Total time played: 3 Hours
Short review: A game that didn’t know if it wanted to be a side scrolling shooter, overhead shooter, side scroller or RPG. Unfortunately none of the styles of gameplay in W.U.R.M are above average.
Interesting links related to W.U.RM – Journey to the Center of the Earth
This is one of the last affordable games I needed for my NES collection and my mom gave it to me for Christmas. I had no idea what to expect when I popped it in. The game features 5 missions each of which consist of several styles of gameplay.
Side scroller – take control of a tank like vehicle with a huge drill on the end and travel deep into the Earth while killing enemies. This took me a while to get the hang of as the tank can fly and you can turn your drill on and off. The controls were not intuitive and I had to rely on the instruction manual to teach me. To turn your drill on you hold the A button and hit Right on the controller…since the A button was used for nothing else I think just the A button would have worked. The tank can also fly and transform into a space ship. The space ship has better weapons but uses more fuel and if you run out of fuel it is game over.
Overhead shooter – This stage shows an overhead view of your tank like ship from the side scroller stage. You still use your drill to drill through rock and shoot to kill enemies. Again you have to maintain adequate fuel and shield levels or it is game over.
Boss battle – First person battle that is so confusing. You first speak individually to your crew who will either increase or decrease your probability of winning or your life bar. After speaking 8 times to your crew members you fight the boss. Move the cross hairs to shoot the boss. After a few hits he will throw projectiles towards you that you are supposed to shoot. I never could hit these projectiles though. I don’t know if I was hitting the wrong button or if the hit detection was so far off that when my cross hairs were directly on the thing I was shooting it would still miss. After a few rounds with the boss you are given the option to talk to your crew 8 more times. You have to increase your probability to 100% to beat the boss and that is done by talking to the crew in the correct order. I never did get the hang of this and usually just got lucky after a few tries.
Platformer – After defeating the boss you take control of a woman in a one piece bathing suit who travels underground into a maze where she must fight an enemy who looks like the level 1 boss (horse head) in Zelda II. Once you defeat the horse head guy and find a person chained to the wall the stage usually ends.
None of the stages felt complete. I usually just walked/flew around until the screen flashed and went to a cut scene. The game had more than a dozen cut scenes where the story unfolded. I never did figure out what was going on.
There were 3 races on Earth but only one survived and my characters were traveling to the center of the Earth to collect 4 crystals for some reason. I really didn’t care about the story. After defeating the final boss a story appeared on screen talking about the only way to save the world is by love and not war. Unlike every other cut scene in the game this one featured text only, no pictures. I figured after the story appeared I would go on to the next stage as I had only played 5 so far and most games seem to feature 6-8 stages. But, instead I was greeted with “The End”. After all of the animation cut scenes I expected a better ending, instead I got an ending similar to Karnov.