Many moons ago I reviewed the Dreamcast incarnation of Worms World Party, and as much as I loved it, I harboured cravings for the PC version of the same, to play over my ADSL Internet connection with like-minded invertebrates. So, with this in mind I pulled up my favourite online store and the game duly arrived a couple of days later. However, despite its swish packaging and the fun it promised to be, I had my suspicions about it from the get-go. The problem was the CD checking "solution". Like a lot of recent games, Worms World Party performs a little disc-checking prior to play in order to try and curb piracy, which it quietly does while displaying a "Loading" image. Unfortunately it took two minutes and forty seconds to get past this "Loading" and into the game proper, by which point I was almost convinced it had crashed. The "Loading" claim was certainly a little tenuous for a machine that has been known to break physical laws of speed and elite-ness. Trying again, I inserted the CD, waited for the autorun, then hit "Play" and listened. The disc span up, then gradually span down until I could hear nothing. "Loading" was then displayed for another two-minutes-forty before I arrived. I reasoned this might be device-specific, and installed on my laptop (which uses another brand of DVD-Rom). Loads up in three seconds flat, but my laptop is no beast, and I didn't buy it to play it on a 14" LCD screen, I bought it to play on my PC. I pulled up worms.team17.com, the home of Worms on the Internet, which forwarded me to the relevant page (here). I found no information on this, but that apparently a patch was imminent. This was on the 11th of May. In an effort to try and get round the problem in the meantime, I wrote off a hopeful email to the "Support" address at Team 17. Their response was that my DVD-Rom drive (a sporty Pioneer slot-loader) was having trouble with the Laserlock CD protection system. Notice it was my drive having the problem, not their game. "This problem has been found to exist when attempting to play the game on certain models of Pioneer and Toshiba DVD-ROM drives," they told me. "We are aware of the problem and a patch is being engineered in order to address the issue." That's comforting, but what do I do in the meantime? The FAQ they pointed me to suggested that people who experienced long load times disable DMA (Direct Memory Access) on their CD device to slow it down. Apparently the Pioneer drive is simply too fast for the Laserlock protection system. Incredible. Disabling DMA improved the load time by miles, but my drives require DMA to play DVDs properly, and as it also requires a reboot every time I want to change the setting, I just gave up and left it on, hoping someday that a patch would arrive, and tossing Worms World Party into the back of my drawer. It is perfectly reasonable for Team 17 and Titus to want to protect themselves from the greedy arms of piracy in whatever way they can, but lets face it, they can't win. As if I needed proof of this, Worms World Party was on warez newsgroups the day I bought it, with the Laserlock protection hacked out of it. I downloaded the aforementioned warez to prove this, and yes, upon double-clicking the executable the game booted up instantly with no Laserlock waiting period. So as it stands, the pirates aren't inhibited, just incensed to overcome the locking, and the paying customer is the one who suffers. Incidentally, if you too bought a game that uses the Laserlock protection system (it isn't made obvious how you check this) and experience problems, then you can email firstname.lastname@example.org directly to try and help them address this. Anyway, the good news is that this morning, at about 10am, I received an email from my Support contact at Team 17, who knew me as nothing but a customer, informing me as requested that the new patch was now available at the Worms World Party website. I can now report that the patch does fix the Laserlock "bug", and the game is eminently more playable because of it. In the time it would take to overcome the "Loading" image previously, the player often got bored and decided to do something else. Also joining the patch is a new Mission Pack, with Team 17-designed maps, created with the forthcoming Map Editor. You can check all of this out at their website. Thank you, Team 17, for sorting out your game! Related Feature - Worms World Party Dreamcast Review
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