When Team 17 decided to produce a new version of Worms it seems the brief was simple. "Just put any features in that you couldn't squeeze onto Worms when you first did it. Go mad, have fun!" And that's pretty much exactly what original Worms creator, Andy Davidson did with Worms - The Director's Cut.
And wy the devil not? Worms is a phenomenally successful game that's been enjoyed by thousands on many different platforms - even PlayStation gamers have realised that a game doesn't need polygon characters running around 3D worlds to be fun - and while Worms 2 is still some way off surely there's some mileage to be gained to adding new tweaks and twists to the existing engine?
And those twists and tweaks? A few more weapons (homing pigeons, mad cows, sheep on a rope, concrete donkeys - you get the picture) and the ability to scribble on a blank screen and have the game take that scribble and turn it into a landscape. Or you could do pictures if you want. Or maybe a combination?
The other major game change (well, more of an expansion) is the ability to change the stats for the weapons and things - if you now think a bazooka shot should be able to take an enemy down the first time, then change the strength of the bazooka's shot. There's a league, where two to four teams compete (there are five computer controlled teams of various abilities to play with but it's perfectly possible to create as many teams as you like with intelligence settings from 1 - 10).
There's the familiar 'friendly', plus a tournament mode where 4-8 teams compete in a knockout tournament, with each match lasting a pre-set number of rounds (sort of best out of three type thing)
So there you go. What you now need to know is whether to rush out and buy the game - especially if you've got a lovely AGA machine. I wouldn't bother mate. Shock, horror. Sorry everyone, I just don't think there's enough here to make it a worthwhile purchase for Worms fans.
Sure, if you don't already own Worms - which is a damn fine game, worthy of a Format Gold any day - then you should get yourself down the shops pronto. But if you do already own the original then you're not really missing anything if you save your money by not buying this.
But what about all the new landscapes and the cavern levels and things? I concede that they alter the 'flavour' of the game slightly, but not enough to make that much of a difference. The graffiti mode does make it very easy to create your own landscapes, and that can only be a good thing but it's just not enough to write home about.
I think you're getting the drift now. Sure, Worms is a top game because it's pure competition - in the same vein as something like Micro Machines - and that's why it's great fun and that's why you can keep playing and playing. But Worms - The Director's Cut is just Worms with a bit of icing. Much like Sensible Soccer European Championship Edition (but without the glaring errors, Sensi) which you'd be wasting your money on if you already owned Sensi Soccer in one of its various incarnations, this would be a waste of money for anyone who already had the original.
EASY WAY OUT
It's an increasing problem with games these days. Publishers and developers are increasingly scared of innovation. A game costs a substantial amount to develop and if publishers are going to recover that money they've got to make sure they're developing the right games - that often means they take the easy route of producing a sequel.
Call it 'The Director's Cut' or 'Special Edition' and sit back and hope the games hungry public lap it up. Most of the time it works (when there are enough new features to merit a new version) but the price we pay is a lack of innovation and inspiration when it comes to new designs.
Hatts off to Team 17 for having the balls to bring us Worms in the first place but Worms - The Director's Cut looks like old rope to me and I just hope they've got a lot of new ideas for any further games bearing the Worms name.