Super Worms is an addictive indie-game that was originally released for DOS by Wiering Software (and then later for Windows). It’s a 3-D racing game similar to Mario Kart, except here you’re controlling a tiny worm on racetrack instead of a Mario character placed in a go-kart.
The game was released as a shareware, which means you can try the game and play it for as long as you like. However, only a few tracks are available in the shareware version; you have to buy the full version to unlock the special tracks/courses and other features (I’ve never played the full version of this game).
The single-player mode has only two game choices: ‘Grand prix’ and ‘Practice.’ The ‘Grand prix’ mode is very similar to Mario Kart. You are racing against 3 opponents to complete 4 laps around the track.
The game also has power-ups and -downs in the form of balloons placed randomly along the course. The white balloons grant you certain abilities such as making your worm speed up, jump, become invisible or invincible temporarily, or grant you certain attack powers which slow down your opponent or even kill them. The grey balloons are obstacles that can paralyze your worm temporarily.
While the single-player mode is fun, what makes this game stand apart is its 2-player split-screen mode, which grants you two extra game choices: ‘Match’ and ‘Battle game.’ Match is just another form of Grand prix without the AI players involved. The ‘Battle game’ mode is where this game truly shines.
In the ‘Battle game’ mode the two opposing players are placed in a course where they have to fight it out till the end; you have to use the special power-ups and -downs tactfully to knock your opponent down. Each time you hit your opponent, one of the worm’s segments falls off. The first player to win three games is declared a winner.
Even though the graphics in this game are weak (even for a game this old), the 2-player mode really makes this game shine.
Playing the 2-player mode with my cousins is one of the fondest memories I have from my childhood (there are many others too, but this one sits pretty close to the top).
I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon this game while I was a kid (I was around 10 years old then I guess), but I do remember getting it on a floppy disk from a cyber cafe and installing it on my computer (I was the only one in my household who knew how to use a computer back then). Maybe I went around searching for a Mario PC clone, found Charlie II (another game by the same developers), and then stumbled upon this by chance.
We used to play Super Worms (SW is what we used to call it) for hours on end, especially the ‘Battle game’ mode. The ‘Grand prix’ mode was reserved for special occasions since it took a long time to finish (note: there were others apart from the 2 players who were waiting for their chance too). Since we all couldn’t play at the same time, we followed round-robin tournament format to make matters simpler (except we didn’t know it was called round-robin back then).
Oh, how we used to fight to place our chairs in the best position possible to access the keyboard keys. Since this was a split-screen game, both the players had to use the same keyboard (there’s an option to use joysticks, but we didn’t have them).
The funny thing is Ctrl keys were designated to player 1 to use the power-up; player 2 had to use Spacebar. While player 1 had to press the right Ctrl key to use any power-up, player 2 had quick access to the left Ctrl key too; “accidentally” pressing the left Ctrl key would ruin the strategy player 1 had in mind. Thus, we had a lot of fights while playing the game.
The music used in this game is decent too, but you grow tired of it after a while. We used to play songs in the background while playing this game.
We continued playing the shareware version of Super Worms for years, satisfied with the limited course choices we had. We tried entering gibberish to register the game in vain; we were just n00bs back then to understand what it really meant (our first attempts at cracking). We didn’t have access to money to buy the game, let alone having Credit/Debit Cards to do the same. Still, the special courses made us drool over the possibilities and fun we could’ve had.
The game still costs $12.50, which is a lot of money if you ask me; especially considering the fact that it’s been well over a decade since this game was released. I might still buy it some day though, but until then, the shareware version is enough to jog me through wonderful memories I’ve had playing this game.
Watch gameplay video on YouTube.
You can download Super Worms from here. Make sure that you run “Super Worms.bat” file to start the game.