Tips and Tactics

Yeah, I know, every Worms page seems to have a tactics page, but I'd like to think that this is the most complete one, at least for the PC. I can't speak for any other version, although I suspect most of the information will be the same (I think some of the damages are different). As well as separate tips for each weapon, there are some general tips at the end. If you have any more tips that you feel ought to go on the page, email me.

Skip to the relevant section...

Bazooka, Homing Missile
Grenade, Cluster Bomb
Shotgun, Uzi
Fire Punch, Dragon Ball
Dynamite, Mine
Airstrike, Teleport
Blowtorch, Pneumatic Drill
Ninja Rope, Bungee
Girders, Kamikaze
Prod
Banana Bomb, Minigun, Exploding Sheep

General Tips

Bazooka

Maximum damage : 50

The bazooka is affected by wind, which can be both a pain in the neck and a great help. It is tricky to aim in high winds, although if you are at the bottom of a cliff and fire it straight up, it can be useful to kill a worm on the top, even set back a bit. This is similar to the Banana Shot (not to be confused with the banana bomb) - this is when you fire a bazooka into the wind, either from a cave to reach someone at the top, or (occasionally) into a cave, although this tends to be harder. Just be careful you don't end up getting hit by it yourself - it's all too easy to do!

Bazookas are very handy when the target is either at the edge of the screen or near several mines - particularly in low gravity. The worm in question can be flung a very long way, even if the bazooka doesn't hit it itself - for instance, firing from beneath the gallows in hell levels to the underside of the cross-piece can knock a worm to his doom.

Homing Missile

Maximum damage : 50

It is helpful to think of homing missiles as bazookas, as they act in the same way until the homing part kicks in, a second or so after you fire it. The homing mechanism accelerates the missile towards your target - however, this isn't the same thing as making it head towards the target, unless it is already going that way. For this reason, if you are trying to make a possible bazooka shot merely more accurate, you should aim the homer as if it were a bazooka. However, if you are trying to get someone who is hidden behind a cliff or whatever, the best bet is often to fire it almost straight up in the air (depending on wind - don't let the missile go off the sideways edges of the landscape or it will be lost) at full power. The chances are that when it comes down, it will be more or less directly above the worm in question. This means it is still basically impossible to fire a homing missile into a hole which has a few tiny bits of scenery above it - the missile won't dodge around them.

An interesting trick to try is to aim a homing missile at a point in the air with little background near, and fire it towards this point, not too hard (as though you were trying to hit it with a bazooka). With any luck, you will get the missile describing a series of ellipses before running out of fuel and flying off in whatever direction it was travelling in.

Grenade

Maximum damage : 50

Grenades aren't affected by wind, making them far more reliable than bazookas. However, as they don't detonate on impact, you are best firing them into a relatively enclosed space, or they may bounce off your target and not do any damage when they eventually explode. Obviously, changing the fuse can rectify this, but often you really need that elusive 2 1/2 second fuse...

Grenades (and cluster bombs) are good at the end of the game, when it's 1-on-1, usually with the two worms in question being on opposite sides of the landscape. Whilst usually I prefer to set an angle, and vary the power between successive shots, if the worms are sufficiently far apart, it becomes easier to fire all your shots at maximum power, and just adjust the angle slightly each time. This way you can get reproducible shots - you don't need to worry about the timing of the power.

A warning about the use of grenades and cluster bombs : don't fire them when your head is right by some scenery. Worms flick grenades and cluster bombs in the air with their tails, then head them to the appropriate place. However, if there is scenery above your head, it is possible the grenade or cluster bomb will get stuck there, and do you the damage you intended for your enemy.

Cluster bombs

Maximum damge : 150+initial explosion (unknown)

Similar to a grenade, this explodes after a set amount of time, except into five smaller bombs, each doing up to 30 damage (hence the maximum damage). This has two major uses : fireworks, and instant kills.

Firework tactics involve firing a cluster bomb so it will explode fairly high in the air, showering down the mini-bombs like a light April shower gone horribly wrong. This is good to do when either there are a number of very weak worms fairly close together, there are lots of mines just waiting to go off with any movement, or you're going for that last worm which only has 5 points of health left.

