A new direction for Worms?

Worms Forts Under Siege aims to add a bit more strategy to the mix with a system of opposing forts, but a lack of deformable terrain. Still - think of the catapults and Trojan Donkeys!

We liked Worms 3D. There's no shame in that. Some people might argue there is, but those people are very wrong and mad...

Actually, to be honest, Worms 3D polarised opinion for a good reason - because while some people were quite happy to get their hands on Worms-but-in-three-dimensions, others were more interested in seeing the franchise taken in a new direction, and that didn't really happen. Fair play to the naysayers, then - and say hello to Worms Forts Under Siege on PC, PS2 and Xbox, the 3D Worms game that aims to drive the series in a new and more strategic direction. It's due out before the end of 2004 with Sega at the publishing reins.

At first glance, it's easy to dismiss the screenshots as little more than the last game with slightly nicer visuals (and that's being generous), but in actual fact the changes run a lot deeper. This time out, developer Team 17 has set up a system of opposing forts, and players are able to upgrade their fortifications, build Catapults, Trojan Donkeys and other units, and beat the opposition either by wiping out their team of worms (as is tradition), or simply destroying their defences. However, interestingly, players won't be able to rely on hiding behind bits of scenery so much any more, because while the fortresses themselves will be deformable by design, the terrain won't.

Of course, just because they're adding a whole bunch of new armaments to serve the fort vs. fort idea doesn't mean Team 17 has neglected the usual arsenal of handheld weapons, which have been the mainstay of Worms games since the days of the Amiga. Things like exploding sheep, bazookas and the like are bound to return - and will be joined by all manner of other delights, which can be used to smash through the deformable fortresses in environments ranging from Ancient Egypt and Troy to feudal Japan and Camelot.

And despite changing the format somewhat, the developer is still aiming to support up to four teams of worms, with up to four players per team, and the usual array of unlockable speech banks, themed maps, and mission and challenge-based modes to give single players something to do besides blowing up varyingly competent AI adversaries.

Speaking of which, we quizzed a Sega Europe representative this afternoon about the possibility of multiplayer on PS2 and Xbox (PC multiplayer is something of a given). "We're looking into it" was the response for now. With an E3 unveiling pencilled in (alongside the absurdly fantastic-looking Sega SuperStars and co.) we should know more soon. Expect full impressions of the game as soon as we get our hands on it in May...

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