You can’t keep a good worm down.
15 years. 15 long, bloody, cruel years this senseless war has been going on. Countless segmented bodies lying motionless in the muck. Good worms, worms with families and careers, young worms fresh out of college with a good five years of life ahead of them, all dead. And why? For our selfish amusement. That's why.
[image1]Yes, it's hard to believe that the Worms franchise has been around that long, but Worms: Reloaded shows that it's still kicking (or squirming, rather) with as much gusto as it ever had. Without a whole heck of a lot differentiation between all the 2D entries in the series, it's sometimes tough to identify what counts as a sequel, what counts as a remake, and what counts as a port-of-a-port-of-a-port. Reloaded belongs the closest to the last category.
This entry essentially brings the Worms 2: Armageddon package to PC gamers with a handful of added features. The arsenal is robust and diverse, from the trusty bazooka to trigger-happy sentry guns to poison air strikes. You'll use most of it to inch your way (see what I did there?) through the 35 missions of the single-player campaign, which is the same as in Armageddon.
Beyond that, however, there's a couple new single-player modes: Warzone and Bodycount. Warzone is a second campaign mode that plays like the first, but with amped-up difficulty for the more hardcore worm-philes out there. Bodycount is a simple high-score style mode where you control one lone worm against endlessly respawning and steadily stronger enemy worms to see how many you can squish before they squish you.
[image2]But if you've ever played a Worms game before, then you know that multiplayer is where it's at. The gameplay is as addictive as ever. I had a buddy over one day, a non-gamer at that, who balked at the idea of playing some colorful 2D PC game. Fast-forward one hour later, and I have to pry him off the keyboard so I can start getting some online matches in.
As any Worms vet will tell you, there's endless turn-based mayhem to be had with human opponents. The online matches I played went pretty smoothly — I didn't have much trouble finding people to play with, and aside from a “waiting for players” message box that pops up for a split second in between turns, the fighting proceeded unhindered. It ain't perfect — when one player disconnected it killed the whole game — but online content seldom is.
The most interesting feature in Reloaded is one that isn’t even listed in the game’s official changes. In addition to the custom landscape editor, which remains unchanged, you can use any photo on your computer to become a battleground. For some reason Team17 didn’t hype this feature or even acknowledge its existence in the game.
[image3]Maybe because it’s a great idea, but limited in its application. The game only recognizes solid black as empty space where your worms can go; everything else becomes the destructible “dirt” of the map. So unless you have a picture with perfect coloration already, you’ll need to do some photoshop or MS paint to make it compatible. The photo also has to be in .tga format, so you’ll have to find a website or program that will convert your images.
If you already have Worms 2: Armageddon on a console, then you won’t be missing much by skipping Reloaded since it’s basically just an enhanced port. But if you’ve never played Worms before, or absolutely need a PC version, now’s as good a time as any to jump into the slimy, slithery, British-y chaos. 15 years in, and this war’s just getting started.