So I've been playing some Worms World Party again.
It's a game I was first introduced to way back in middle school. Grade 7.
In my home class we had one computer in a corner of the room, which was primarily used for studies and research - I think it even had Internet access. But during breaks, and special occasions, our teacher had brought in a few games we could amuse ourselves with, one of which was this one.
Come to think of it this was probably the precursor to me and Andreas playing so much Leiro between classes later on, in the upper tier yet all the more lenient levels of our education... that's a good game too. Worms in real time. They both have their pros and cons. Leiro's definitely quicker.
My first impressions of WWP are a blur, but I remember how delighted I was with the splash screen when you booted it: Smooth visuals, a trio of cute worms with a varied assortment of bombastic weaponry, standing atop a blue and green miniature planet Earth, rotating, with bubbly clouds passing by as a tranquil but also catchy and pompous fanfare played.
And then you started a game, and started killing one another!
At this point in life it was unprecedented such a form of violent entertainment was actually presented to you by a custodian as such.
I mean a teacher. In class! In school! It was crazy, but it was cool.
Similar to how this same teacher allowed us to bring drinks (like soda) into class for important tests it seemed like a subtle way of guiding us into the adult world; giving us freedoms in exchange for trust. And I think it worked. It sombered us up somehow and made us take his classes seriously... for the most part. Though we also had fun it feels like we wanted to earn the freedoms he gave us. To show we were worthy. Of Worms, and more.
Meanwhile we were rampaging through equally iconic shooters like Quake after school - in our homes - all the more inappropriate for our age group, but that's something to speak about some other day.
Mr. Christopher - you were an awesome teacher! I don't remember much of the actual teaching - save for some Jeopardy games we arranged ourselves once - but I'm sure we learned a bundle too.
At the end of our semester Mr. Christopher moved on to another school, and auctioned out some of the items he'd brought to class during the year, of which I believe this game was one.
You bid on these these things with tokens you'd garnered from tests and other means of merit during the year (come to think of it that was probably also a reason we took his classes so seriously), so each person could only get so many. Early gamification of education hmm.
I didn't get this game then, but I did get a PSX! And a few games for it. Which was a huge deal. My good friend Luke got the class boombox and a cool hat stand... that's pretty much all I remember from the auction. I'm sure there were other items. Other classmates got other things.
I wouldn't have won the PSX without considerable help from others though. My merits weren't amazing, so my tokens were nae enough, but good buddy Mohammed reluctantly gave me the few additional ones I needed to bring it home. Did I get some from Luke too? Salim? Memory is a haze. I just see faces. And names. Contours of the classroom. A sense of euphoria when I got the PSX, and the anticipation as the auction started.
Anyway there my memories related to this great game begin.
I'm not sure how much we actually played - I think gaming sessions were highly limited - a good round takes longer than a short break after all, and everyone competed for computer time. But years later I actually got the game for myself, and I played it to death, and years later I played it again! And then I bought it on GOG, and so when my cousin and family were coming over for Birthday celebrations last weekend it just popped back on the radar again... local multiplayer games are all too rare these days.
We had a blast.
I'm working my way through the single player missions and training camps once more now, and am once again positively surprised by how much content this one game actually packs! There are so many modes! There's so much variation! There's so much weaponry! And if you actually play it to the point you get bored with all that which has been made readily availably by Team 17 staff (wonder if they made Jazz Jackrabbit too btw - the style feels familiar), you can design your own levels! And customize your own game modes! And even make your own missions! It never ends!
I haven't gotten to that part quite yet, I'm still relishing my top level in single player Death Match mode, and seeing if I can manage ten wins straight at that level.
If the computer begins the round, and one or both of your two worms (versus their sixteen or so?) are positioned at the edge of the water, then that's easily 50% of your armada blown away from the get-go.
But I'm doing alright still. I thought I'd share with y'all a quick list of the observations and wisdoms I've gathered from this game, and how you can easily best the Deathmatch mode specifically. The missions all require their own strategies, and the practice and time-based runs are DIFFICULT. Precision's yet another level of mastery. But as for the strategies involved with this one particular mode...
Cyberdevil's Ten maxims of WWP:
1. If the opposing worms are smart, then they're by far more predictable, and thus easier to beat.
Be careful with the low-intelligence ones, since they don't just occasionally miss or bounce a grenade back at themselves, but also often accidentally hit you! Even when you're hiding among their brethren.
Don't get too close since you just don't know how they'll react; what weapon they might attempt to use even in confined spaces. Though if you play long enough I'm sure you'll start to see patterns here too.
But this brings me to...
2. Team players don't hurt each other, and they don't switch!
If you find yourself vastly outnumbered: hide among the ranks of your foe!
They won't shoot each other, and since it's a turn-based game where only one of your foes gets a turn each round, before you get a turn again, you can easily move between them, and make sure to stay close to one that won't be able to do anything in a while yet.
Throw projectiles at other foes while you stay close to your safe worm, fortify yourself, or go in for a close-range battle, moving from worm to worm; gradually decreasing their health as you do.
In the older Worms games - at least in the second one, you were able to switch Worms at the beginning of each turn - the computer too, but fortunately that doesn't work here, and they never switch.
You can however switch worms yourself as to move both of your own worms closer to an enemy on for example the first turn, keeping both of them in-game as long as possible.
3. Computer-controlled worms are sedentary and predictable.
If you just keep a distance, you usually don't have to worry about the enemy coming in close-range and doing something unexpected.
For the most part they'll just throw grenades or bazooka shots at you - or snipe you with the shotgun - with impeccable aim! BUT they don't move much. They won't parachute, or bungee, or rope their way across the level as to invade any safe space you might've made for yourself there. So use digging tools and natural barriers to your advantage.
