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The Antstream Arcade Archive: Worms

In our latest Antstream Arcade Archive series, we take a look at another specific game from the Antstream Arcade Retro vault, giving you the lowdown on its plot and gameplay, as well tips and what to expect when you play it on Antstream. This month we proudly present Worms, the Team 17 strategy game from 1995 that proved war CAN be fun!

So what it’s about?

It’s war, soldier, and it’s good for… having buckets of fun! You’re in charge of an elite squad of worms, making use of the available weapons and skills to eliminate the enemy, preferably as messily as possible. Your little annelids can walk, jump and attack the opponent worms with victory awarded to the team with the last worm standing.

Ah yes, those well-known war-mongering creatures… worms?

You may mock, but these spineless fellows are adept at utilising all manner of weaponry, from rocket launchers to grenades and shotguns. Each level pitches the worm commander and his team against an opposing squad, and you must order your worms around in the most efficient way to take them out. Use terrain and arms to your advantage and all within the strict turn-based structure. Casualties are…inevitable.

Aren’t turn-based games a bit boring and slow?

Not a bit of it, at least not in Worms’ case. Each turn has a time limit, preventing a ponderous leader from taking too long in deciding what to do with their crawling soldiers. There is also plenty of manic action to each area complete with dramatic explosions and amusing worm-related expirations. The controls are streamlined to make the experience even more accessible.

Gotcha. It all looks quite jovial.

War is definitely a laughing matter in this game. Each cute worm wobbles around the screen, and there are plenty of amusing deaths, accompanied by the relevant pained scream. Once the player gets hold of some of the more ludicrous arsenal, even more hilarity ensues.

What weapons do I have at my disposal?

To begin with, the worms are each armed with a humble bazooka, but this devastating weapon can be a bit tricky to direct accurately. For closer encounters you can give your soldier a machine gun, shot gun or grenade, and each reduces the enemy strength should you score a direct hit. Pressing up or down aims the selected weapon.

These aren’t like the worms in my garden!

No siree, these valiant wrigglers can walk, jump and wield explosive ordnance. We’d be a bit worried if you had worms like that in your garden - cutting the grass would kick off World War 3!

So, any battle tactics to help out this budding worm commander?

In addition to weapons, there are a bunch of useful tools for the worms to manipulate to their advantage. Dig for victory with the pneumatic drill or burn away obstacles with a blowtorch, while the teleport very helpfully transports the selected worm straight to where you need them. Learning how to apply all of these elements at the right time is the key to success.

What about those crates? What’s in ‘em?

Aha! These bonus items drop down randomly between turns and are redeemed to whichever team reaches them first. Supply boosts of the standard weapons are usually inside, or sometimes there are special items such as the banana bomb, a crazy explosive that bounces haphazardly all over the map causing mayhem and destruction. Nice!

What does Worms look like on Antstream Arcade?

We have the Sega Mega Drive version of Worms on Antstream and the frenzied 2D action is perfectly reproduced. And as befits such a bonkers game, we have four silly challenges for players to have fun with. In “The Early Grenade Catches The Worm” you must cause as much damage to all combatants inside five minutes, while Blue vs. Red is a time-attack one-worm elimination mission. First Blood pitches the player’s lone worm warrior against a whole team and finally we have the chaotic Banana Boran. With unlimited banana bombs, cause as much damage as you can within the time limit.

Anything similar I can try?

There are plenty of strategy titles on Antstream Arcade, and most of them are as accessible as Worms. Also on the Mega Drive you can play God sim Mega-Lo-Mania and The Humans, both of which are as colourful and charming as the Team 17 game.

Thank you for reading - watch out for another blast from the Antstream Arcade Archive soon! Challenge accepted!

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