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2-4-1 Worms and Worms Crazy Golf

For: Mobile
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Nice game, shame about the game

Product: 2-4-1 Worms and Worms Crazy Golf | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Sports, Strategy | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Version: Europe
 
2-4-1 Worms and Worms Crazy Golf Mobile, thumbnail 1
As any gardener knows, worms make for fertile soil, and THQ no doubt sets great stock by that very principle. The template fixed by the original title is so robust and mobile-friendly that new versions can keep wriggling along with virtually no expenditure on design and guaranteed success. As the great bard may once have said: ka-ching.

Having quite rightly milked the franchise for the last few years, THQ is giving something back with this latest 2-4-1, comprising the original Worms and Worms Crazy Golf, a rare departure from the usual artillery-based shenanigans.

Starting at the beginning, then, Worms is the series in its purest form. Taking control of a squad of four, you first have to reconnoitre the deformable terrain that surrounds you to uncover the whereabouts of enemy units. Then, choosing from an arsenal that steadily grows in both power and extravagance, you have to position your worm (shut up), determine the elevation and power of your shot, and finally pull the trigger.

Victory comes when you've managed to deplete the health of every one of your opponents either by repeatedly hitting them with heavy explosives or somehow knocking them into the void, and the game's success lies in the necessity it imposes on you to choose your targets and weapons wisely while making sure your own troops are well-positioned.

Although we originally reviewed it all the way back in March 2006, Worms has held up amazingly well. The graduated backdrops and clear, charismatic sprites would do any current release proud, and while we blushingly retract Jon Thompson's prediction that…

"Worms will undoubtedly become a genuine classic mobile phone game, perhaps still remembered long after we've all been buried and composted by the aforementioned nematodes"

…it's still fine.

The second part of THQ's twin-pack is less auspicious, however. Worms Crazy Golf combines the basic mechanic of the franchise with pitch-and-putt, inviting you to knock a grenade towards an enemy worm tied to a flag.

The three themed courses – Fairground, Weapon Test Facility, Arctic – all scroll both vertically and horizontally, so that getting the grenade from place to place involves not only judging its range and height, but also the best way to guide it onto higher platforms. Despite the three themes, these courses are functionally interchangeable, comprising a queer blend of jagged edges and bland level-design.

The control system is straightforward but poorly adapted to the novelty golf mechanic. You choose the elevation of your shot by moving a crosshair, and judge the strength by stopping a power bar in the appropriate place. Predicting the outcome of a shot is tortuous, and while we're always loath to criticise excessive difficulty lest we appear incompetent, you'll spend simply too much of your time cursing at recalcitrant grenades and biting your fist for this game to be any fun.

We can't help but feel that Worms Crazy Golf missed its own point. As original reviewer Mike Abolins observed…

"The main draw of Worms games of old was always the unfeasible and comic arsenal of weapons that the participants had access to. Unleashing a Mad Cow or Flying Sheep has become an iconic moment in video gaming. Getting stuck with just a hand grenade in Worms Crazy Golf is like a flying saucer sweet without the sherbet in the middle."

Well put.

A decent four-player pass-the-handset mode salvages it from utter mediocrity, but only just. If you're looking for a decent 2D golf game, Microforum's only-quite-good Arcade Sidegolf does a much better job, which demonstrates that you should never try to succeed outside your comfort zone, particularly when inside it you're basically unbeatable. Let it be a lesson to us all.
 
2-4-1 Worms and Worms Crazy Golf
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 30 January 2008
Worms is a classic arcade strategy game that hasn't aged a bit, while Worms Crazy Golf is an ill-conceived mess that should never have been. THQ's latest 2-4-1 is fine, provided you subtract the 2 and the 4
 
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Anonymous | 05:20 - 9 May 2009
Nice game