The third, and last, game included in Worms Collection is Worms: Ultimate Mayhem and, like Armageddon, the title reflects in the gameplay and content.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem, released in 2011 for XBLA and Steam (released in 2012 for PSN), is a remake of Worms 4: Mayhem, and continues the ‘controversial’ use of 3D graphics (Read http://forum.team17.com/showthread.php?t=30522 for more insight). A re-release of Worms 4: Mayhem (2005), this is the game that Worms 3D should have been – buggy camera issues fixed, the campaign is more in-depth, and the multiplayer is as fun as ever. Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is a fantastic game that highlights the positives of Worms’ move into 3D graphics while remaining true to the classic Worms gameplay and style that made the series a hit. In all, it is the best choice to top off Worms Collection.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem isn’t going to win any awards for its campaign – it is incredibly simple, due to the plot being seemingly for a younger audience (being the second Worms game rated PEGI 3+). However, a Mass Effect plot and character exploration seems like an unfair expectation, considering the game’s style and premise: cartoon-based fun. Being the first Worms game to contain pre-animated cutscenes, Ultimate Mayhem’s story-mode opens in a classroom at Wormwinkle University, with Professor Wormwinkle (bearing remarkable resemblance to Doc Brown from Back to the Future) issuing a war-room-style briefing to the students – the player’s team of Worms. The professor takes the students on a field trip to inspect some “new developments that the enemy has under construction,” and with no word on who ‘the enemy’ is or what they’re constructing, the player, and their worms, trusts the Professor’s word. Leading them on a chase through time (just after my favorite line of the game “Good job I brought the Time Machine!”), on the run from Government officials, Knights, and even Cowboys, the team of worms slowly discover that the Professor is not the best worm to trust after all. Then again, the players could already tell from the delivery of his lines (which were surprisingly well-done, even though the dialogue was basic and the voice was too high to register many emotions).
Many elements pull together to deliver the story, such as pre-rendered cinematics outside of levels; short cutscenes before, during, and after levels; and through – obviously – the dialogue during those scenes. The story is predictable and a little bland at times, being based on a comedic premise aimed towards a younger audience, but does prove amusing and surprisingly cohesive. As mentioned previously, the story won’t win any awards, but the storyline itself is at least there. And better than Worms 3D’s.
The gameplay in Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is wound tight, especially when compared to Worms 3D. While Worms 3D had terrible camera positioning and movement, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem has addressed and repaired these issues by making the camera less sensitive to the thumbstick and the movement more fluid (though it still isn’t as good as Worms 1 and 2). The game itself plays similarly to the previous Worms titles, with the player controlling a team of worms in turn-based combat against up to 4 players, online or off. The key difference in gameplay between Ultimate Mayhem and the other Worms games in the Collection is the 3D aspect. On a 2D plain the players only really had to worry about elevation, wind strength and direction. Bringing 3D into play requires players to reconsider the approach that they took to Worms. Simple things, such as the wind direction, are drastically altered by the possibility of 360 degrees of directional strength, forcing players to always take precise note of the wind meter. The 3D camera also introduces the option of different points of view, such as first person and blimp view (hold X and Y respectively). Because of this, the game is primarily played in third person while moving, but shooting and ordering airstrikes need a switch in perspective.
Along with a new style of play, Ultimate Mayhem comes packed with a variety of game modes, each with their own unique style of play. From the Local Game tab on the menu, players can choose from Quick Game, Tutorials, Story, Worms 3D Campaign, Versus Mode, Challenges, and Worms 3D Survival Challenges. The Quick Game works the same as the previous Worms games, dropping players straight into a deathmatch on a randomized map, and the tutorials once again acquaint players with movement, controls, and combat. The campaign includes Worms 3D’s story - while not as fleshed out as Ultimate Mayhem’s – to offer the player a more recent-classic 3D feel, along with the updated graphics, fixed movement and fluid camera controls. It also allows for more single-player ‘story’ experiences than would normally be included, for players who prefer or enjoy the story aspect.