Instant kills are usually achieved in the first few goes of the game, before the victim has had a chance to move out of a very confined space, such as the gap between two of the tall structures in alien landscapes. If you can get a cluster bomb down there (either by extreme skill or what is known around here as the "John Sullivan Tactic" - standing above the worm and just dropping the cluster in with a very small power. This is best done either on slippery ground or right on the edge as otherwise you could end up with a cluster in your face. However, if done properly, it can be instantly fatal.

This tactic is improved upon in Reinforcements, due to the worm retreat. If a worm is under an overhang, simply walk up to the worm (so your head is next to landscape, facing it), select cluster bomb (on 5 seconds), press fire, and run away. The cluster bomb will lodge itself in the rock when you try to bounce it off your head, thus exploding all in one place. This usually does at least 90 damage, and you should be perfectly healthy afterwards.

Shotgun

Maximum damage : 50 (25+25)

It has to be said, this is one of my favourite weapons. The basics of it are : you fire it once, it does up to 25 damage. You can then walk around (unfortunately not firing any ninja ropes or using bungees, but you can fall as far as you like without ending your go) and then have another shot, again doing up to 25 points of damage. Doesn't sound brilliant, I know, but here are my favourite uses for it :

You need to be slightly careful with the shotgun when firing in enclosed spaces - the blast radius is fairly large, and it has been known for the worm firing to take more damage than the target. Basically, you should be okay if you are an inch or so away (on a normal sized monitor).

To do maximum damage with a shotgun, aim so that the bullet will hit the ground just under the target worm - this usually does over 20 damage.

Uzi

Maximum damage : 50 (although I've never done that much)

I really don't like this weapon much, as it's so unreliable. I suppose if there are enough worms around, or the enemy is in a really suitable spot (like backed into a corner and you can fire at him absolutely horizontally) it can be okay, but there are usually more certain ways for getting that kill.

Fire Punch and Dragonball

Maximum damge : 30

Well, the fire punch and the dragonball are virtually never used just to take the damage off - although they are good for killing the final worm if he's weak enough (it'll always take off exactly 30) and making sure his body doesn't land on you.

Their main use, however, is that of pushing people into the water or off the edge of the screen. It is possible to kill two or more worms at a time if they are sufficiently close together - however, it is vital not just to stand on a worm's head as the chances are you won't hit them.

Beware : if you kick someone into the water, the chances are that you are in kicking range of the water yourself. The dragonball has a reasonable range on it (about an inch and a half on normal-sized monitors), so this can help, but ideally you should use a shotgun or mine to drown worms, unless you are the only worm nearby (ie no other worms will be able to do the same to you).

The differences between the dragonball and the fire punch are simple : the dragonball throws the victim in a more horizontal sense, and so usually further, but the fire punch throws them up more, which can get them over small objects in between them and the inviting water... also, a fire punch causes you to jump high in the air, removing scenery directly above you. This has two uses: firstly, if you're stuck inside the scenery, as sometimes happens at the start of a round, it may be a way to get you out. Also, if you hit a worm on your way up, you do them 30 damage and knock them all over the place, as if you'd fire punched them anyway. A drawback of this is that it's quite easy to kill yourself by fire punching into a mine. On the other hand, if you're fire punching the victim into a mine deliberatly, fire punch can be handy to make sure you're out of the blast radius when the mine is triggered.

Dynamite

Maximum damage : 75

This is one of the more obvious weapons - drop it where there are lots of enemy worms, and run for the hills. There are a couple of useful things to note though :

Mine

Maximum damage : 50

There are three main uses for mines : firsly (and unless you're playing against teams using Dark Side tactics, least usefully), blocking tunnels. In practise I have found this fairly useless, as it's almost always possible to get out some other way.

On the more useful front, use can use mines either to blow up fairly weak worms in the same way as you'd use dynamite, or you can use it to throw worms into the water (or onto other mines). As intuition would suggest, placing a mine just to the left of a worm will throw him to the right. Usually worms are thrown quite a way, so it's often just as useful as a fire punch or dragonball. Of course, you've got to have a place to retreat to.

