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Written by  :  Alex Man (32)
Written on  :  Sep 30, 2002
Platform  :  DOS

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Have you ever seen a a tank with a grappling hook? Neither have I

The Good

Commando style action. Two against 10 and you could actually pull it off. I played this game some 3-4 years ago and am unable to get it running again currently, but as I remember it, the pattern for most games was this: major landscape sculpting in the first few moves, clears out the field, and from then on you get into these desperate cliffhanger (literally) situations, like one of your guys being being stuck in a crater somewhere and the other on an island in the middle of the sea with opposing teams taking potshots at him. In Scorched Earth, it'd be game over. In here, however, you throw your grappling hook and swing about on ropes like crazy, jumping half-screens Indiana Jones style. It takes some skill, but when you've had practice, you can pull off the wildest tricks (whoever thought that WORMS are good material for some Man on the Flying Trapeze action is a bit strange, but he sure came up with an ass-kicking game!). Sometimes it takes like 20 moves until you get out of your jam (whatever it may be), but when as a result you get to land a rocket straight between the eyes of your hapless opponent, it's anything but unrewarding. And the booms sure kicked ass in this game.

All in all, an absolutely engrossing game. The landscapes were amazingly good (as far as I can remember, there was some random generator involved that made every game different but still keeping the "drawn" quality of the landscapes), the weapons were fun and most of the Scorched Earth aiming-maiming-blowing-up-mountains action was there in full glory with the added component of vertigo-inducing mobility. Get yourself 4 teams with 4 worms each on one screen-sized battle field, and just start shooting!

The Bad

Well, there were some concerns with the digging ability: it made the game too wide open. Sure, there sometimes was good dungeon-style fun, but generally it just disrupted the glorious Scorched Earth/Tarzan action for some rather boring Great Escape-style trudges through earth and rock with a spoon. And the computer didn't make use of it either, which didn't seem fair in single-player games. (I don't actually think he made great use of the hook either - there might've been some concerns with the computer AI as well. Though he sure shot like Yul Brynner in Westworld.)

And the main drawback in comparison with Scorched Earth: the weapons were just not as cool. Sure it figures, them being worms not tanks after all, but I miss Napalm Death and all that firework kinda stuff. And you can't bury anyone alive either.

One more minor complaint: there was one landscape with a big (and super f***ing cool!) bridge making up 2/3 of the game field. It was hanging over water, creating ample opportunities for some pushing and shoving-style assassinations (the worms shove like crazy, I should've mentioned that) - BUT. Guess what happens when you blow up the bridge in two places. One section of it just hangs there in mid-air, with no support at all. Uh-uh.

The Bottom Line

Scorched Earth meets - a bunch of amateur worm alpinists. Beautiful Switzerland scenery better beware!