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Worms Forts: Under Siege PlayStation 2

Published by SEGA
Developed by Team 17
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £39.99

Last year we saw the ever popular Worms series move from 2D to 3D, in Worms 3D, and quite a successful move it was too. This year those Worms return again and this time they've bought siege warfare with them too, in Worms Forts: Under Siege. As well as looking after your worms whilst trying to take out the enemies, you'll now have to build your own base and make sure you get hold of those siege weapons to take down the enemies base. It definitely adds more to the Worms formula but it's not without it's problems.

Worms Forts: Under Siege offers a Quick Game, Tutorial, Campaign Mode, The Trials and a Viewing Gallery. Quick Game is just that and it places you in a quick battle. Tutorial mode allows you to get to grips with the basics of the game. Campaign Mode is the heart of the single player experience and it begins in Egypt with a rather simplistic mission. The Trials offers a series of challenges for you to undertake whilst the Viewing Gallery allows you to revisit those movie clips that you've encountered in the game. Essentially each battle begins with each team having a fort and on each turn you can build additions to this structure. There's also victory locations that are there to be claimed. It all seems like it could add so much more but it's taking a game that was always known, and loved, for being simple and quick to play and trying to make it into something much more drawn out and complicated.

Whilst those of you who purchase the Xbox version of Worms Forts: Under Siege can enjoy online games this year (along with PC gamers) those of you who choose the GameCube or PlayStation 2 versions of the game will find that online play is not an option. Whilst this is not a loss to GameCube owners who don't expect their games to have online support, it's a blow for PlayStation 2 gamers who want to take advantage of the network adapter they've paid for. Multiplayer is still an option of course for offline play but online play would have been good but having said that as the game no longer has those fast and snappy battles there are probably few who would want to take part in lengthy battles.

Onto the game play itself then and it's here that Worms Forts: Under Siege comes a little unstuck. The biggest problem is the length of time that it takes to complete a battle. You'll first get an idea of how drawn out the whole thing is when you try to finish the tutorials as the battle that you have to take part in to complete the tutorials seems to take forever. Battles in general are long drawn out affairs. Traditionally Worms has been about quick-fire battles that are over in minutes. The battles in Worms Forts: Under Siege are battles of attrition with each side slowly wearing each other down. Even the addition of siege weapons does little to speed things up. The AI can take rather too long in making decisions too and this adds to the frustration at times.

Graphically the game is of the same standard as last years Worms 3D. The worms are large and chunky creatures, fairly low detail but colourful nevertheless. Once again a bright and cheery palette has been used for the game and it's a style that suits the cheeky nature of the worms themselves. You'll find a definite ancient history theme in the game and it's rather comical to see the worms in this guise. One of the disappointments with the PlayStation 2 version of the game (the PC demo I played was fine) is the frame rate which seems to dip rather frequently however because of the turn-based nature of the game it doesn't really cause a problem but with the fairly simple, although charming, appearance of the game it's something I wouldn't have expected. Camera angles can be a right pain in 3D titles and occasionally the camera angles are a nuisance. More disturbing though is the lack of destructible terrain which has always been a highlight for previous Worms titles. The forts can be destroyed but little else can and this takes a lot away from the game.

Worms Forts: Under Siege won't cause deaf gamers any problems. Mission descriptions are given in text and mission introductions are also given in text. Just before a mission begins you'll be given your objectives in text too which is always good to see. These objectives can be recalled at any time by pressing the start button. The games tutorial is also delivered via text and this will enable you to learn the game basics. You'll also receive text game tips on loading screens. The only speech that's not subtitled is the comments from the worms themselves and this doesn't really spoil anything and their comments can be repetitive.

Worms Forts: Under Siege is by no means a bad game but it does come as a bit of a shock to those who've followed the series for a while. It's lost the humorous quick-fire battles that the series has been so well known for over the years and instead it's become a drawn out affair that simply doesn't allow for a quick game. The game probably has more chance of appealing to those who haven't played the previous titles and realised just how addictive they are and this is unfortunate. If you haven't yet experienced a console version of Worms then I would opt for Worms 3D over this. If you're interested in Worms Forts: Under Siege it's probably best to make it a rental first just to see if it's your thing.

Overall Game Rating: 6.5/10
Worms Forts: Under Siege is OK but it's lost a lot of what made the Worms series so great.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The Worms comments are not subtitled but otherwise it's fine.