With a strong franchise, the latest worms outing has a lot to live up to. The latest version is a welcomed addition to the PlayStation 2 platform. Its a game that has pulled together the strategic fun lemmings with the revenge on your friends elements of a good blaster, but has the recipe for action transferred from the PC, N64 and other platforms?

The PS2 version, unlike the Xbox equivalent, lacks online gaming, no doubt due to the larger proportions of the console community playing online via the box.

The new format plays very differently to previous titles, even Worms 3D, which was difficult to master after the simplicity of the first two titles. The extension of the franchise to essentially a fort versus fort, rather than a worm versus worm battle, means some key changes. The most disappointing of these is the lack of destructible terrain, so no more sinking the enemy with a banana bomb. In fairness though, the idea is to blast away the walls of the opposing forts and the player-by-player gang beatings continue in the time honoured tradition.

The usual madcap weapons are there, with a few new ones, from homing pigeons to exploding ferrets. Several battle options are possible through two modes; Quick match and Opti match. The homing pigeon launcher brought a few smiles. While it doesn't play as well as Worms or Worms 3D, some thought has gone into making it strategic, yet it seems hard to develop.

Verdict

Oh dear. How the mighty have fallen. What was once a beautiful game, idyllic in its simplicity, becomes an over complicated bore. Worms Forts is ok, but we were left feeling that the license had been milked. With a new name and sprites, this could have been more rewarding, but as it is, it has changed so much from the original that it only lets you down.

The main problem we found was that surviving long enough to see the fort become a super 'wonder' was nigh impossible during multiplayer or versus the computer. Building your fortress up and sustaining it for more than one round is just too tricky. While beating your friends to a pulp is still amusing, the four-player capacity doesn't hold up against the Xbox Live equivalent.