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Worms Forts: Under Siege Review - PS2

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The Worms series began many years ago, delivering turn-based, quirky battles between teams of cartoon-style, pink worms in a two-dimensional fashion. In keeping with the fact that worms often reside in dirt, battles took place upon various concoctions of soil and rubbish such as cans, which loomed threateningly over the tiny worms. Since the three-dimensional revolution, though, the worms have moved from the mucky soil and onto large, living and breathing maps. The latest in the series is Worms Forts: Under Siege, and developer Team 17 has made an attempt to give the series a boost with some innovation in the form of historical references and, as the title suggests, fort building.

Despite the new concept, Worms Forts: Under Siege still manages to firmly retain the feel and essence of its predecessors, simply adding the idea of forts to the structure rather than rebuilding it completely. Battles are still played in forty-five minute or so time limits; each team still carries out their moving, attacking and now building actions within a one minute or so time limit; and the worms themselves - while still bearing the most minimal of personalities - still always have something witty to say. Like its predecessors, though, the game suffers from an extremely slow gameplay pace - impatient players will definitely begin to grow frustrated waiting up to one minute for their opponent to take their turn.

Each team in a battle begins with a keep as the first building block of their fort and their most valuable possession; if your enemy destroys this central keep, all of your worms die and you lose the battle. Not soon into the game do you realise that the forts idea requires you to defend as well as attack; I find that keeping a few worms back at the base building up a fort and the rest attacking is always a good setup.

New buildings - which come in the form of towers and structures similar to your keep such as science labs, weapon factories and castles - must be attached to the rest of your fort in fixed slots. Unfortunately, due to this slot system, forts end up being an unimaginative grid of buildings and walls; don't expect to be able to string together fancy barriers and building layouts. After placing a building in a slot it sprouts up immediately in a comical fashion that coincides with the feel of the game as a whole, along with a thick yet short wall connecting it to whatever building or buildings that it was built next to.

So what's the point of building a fort, exactly? Most importantly, some of the buildings that can be connected to your fort, such as the weapons factory mentioned above, reveal access to many of the game's weapons; only a handful are intially available. Building towers allows you to use siege weapons - some of them, as you may have guessed, being wacky things such as the fridge launcher ... (continued next page)