||Worms World Party
Worms infest your Dreamcast one last time. - Review By Tren
The environments look great, sharp, high-res, and delicious.
So far so good, Worms World Party is all Worms Armageddon should have been -- decent balanced weaponry, reasonably good single player missions and the killer multiplayer options. Where it really shines is online though. For the first time, a console version of Worms has the online gaming optionality of the PC version and its been executed nearly flawlessly.
Where first person shooters and the like are concerned, instant online gaming is the holy grail. However, as Worms World Party is turned based the game plays perfectly on even the European Dreamcast's humble modem. Unlike first person shooters where instantaneous server reaction is required, Worms World Party simply requires a steady reliable connection for each player's turn. This lack of lag, or rather a lack of dependency on latency, results in flawless Internet play. Unlike the PC version, you can only create Internet games on the lobby using Team17's different categories of settings (and thus can't customise the weapon damage and supplies to your personal favorite). However there are many, many pre-set option settings so its easy to find one you prefer (my personal favorite is infinite ropes, which allows you to swing your worms all over the level!).
Along with the polished Internet play, there are a few other notable good points worth mentioning. The game features short loading times, certainly reduced since Worms Armageddon thanks to Team17's engine tweaking. Also Worms Armageddon only allowed control through the joypad in port one, making massive four player games extremely annoying as the controller would have to be continually passed around. Thankfully Worms World Party allows any of the four controller ports to be used, with players still allowed to share a controller if necessary (meaning the multiplayer can still be played with just one pad if needed) and total support for team games.
Worms wage war on wonderful wooden writing wencils.
While Worms World Party is a highly polished game, there are a few annoyances. On the PC version of the game each team can have its own sound bank. This means you can always identify who's worms are shouting the silly phrases as they'll sport one of a list of chosen accents, such as Stiff Upper Lip, Redneck, or even 007 Bond-esque worm voices! Unfortunately, due to the lack of Dreamcast RAM, all worms in the current match are forced to use the same soundbank. While this doesn't impact gameplay at all, it is a little frustrating as some of the worm voices are very, very funny, especially when put together taunting each other!
The game's graphic engine has been tweaked since Worms Armageddon's Dreamcast release, but the frame rate does still occasionally fluctuate when scrolling around the map. A further indication the engine could still do with some further tweaking is the worm team size is still limited to just four worms, whereas the PC version allows up to eight worms per team. Still, neither of these issues affect the game, especially considering nearly all PC online matches I've played in were standard 4 worm team affairs anyway. Keyboard support has been added to allow Internet chatting and easy naming of your team's worms, but unfortunately there is no mouse support which would have made looking about the current game map a lot easier than having to use the analogue pad. The keyboard, of course, uses up an available controller port, which does restrict the number of players per Dreamcast a bit.
While you'll find flame-based weaponry in the PC version, there is none in the Dreamcast port. When Worms 2 first came out (which was the first title to feature flame-based weapons) many PCs suffered horrendous slow-down when any fire was on screen. Perhaps Team17 could never properly get the fire working on the Dreamcast at an acceptable speed, hence it never made it into Worms Armageddon or this title. Despite this sounding bad, many including me will see this minor weapon removal as a godsend as the overly powerful flame-based weapons of Worms Armageddon were certainly a major contribution towards the lack of balance in the game.
The final bad point to make about the game is the VMU save size. The save takes up 49 blocks, which is practically a quarter of a whole VMU. That seems a bit excessive considering the information the game is saving to the file is pretty minimal.
The Final Word
Despite the few minor niggles, Team17 have created a masterpiece of online gaming. The game really isn't affected at all by Internet latency which makes for a refreshing change in the online world where offline tactics normally need to be relearned in an online environment. The offline multiplayer is fantastic too, and very addictive. This game has totally exceeded Worms Armageddon and is a worthy sequel. A fantastic strategy title with loads of room for developing your own tactics, beating players around the globe and around your own Dreamcast too. Unless you've played a Worms game before and know for a fact you totally hate the series, this is most definitely another essential Dreamcast online gaming purchase.
Publisher: Titus Games
Genre: Turn Based Strategy
Highs: Great balance of weapons, fantastic multiplayer game, online play is fast!
Lows: VMU save size, inability to use more than one soundbank ingame.
Other: VMU (49 blocks), Vibration Pack, Keyboard, VGA Box
(out of a possible 10)
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