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Worms: Ultimate Mayhem Review

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Posted by: Tate Steinlage

Gamezone Review Rating 7.0 Good

The Worms franchise has always been one that has taken players by surprise. As simple as the concept is, one would vision the series burning out after several previous titles have been released. Following the footsteps of Worms 3D and Warms 4: Mayhem, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem brings back all that players have come to know and love, while featuring a number of excellent additions. Interesting enough, these additions have also created several problems that hold back Worms: Ultimate Mayhem from being a superb XBLA title. Are these flaws overshadowing all Ultimate Mayhem has to offer, or does the title still carry the hilarious gameplay formula seen in past worms titles?

When you first boot up Worms: Ultimate Mayhem and jump into a quick match, you will notice several changes from past titles in terms of the environment, but gameplay speaking, Ultimate Mayhem plays much
like past Worms' titles. Whether you are playing a local game or online versus another LIVE player, the concept is the same: eliminate the opponent's worms using a wide arsenal of weapons before they eliminate your crew of worms. Ultimate Mayhem features dozens of weapons that ensure hilarious gameplay; whether that be knocking a worm in the face with fire fists, or using an airstrike on several defense less worms. The weapons also encourage another one of Worms: Ultimate Mayhem's goals: destruction. There is nothing better than strategically working your way up ramps to lay a stick of dynamite by tied up TNT and instantly blowing up every enemy in the near surrounding.

As stated earlier, Ultimate Mayhem takes a different approach in terms of the environment and how you interact with it. You can now view the entire map - using it to spot your next move or view where enemies are located. This feature puts extra emphasis on the strategy portion of the game, and really helps you grasp the point of what Worms is all about. In addition to viewing the environment in an overhead view, Ultimate Mayhem allows both a third and first person view of your worm. While this instantly improves aiming accuracy, it also generates several problems. The camera can get very touchy, sometimes switching between third and first person. In addition, sometimes the camera will pan away from your worm, which is especially upsetting when trying to run away from dynamite or grenades.

Where Worms: Ultimate Mayhem truly shines is in its customization. You now have the ability to create your own team of worms - making them as silly or series as you would like. Experience points also help you
unlock new items for your worms, really adding to the replayability of the game. Creating a team of worms that feature rainbow'ed fro's, glasses, and carry individual names like "Worm Man III" is definitely something that will make you chuckle. Surprisingly enough, the worms' carry cute, witty dialogue that help push along the sometimes long play sessions.

For 1200 MSP, Ultimate Mayhem offers 60 missions, 38 weapons and 12 graphical themes, as well as full online play for up to four players. While the missions are mostly centered around the same concept, the wide array of weapons keep things interesting, and keep you wanting to try new combinations to gather kills. Each theme is brilliantly designed - no two are a like - and are gorgeous in terms of lighting and backdrop. Sadly, though, frame rate issues plague the stunning designs, and can really frustrate you in the heat of battle. Also, for an XBLA title, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem have some of the longest loading times that I have personally seen. These issues do not seem major, in terms of gameplay, but they slow down the experience and sometimes cause you to get bored.

Overall, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is a quality compilation of what the Worms franchise has given us over the years. The 3-D environment creates stellar, strategic gameplay, while over three dozen weapons constantly create destructional fun. It's a shame, though, that inconsistency with the in-game camera, along with frame rate issues, have to deteriorate the gameplay. Nonetheless, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem offers an experience that any Worms fan will love to play, and anexperience that newcomers will come to respect.

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