Worms 3D Hands-On Impressions

We do battle with a demo version of Team 17's colorful worm warfare game for the PC at ECTS 2003.

Developer Team 17 doesn't have an exhibition booth at ECTS this year, but on a visit to Nvidia's booth, we discovered that a demo version of Worms 3D is being shown for the first time on just a single PC. The timed demo featured only two teams of worms and a single map, but there were plenty of different weapons available, and the island level we were doing battle on had plenty of variety in terms of both objects and altitude.

Controlling the worms in 3D is actually a lot like it is in the 2D Worms games--the only difference being that since the cursor keys are used for aiming weapons, the mouse controls your direction. Negotiating the maps is no more difficult than in previous Worms games, but because of the added third dimension, reaching your preferred vantage point can often take a long time. Unfortunately, the length of the turns (which are timed) in the demo version of the game we played seemed just a little too short for moving, selecting a weapon, and then firing it. Hopefully an option to alter the turn length will be included in the final version of the game.

We're also hoping that an option to aim weapons using mouse-look might be made available, because while it's useful to be able to look around while moving, aiming with the cursor keys is both unintuitive and time-consuming. On those occasions that our challenging bazooka shots met their target, the humorous reactions of the worms and the deformation of the landscape was exactly what we've come to expect from the Worms series, and it's clear to see that the ever-changing landscapes will have as big a part to play in the game as the worms themselves. No maps of the levels are available during gameplay, but a small radar in the corner of the screen provides the approximate locations of all the worms, and although the feature didn't seem implemented in the demo, an overhead "blimp view" was also mentioned in the instructions.

Worms 3D is currently scheduled for release later this year. PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube versions of the game are also in development.

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