Worms 4: Mayhem is the latest game brought into the popular Worms franchise. Like Worms 3D, and Worms: Forts Under Siege, this game is all in 3D. After a disappointing start in the next dimension, the new installment tries to spice things up a bit, boasting new weapons, new scenery and best of all, an all new story mode.
The gameplay in Worms 4: Mayhem plays like a typical worms game, but in 3D. Team 17 seemed to have patched up the holes that were found in Worms 3D and have done a good job at making the game more playable. The movement and camera movements are smooth, and the controls make it easy to perform all the actions, and bring up the weapons list with no problem. For those who have not previously played one of the games before, the general ideas behind the game is taking your team of four to six worms, and kill all the other worms, using crazy weapons and gadgets.
There are several different modes to the new game. Firstly there is the standard quick game, which throws you into a randomized battle against one computer opponent; next there is the standard multiplayer mode where you can fight your friends and/or CPU enemies with personalized settings. There is also a challenge mode, a shop to buy new goods, an area to customize your worms and of course the story mode.
The story mode is unlike anything that has been seen in a Worms game before. The plotline is based on a mad scientist worm, commanding a regiment of worms (your team) into battle. At first you are fighting builders in the current time zone, but as the game progresses, you end up in all sorts of time zones, fighting different worms, each with unique weapon lists. To move to the next level, or mission, the general theme is to destroy all the enemy worms, destroy a designated piece of scenery or collect a certain amount of items, sometimes even a combination of the three. Whilst this is great to begin with, it does seem to lose its charm over time and at points it can feel slightly repetitive; nonetheless it is still fun to pick up and play every now and again.
But this is not where the main focus of these games is. Worms has, and probably always will be, a multiplayer game, and in this respect the development team has achieved what they wanted: a great game to play with friends. The multiplayer mode has lots to offer, six teams at a time can play in a predetermined, or random generated, map. There are different settings for the map such as Prehistoric, Construction Site and The Oasis, and each one feels very different. As well this, there is a "slot" machine where you can add new twists to the game such as double damage, low gravity, slow moving worms etc. With this, each game feels pretty unique and it gives the game a lot of replay value.
On the customization subject, this game has a lot of it. Everything can be changed, from team names and worm names, like in normal worm games, to how the team dresses. That's right; you can now dress your worms up with all sorts of hats, gloves and glasses, all weirder than the last. This is kind of fun, but also seems like a bit of a gimmick after awhile.
On this game you can also create weapons; there are three types, launched, projectile and air. Launched are bazooka type weapons, projectiles are grenade like and air are launched via air strike. Each has there own special use, so choosing which weapon to have (they act like special weapons) is purely down to preference. The way you make the weapon is entirely up to you, but there is a limit on how good each one can actually be.
The graphics work pretty well, with a cartoon feel that has been present in the worms games since the days of Worms: Armageddon. The worms pull a lot of different faces in battle, and they all look pretty funny in different costumes, my personal favorite being the cowboy look. The scenery is what you would expect from the game, and whilst the explosion animations, and other flame animations sometimes contain jaggies, the weapons still look pretty wacky. The audio is never really too impressive, but the voices and the explosion sounds do the jobs that they are intended to do, and even provide a few laughs.
The step into the next dimension was a very big decision for Team 17 at the time, and Worms 3D made the transition smoothly, but, it seemed to lack the quality of the original titles. Worms 4 is a big improvement from its 3D predecessors and the game has taken a step in the right direction. Having not being able to test out the online play, the game might be even better than this review indicates for some people, but it is definitely worth a purchase for anyone looking for a decent multiplayer title. For the main story, the game may only be worth getting when the price drops a bit.