25 years of Worms: How the cute worms put friendships to the test – topical games

It may be the first few days of the corona virus lockdown in a row, but I'm currently indulging in the charms of the couch multiplayer. A game of cuphead with your girlfriend is not only escapism, it is also a great pleasure. One game, however, I would currently never get out of the moth box: Worms. Because if we were to play the action game of the British studio Team17 against each other, the house blessing would quickly go wrong.

My 25 years of experience have taught me that Worms can be diabolical fun to this day, but it also likes to cause a lot of arguments between those involved. And that would be common #StayAtHomeChallenge not a very good idea …

The ingenuity of simplicity

At first glance, Worms looked very simple. At least two teams consisting of four worms face each other on a randomly generated 2D battlefield and fight each other. We gave our duels a personal touch back then: in the editor we gave names to our worms and the teams. Sometimes it was our favorite footballers or favorite musicians, then friends from school. When Farin Urlaub shot Michael from 8b with the shotgun, it was involuntarily funny.

If you ignore the comparatively simple layout, then Worms has a good portion of depth. The random editor brought a good dose of imponderability to the games. At the start of each round, we therefore checked possible obstacles, the position of the distributed mines or abysses that we could use for simple "kills".






With the "Airstrike" (in German: air strike) fire pours down on the map and widespread damage widespread. This attack is not really calculable - it is rather a rough trowel in the fight against several opponents.



With the "Airstrike" (in German: air strike) fire pours down on the map and widespread damage widespread. This attack is not really calculable – it is rather a rough trowel in the fight against several opponents.

Source: Amiga version / Moby Games




The mines mentioned in turn contributed a great deal to the game dynamics: sometimes I simply used the shotgun to kick the explosives over to a worm opponent, sometimes I used them as a catapult – mines in Worms were a guarantee of surprises and experiments. Environmental physics was the last stone in the gameplay pyramid: the wind affected the direction of flight of the missiles; Hit worms tumbled down slopes before splashing into the water. Ice even made for longer slides. If the fighting took place in space, the worms hoped even further in weightlessness.

Duel at eye level
Worms had one very important advantage in 1995: the local multiplayer mode. Especially in a duel with more than two participants, the tactical action game was a real test for every friendship. Suddenly I was the executioner of victory or defeat and had to decide which of my buddies I first promoted to the afterlife. Of course, this caused loud discussions and some short-term disputes.






As soon as a worm blesses time, it says goodbye with a short "Oh Dear" and then blows itself up.



As soon as a worm blesses time, it says goodbye with a short "Oh Dear" and then blows itself up.

Source: Amiga version / Moby Games




These hilarious moments, which only Worms wrote, were particularly beautiful. Like yesterday, I remember moments when I estimated the angle for throwing a grenade for a few seconds and then briefly slipped off the button just to blow myself up. Of course, the wind always thwarted my plans. It was never easy to use the crosshairs and wind speed indicators to estimate the correct angle for launching a missile. With the necessary skill, I was able to hit worms behind me or in the remotest corners of the map. But that was not always the case.

More often than not, the projectiles simply missed their target. As a return carriage, I always received a high-frequency "Mi-issed" from the mouths of the opposing worms. In the worst case, the shot literally backfire. It was not unusual for me to erase half my team with a rocket and then had to endure mockery and ridicule.

Worms also had an astonishing tension curve. At the beginning of the round there was still messing around and messing around. But the smaller the teams and the more broken the landscape, the more serious the matter became. I celebrated my highlights with dominant victories. For example, after a long preparation I shot my opponent's last worm off the cliff with a shotgun – like in a good gangster film. Few games were as innocent and at the same time as nasty as Worms.






The worms also fight in the eternal ice between snowmen. The comrades slide much better on snow and fall down slopes faster.



The worms also fight in the eternal ice between snowmen. The comrades slide much better on snow and fall down slopes faster.

Source: Amiga version / Moby Games





"No, not the banana bomb!"
In contrast to the players, Worms never took himself seriously for a second. The humor in its staging is strongly reminiscent of bugs bunny or road runner cartoons. The game was borrowed from a comic, and the arsenal played a significant role in this. So far we have only talked about grenades, shotguns or rockets. Much funnier, however, were over-the-top actions such as the Dragon Punch, the banana bomb, the stick of dynamite or the sheep.

With the Dragon Punch I loved to beat other worms out of the picture. The dynamite not only drained a lot of life energy, but also tore a huge crater into the ground. When used correctly, I achieved a double effect. Particularly strong special campaigns limited Worms – and that was a good thing. The sheep is still one of my all-time favorites.

With a loud "mow" my woolly friend jumped off. On its way, it bounced off walls cheerfully or even fell down slopes. Only when I activated the detonator did the woolen cattle go up. Many weapons from the Worms arsenal created tension by causing damage only after a few seconds or after firing. This wait felt like an eternity and increased the thrill again.

In addition to the sheep, the banana bomb certainly had the highest recognition value. Before dropping, I determined when the explosive device should explode and had to estimate how long the bomb would take to reach the target. The banana bomb then shattered into a series of yellow shrapnel that did tremendous damage.






The biggest challenge in Worms is calculating the trajectories. The strength and direction of the wind shown below strongly affect rockets.



The biggest challenge in Worms is calculating the trajectories. The strength and direction of the wind shown below strongly affect rockets.

Source: Amiga version / Moby Games





Still playable
Worms was and is not a clumsy action game, but required skill and a good dose of tactics. Occasionally General Zufall and Feldmarschall Glück also played along tremendously – and this in turn made for particularly spicy moments in multiplayer. And that's why the game works surprisingly well even in 2020!

If you are now in the mood for a game of worms, there is good news for you: You can easily get the original from the retro game provider GOG.com. Developer Team 17 also recently quit Worms 2020 a successor, which should come on the market this year. The published Teaser trailer suggests a 3D offshoot and a return of iconic weapons like the holy hand grenade from Worms 2. In any case, Worms 2020 should be just right for me – especially when the corona crisis is over at some point.

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