Ever since its release in 1995, strategy title, Worms has become one of the most loved franchises in console history. So much so, that the game’s developer, Team 17 ported a number of the titles onto the Xbox Live Arcade.
The Worms Collection contains each of the Worms titles that are currently available on the Xbox Live Arcade: Worms, Worms 2: Armageddon (along with all its downloadable content) and Worms: Ultimate Mayhem (a re-release of Worms 4: Mayhem).
For those who have never played Worms before, the concept involves taking it in turns to fire artillery at the opponents. Played across a range of different shaped and sized landscapes, the winner of the battle is the last team standing.
First up is Worms, a port of the 1995 release that has been given a significant coat of painting for a HD remake. Everything from the game’s menus to the environments has received a facelift for the latest generation of console gaming.
To those who weren’t fortunate enough to play the game the first time round, Worms introduces players to the game brilliantly with a well thought out tutorial. Also available in the single player side of things is “Challenges” and “Quick Game.”
As the name suggests, Challenges has players completing a series of objectives that get progressively harder as they advance. Unfortunately, there are only 20 single player challenges, which won’t take skilled players particularly long to complete and the only remaining single player game mode, Quick Game, isn’t particularly enjoyable and becomes repetitively quickly.
The multiplayer side of things is a redeeming feature as Worms supports up to four players both locally and over Xbox Live. Xbox Live supports both ranked and player matches, both of which contain leaderboards where players can beat their people’s scores worldwide. This is where the game really comes to life, with full-on battles taking place between human players – a definite highlight of the game.
Worms 2: Armageddon is very similar to its predecessor, though it contains a lot more in terms of gameplay, as well as additional weapons and objects. This is mostly down to the downloadable content that is included within the collection.
Each of the downloadable packs adds a variety of weapons and new missions to the game, which adds more replayability to the title. It’s the vast amount of content that makes Worms 2: Armageddon the standout title in the collection. The full list of DLC included is: Battle Pack, Forts Pack, Mayhem Pack, Puzzle Pack, Retro Pack and Time Attack Pack.
Like Worms, Armageddon contains a Quick Game and Training, though it has a “Campaign” in place of the Challenges game mode. While there’s no real story to the campaign, the objectives are much more enjoyable than those of its predecessor.
As for multiplayer, there are no significant changes to the original Worms. Worms 2: Armageddon supports both local and Xbox Live multiplayer with up to four players. If players are able to find others online or even locally, the multiplayer is (once again) one of the highlights of the game.
In terms of development, Worms 2: Armageddon is on par with Worms. The only noticeable difference is that the gameplay feels smoother, with objects and worms moving around the map more effectively.
Finally, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is the only 3D title in the collection. Based on the 2005 release, this port contains a campaign with cutscenes prior to and after the game’s levels telling the story. While the story isn’t particularly inventive, the plot itself is something gamers will overlook as they seek to dive straight into the gameplay.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem also features the “Challenges” game mode, which is very similar to the campaign. However, the main difference is that the objectives will be against a clock, rather than an opposing team. This is probably the standout feature of the title, due to the poor quality of the campaign.
Completing missions and challenges earns players coins, which can be spent in the game’s shop. Items for sale include new costumes, soundbanks, weapons and maps to be used in-game. While this won’t particularly interest many gamers, it’s an incentive to keep on playing.
In terms of gameplay, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem isn’t quite as smooth as the other two titles in the collection. Movement and navigating often proves problematic due to poor controls – something that should have been addressed in the Xbox Live Arcade remake. Another con with the game is the long loading times. Players will often finding themselves waiting a good few minutes to load even the shortest of levels.
Graphically, while the game is in 3D, the texturing and colours aren’t as vibrant and polished as they are in both Worms and Worms 2: Armageddon. While they are slightly improved from the original PlayStation 2 title, its age certainly shows on the Xbox 360.
Overall, The Worms Collection is a great assortment of Xbox Live Arcade titles that any Worms fan would be crazy not to purchase. While Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is a weak inclusion, Worms and Worms 2: Armageddon plus its downloadable content certainly make up for it.