4. Bazooka shots are inescapable with wind.
If you're on open terrain - this implying at least one side of the terrain around you is open to incoming fire - then they can hit you.
If the wind is favorable, the most intelligent tier of enemies can easily hit you from even the furthest side of the level.
If you want to avoid bazooka fire you need barriers both above and to your sides. If you want to be able to leave your safe space temporarily to lob a projectile, make sure you're holed up in a manner where the ground slants upwards into your shelter, and does in no way provide an open route for a projectile, assuming the wind is made favorable.
You never know when it will be.
5. Water is wicked, and worms are wonderfully mobile.
The best and most satisfying way of ridding yourself of enemies is simply to maneuver them in a way in which they plummet to a cold and cruel depth in the abyss of the watery void that surrounds you... and the way there is best reached by means of fire punches, dragon ball blasts, baseball bats or with other means of high-impact explosives!
If you have a surface that slants slightly downwards you can easily bat off a dozen worms with the bat, or with a blast of choice. An Uzi works well too.
If there is a hump in the land, then the fire punch works wonders, and if there are multiple humps slanting downwards you can possibly get a domino effect going there too, with worms bouncing over multiple hills, causing a landslide of devastation.
If the distance is too far you can lower gravity to amplify the impact, and don't forget that you can use your fire punch mid-jump as to reach foes even when there's a high gap between you. Plus it cuts through ground like butter, making it possible to reach the foe even through a safe barrier.
Dynamite, sheep, banana bombs - all kinds of power weapons - can have a devastating water-reaching effect if you position them right.
6. Fire barrels, mines and bridges help you, not kill you.
The more of these you have on a level the better! Get the foes in close. Blow up the barrels when they're on them to send them flying. Shoot a mine into a cluster of worms and barrels for greater damage. Throw a rain of fire down onto a mined bridge with worms on it for quick watery death.
The more foes you're fighting, the better your chances of defeating great hordes at once. Just gather 'em together. If the slopes slant inwards, then shoot them down the hillsides so they're all stuck at the bottom, and bombard them collectively, preferably taking down the ground under them at the same time.
You can rope down to a mine to make it explode without forfeiting your turn too, or nudge one while on the jetpack, or after you're jetpacking away at the end of your turn - all these obstacles are mobile bonus points when it comes to turn time damage.
7. Gatherings do maximum damage.
There's a domino effect in death, as well.
In crowds, worms that die damage the worms around then, or move a mine, or set a barrel ablaze, or undermine the ground beneath them. Use this to your best advantage. If you can just kill one, then the rest can best-case kill each other.
The best place to get 'em is in a small confined space where they easily gather at the same end, or the bottom of a crevice.
8. Computer-controlled worms like to shoot crates.
Akin to barrels, crates combust into a ball of flame when triggered, so unless you get them yourself you'd best stay clear of them!
For some reason AI enemies prefer to shoot these crates rather than get them - unless they're very close. Refer to #3.
If you want you can leave said crates for potential extra damage if and when they do blow them up. It seems the AI doesn't always factor in the wind when it comes to both crates and barrels, and they can sometimes burn both themselves or their team-mates.
If they're at the edge of the map it's possible they'll spontaneously kill themselves while they try this.
9. Sudden Death is not worth waiting for.
After a certain number of rounds, if no one party has been victorious in wiping the other off the map, a thing called Sudden Death kicks in. Here your health is reduced to one - along with the health of your foes, and the water level starts rising a bit for each turn.
You'd think it might be a benefit to hole up somewhere and hide while you wait for this event to occur, especially when you're facing insurmountable odds, but it really takes a looong time to get there, and chances are the projectiles that keep raining on your hide-out will kill you long before you have an opportunity to wipe out said enemies.
If there are more than two of them, chances are they'll easily get in a hit that takes away that one HP you have left at the end too. It happens all too easily. Not worth it. The odds are better when there's HP to spare - even if they are plenty. Just #2 it.
10. Shotguns for the finale.
If you have just one worm left, and little health, and there are two or more worms remaining in relatively close-vicinity to each other, then in most cases the shotgun is the best way to end the level.
You can move between foes as you wipe them out one by one, until finally there are just two worms left to alternate between, and then you bring their health down to 25 or lower each, and end the round with two well-aimed shots on your final turn.
Master the shotgun and you can easily use #7 to your advantage here, and for example have one worm with less than 25 HP bring one with up to 50 HP down to 25 in the same round, ready for the second shotgun blast.
Don't get greedy though. Be sure you have a good aim, and that you can maneuver the remaining worms as you wish when you really close in for the kill.
Aaaand that's it!
There's probably more wisdom I could offer but I'm getting tired of writing these. Those be the essentials.
If you're playing other variants of Worms these may all not apply. When you know the loopholes things suddenly get much easier, but considering the enemies impeccable precision you'd have no chance if they:
1. Didn't mind sacrificing each other to get to you.
2. Had a more imaginative approach to their attack strategy, and used both obstacles and terrain to their advantage too.
3. Truly used all weapons they have at their disposal.
But go frag some worms y'all!
It's a great game.
I just wish the new elements of actual on-level water, lava, fire etc could've been implemented with this old engine too.
I don't like the style or mechanics of the more recent editions as much, but they do add some really cool updates both when it comes to the weapon array and the physics. They re-envisioned the game nicely, but why'd they have to go make those worms so chunky while they were at it?! And smarter too, I think...
Also: Master the jump. And the rope - you have multiple shots in one swing, and you can easily swing yourself just about anywhere.
And save distance-based weaponry for last if you have remaining foes that'd be easy to take out that way.