivable flaw.
It should be engraved in ten foot high gold letters upon a cliff face of solid jade:
All Programmers should be forced to live by this maxim, and in
my world, to breach this commandment would be punishable by severe
flailing with a Cat-Of-Nine-Tails constructed of old Apple IIe
joysticks. The heavy, metal kind.
Worms is brilliant, but truly features the INTERFACE FROM HELL.
I can only shake my head and wonder "What COULD they have
been THINKING?!?" What went wrong? Here is a game that could
have easily been programmed to use a single joypad, or a lone
mouse, or if necessary, the keyboard. All one has to do in the
game is to move a little character left or right, choose a weapon,
aim, and fire. This is a task easily accomplished by only a single
joystick function and one or two buttons, tops. Instead, Worms
uses not less than 26 keys on the keyboard, not counting the arrow
keys AND the spacebar. The other option involves a clumsy use
of one hand on the mouse, to scroll about, selecting weapons and
view, whilst simultaneously using the keyboard as a makeshift
joystick. There is no joypad option. There IS a TIMER. To further
damn the idiocy of the programmers in my eyes, the entire game
is TURN based, with each worm having their own, separate turn
at bat, or bazooka, as may be; thus it would have been child's
play to make the entire game controllable from only one, simple
With a mouse, it could have been possible to have so programmed
Worms so that choosing a weapon, moving the worm soldier, aiming,
and firing, were sectioned off much as the actions in a golf or
bowling game (click, move, click, wait, Click!). Since the game
is turn based, making each step a sub-section of the turn is straightforward
and intuitive. An alternative would simply be to make a joypad
control the worm soldier, one button to access a weapon choice
menu, the second button to fire with. The interface in Worms
is the creation of a rank amateur, a testimony to how NOT to build
a game interface. It is an interface from almost a decade ago.
I cannot believe how poor the decision making was here.
What a tragic fate! Such a fun and brilliant game destroyed by
unbelievably primitive interface design. If you are a budding
programmer, and want to see what to avoid, there is much to learn
from Worms. If you are a gameplayer, wait for the Saturn or Playstation
version, there the programmers will be forced to build a smart
interface, for no keyboard exists at all, and on the Saturn, no
mouse. If there ever IS a Saturn or Playstation version. I doubt
they will have the success they MIGHT have had with Worms - IF
they had bothered to think. Pathetic!
Remember, friends: a game is only as fun, as it is easy (READ:
SIMPLE) to play. Only if the player can forget that they are pushing
buttons, does the Holy Magic Cauldron of IMMERSION appear. An
easy interface, that makes use of only ONE single peripheral device
throughout the game, is now the absolute benchmark for professional
programming. Worms could have been a great game. It is alas only
now a monument to unthinking programmers, souls who were so busy
being Programmers, that they forgot to think like PLAYERS. It
is a terminal mistake.
Reviewed by Jennifer Diane Reitz, March 9, 1996