Versus and Challenges are where the replay value is in the game, and where it truly shines. ‘Versus’ has 5 game modes, each tailored to offer a different style of play. Deathmatch is still the classic deathmatch, and successfully captures the essence of the original Worms experience. Homelands is a re-naming of Fort from Worms 2: Armageddon, and places teams in charge of their own fort to take on the enemy in deathmatch-style play. This game mode is my favorite because it offers many different approaches to victory, with crates dropping in the middle of the map to encourage players to risk leaving the safety of their fort. Destruction takes on Homelands, but with a twist: instead of the enemy worms being the target, the player must destroy the enemy’s base – the last base standing wins. Complete with health bars at the bottom of the screen to keep tabs on each base, Destruction is a unique game type that requires players to think outside the normal ‘deathmatch’ box, using bigger and more powerful weapons to achieve the goal of destruction, rather than focusing on the worms. Statue Defend works similarly to Homelands, in that each team is in charge of a fort, but this time the targets are the enemy team’s statues, placed strategically in and around the bases. This once again encourages players to approach the game tactically, and to use the full arsenal of weapons at their disposal – particularly the homing weapons. Finally, Survivor involves players having only one worm each - once a worm dies another will take its place, and so on until a whole team loses, the goal being to eliminate the other team’s worms. This game type again resembles a different take on deathmatch, and makes the player think differently about how to approach dealing with the enemy worms. Without the disadvantage of having an unsuspecting worm being defeated before he has the chance to move, this mode focuses the combat between just two worms, with speed allowing players to gain the upper hand.
The challenges are another redeeming quality in the Worms series, and Ultimate Mayhem is no exception. The Challenges in Ultimate Mayhem range from jet packing around a level and collecting crates to poisoning the most amount of worms in a specified time limit. These challenges vary in their difficulty, each one testing a different aspect of the game and the player’s arsenal. Coupled with the Survival time-based challenges from Worms 3D, Ultimate Mayhem provides enough challenges for players to keep coming back to improve their scores longer than the campaign missions would.
In summary, the gameplay of Ultimate Mayhem has its issues, such as the camera sometimes trapping itself behind a wall, but the overall experience is one of challenging fun. With a variety of game modes to choose from, in both local and online multiplayer, against humans or AI, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is a mix of what made the previous Worms games so good added to the unique style of 3D play. Then again, good gameplay is nothing without good maps, and that is something that Ultimate Mayhem has plenty of…
Ultimate Mayhem has a plethora of unique levels in the campaign, multiplayer, and challenges. Surrounding the choice of maps are 5 main themes: Arabian, Camelot, Construction, Prehistoric, and Wild West. While the campaigns and challenge modes use a wide range of pre-built maps, the versus mode sees a return of the map generator. When making a game, the players must choose from one of the 5 themes, being offered the chance to enter a level code. Once the player selects a theme, a level generates, showing the player a birds-eye model of the map. The player can simply hit the Y button to switch between randomized level designs. This generator allows for plenty of replay-value, as every new game takes place on a new map, as per the previous Worms games. The themes themselves are also well designed, and help provide extra variety in the choice of maps.
While the shift into 3D had a rocky start, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem provides the best of all Worms experiences combined into one, managing to implement the 3D component far better than Worms 3D. The story is more in-depth than its predecessors, and it has a great variety of game types, missions, and challenges that will keep people playing the game years after they added it to their collection (Worms Collection). Team17 did an excellent job at combining all the elements of the game to create a fun and engaging experience, while taking care of any previous issues the games had. The weapons are fun to use, maps vary and are well designed, the customization in both Worms, weapons, and game types is far more refined than in the other games, and all the different game modes provide for hours and hours of entertainment. This combination of gameplay styles and weapons from the previous games makes for a fantastically well-crafted game, and the perfect end to the Worms Collection. I can only hope that, when they make another Worms game, they make it just as good – if not better.
- Fun and engaging
- Variety of content
- More maps than previous games
- Satisfaction when beating Team17′s time on challenges
- Still slight camera issues
- Controls are sometimes hard to master (with Super Sheep)
- Story mode isn’t as good as it could be
Suitability: All ages
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Replay value: Very high
Overall Collection summary
Worms Collection is a fantastic buy that bundles together 3 brilliant games, each showcasing a different era in Worms history. On their own each game is fun, but together in a package like this they are unstoppable. I highly recommend picking up Worms Collection, inviting a few friends over, and enjoying Worms the way it was meant to be played – with company, having fun, and showing your friends no mercy.