Death Worm Game

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Death Worm –A destructive yet addictive cross-section of the life of a worm-monster

Stumbling upon a website containing a collection of ‘Westcountry Worm Games’, I was utterly convinced that I had reached the most distant and darkest side of the internet. This site contained a selection of various games which involve (in some way or another) the manipulation and control of various worms and worm-like creatures in various contexts and ways for the sole purpose of your entertainment. ‘Death Worm’is a frighteningly persuasive offering which managed to turn my initial cynicism of this unusual genre of games into stunned disbelief at the enjoyment which I managed derived from it. So exactly what is the benefit of basing a piece of entertainment around what is essentially one of the most specific genres of game I have ever encountered? Below, I’ll attempt to deliver some information and logical reasoning to explain precisely why this game is so entertaining.

‘Death Worm’plunges you into the life and daily mischief of a large and deadly-looking worm creature that is terrifying in appearance and even more so in temperament. Having the shape of a worm, the teeth of a shark and the body of an irradiated centipede, your worm’s favourite pastime appears to be creating devastation in his surroundings and being responsible for the wanton destruction of any living creature that is unlucky enough to be passing by on the ground above. I imagine your face is currently displaying the same quantity of disbelief that mine showed when playing for the first time;this is understandable, but my disbelief soon changed to confused contentment with what I was playing.

The action appears to take place in Egypt or at very least one of the world’s pyramid-containing territories. Presented with a cross-section view of your worm’s habitat, you are charged with controlling the worm’s movements through the large section of underground space. However, this underground space simply acts as a place to retreat to once you have gained enough momentum to burst out of the ground above and eat/destroy whatever is in your path. The objective is essentially to alternate between crawling through the ground and jumping out of it to explore your dinner options for the day, of which there turn out to be plenty of choices .

To control the action, you simply have to use the directional arrows on your keyboard;this turns the worm’s head in the corresponding direction and his body thusly follows. Getting used to the controls took me a few minutes;I would compare the experience with playing ‘Snake’on the indestructible Nokia phones from times past, only with considerably more colour and provision for graphics. Your worm creature also possesses other additional abilities such as being able to shoot fireballs and accelerate his movement to speeds beyond that of a regular flesh-hungry non-arthropod invertebrate animal. Fireballs are shot by pressing the space bar and Nitrous-powered acceleration is achieved by pressing ‘N’.

Acquiring the ability to accelerate or shoot fireballs is as easy as collecting the corresponding power-ups during your travels. Fireballs appear as a small flame icon and your acceleration or ‘Nitrous’power-up is a small blue self-portrait of the very worm you are playing as. Collecting fireballs allows you to attack enemies from a considerable distance, giving you the advantage of firing your projectiles and popping safely back in the ground. Your ‘Nitrous’power allows you to gather considerable speed and jump high enough into the air to test the flying skills of even the most qualified of airline pilots. At this point I must ask you this question: Are you not entertained? If not, I cannot hope to help you because in short, you get to eat planes. If this doesn’t constitute pure entertainment then I don’t know what does.

We now move on to the rich selection of creatures available to our worm for his brunch. Starting with the occasional passing camel and tigers that roam across the landscape, the game throws out increasingly unusual prey as you progress. The occasional and inexplicable elephant appears to be considerably outside of his natural habitat and comfort zone and lizards also make themselves at home in your underground territory;you are able to immediately put a stop to this by making him your pallet cleanser between the more sizable meals.

After you have caused enough destruction to warrant human intervention, armed personnel are called in order to attempt to put a stop to your rampage. This proves easier said than done since you are able to retreat underground at your leisure. These armed soldiers bring along vehicles such as police cars and larger vehicles (including tanks) in their feeble attempts to stop your quest for a full stomach. Helicopters of various sizes also attempt to make aerial attempts to stop you, while the planes simply fly passively across the sky without any attempts to stop you. This still doesn’t stop you upsetting the flight pattern by jolting them out of the sky. Your destruction of all of the above is awarded with varying amounts of points, ranging from small amounts for the animals to much larger rewards for bringing down the aeronautical vehicles.

The destruction of consecutive vehicles/creatures/humans is rewarded by ‘chain’bonuses which multiply further depending on the number of things you have destroyed in quick succession. A word of warning about the humans however, as their attempts to stop you don’t end at simply shooting you;proximity mines are often dropped from the air and the tanks and helicopters appear to be able to shoot explosive projectiles in your direction, making hiding underground eventually useless. Your only option in the later stages is to attack and show the humans what you’re made of, and since you’re made of many teeth which are able to devour planes, I’d say you have a pretty good chance of success in your efforts.

It would displease me to tell you that the fun stops there, so it’s pretty fortunate that there are further features that make the game extremely addictive to play. Much like many racing titles out there in the wide world of flash games, you are given the opportunity to upgrade your worm. This is not a piece of figurative speech;you are literally afforded the opportunity to collect upgrades throughout the levels to increase the attributes of your worm including worm size, speed, skin strength, nitro duration and fireball level. Most of these attributes explain themselves, whereas I feel that skin strength simply protects you against damage from projectiles, increasing your defences further as you upgrade. Upgrading takes place when indicated by the game, and is achieved by pressing ‘N’.

Cards on the table, I was not expecting much from ‘Death Worm’;I think I speak for most people when I say that the genre of worm-related games appears at first sight to be a little too narrow for the casual gamer. After I began playing the game, my doubts were silenced and my scepticism was readily quashed. The addictive gameplay and the potential for absolute human and animal destruction was simply too astronomic to ignore.

The option of upgrading your worm, though a relatively unusual premise, was a nice touch that increased the addictive nature of Play Creek's game considerably. As a side note, I’m not entirely sure why racing terms such as ‘Nitrous’apply to what is essentially a human spine with shark’s teeth;I didn’t ask and you’ll do well not to question it either. What I am sure of however is the large many times I kept returning to play the game, which has option of being able to save your progress and return to it later. Give this incredibly addictive game of highly-specific genre a chance and witness for yourself the reason why eating vehicles whole is so damned entertaining.