Airstrike

Maximum damage : ? (we've seen 61)

10 bombs are dropped, each doing up to 30 damage. The 61 given above relies on a worm being thrown by the blast of one bomb into the blast of another. It's quite rare to do more than 55.

Usually used either against very weak worms (often at the end of the game), or when there are lots of worms in a small area (preferrably with mines nearby), this is one of the most inaccurate weapons in the game. When you select your target, that is by no means guaranteed to be the centre of the bombed area, and as far as I can tell there is no way of determining where to aim to get the bombed area exactly where you want it. Airstikes "come from" the centre of the playing area - ie if you are on the left hand side of the landscape, they will come slightly from right to left, and vice versa. However, the angle is constant - even if you're very close to the centre, the bombs will still come in at the same angle as they would if you were right at the edge. Imagine the situation being that a plane comes from the opposite edge of the playing area, and you'll get the idea. Using this can be very handy for working out whether you'll hit a worm that is slightly under cover.

Also, if there are a mixture of nearly dead worms and half dead ones, the dead ones can quite easily blow up on the still alive ones and kill them. Airstrikes have been known to entirely miss a worm that is on a tiny bit of landscape in the air - it is unlikely that bombs will hit the worm itself, but if there is scenery very close to him, the chances are a bomb will hit that and do him some damage.

Airstrikes can be very effective on bridges, if you are lucky. Sometimes they go through the bridge (hopefully knocking worms into the water), sometimes they don't, leaving you a bit miffed. However, if any of your worms are on the bridge, it becomes a big risk due to the inaccuracy of the airstrike.

Teleport

There's not much to say about this yet, although it becomes a vital part of play in the Know Your Enemy section below. It is often useful to teleport to a place in mid-air above a weapons crate so that you pick it up when you drop down. Teleporting into caves can be very handy... all the obvious stuff, really.

One tip emailed to me was that of teleporting a weak worm directly over a mine near some other worms (preferrably near some more mines) - you will blow up the mine, hopefully knocking worms either off the screen or into other mines. With any luck your corpse will land on another worm too, to take off another 30 damage!

Blowtorch and pneumatic drill

Maximum damage : 15

Obviously, these are meant more as tools than as weapons. As tools, their use is obvious, but I've actually found them more useful as weapons. Often an enemy is perched fairly precariously on some slippery ground, so that one shove would be enough to get him into the water. He relies on the fact that there's no way you can get to him without taking your go - not true! If you're above him, a well aimed drill (go to one side of him to push him the correct way) will send him to a watery grave. Equally, if he is on the wrong side of a wall, make sure you're blowtorching into the ground as well, so you won't embarrassingly stop a couple of pixels before you hit him, and kill that worm.

The other major use of a blowtorch is to level your sights for the shotgun or uzi. Obviously, you can easily get your aim absolutely horizontal with the blowtorch, and changing to shotgun doesn't change your aim. Then just line yourself up using some suitable horizontal line (I use the text saying which weapon I'm using) to make sure of your aim, and fire! A perfect shot.

Ninja Rope

This is probably one of the most useful tools in the game, when in the hands of an expert. I tend to use it an awful lot (so much so that my regular opponent decided to limit us to 9 ninja ropes - and I often run out). Here are some of the key points when using ninja ropes :

Bungee

Well, there's not really much to say about the bungee rope, except that as with the ninja rope, you can move other worms with it. Again, be careful with hitting mines - you will swing a bit on the bungee. You can control yourself slightly, but not to nearly the same extent as you can with the ninja rope.

Girders

One of the most useless things in the game, so far as I can work out, girders have only two functions - protection and mobility. They can sometimes be used to form a stepping stone when trying to cross a huge gap - some levels have high ground at each side, and water in the middle. Here, just stick a girder in the middle, then use a ninja rope on each side to get across. If someone is trying to throw grenades or cluster bombs at you, and are starting to become irritatingly accurate, putting a girder in the middle of the grenade's path can force them to re-aim.

I have been told, and I have no reason to doubt it, that girders can make good "sheep runways" - just build 'em then let your fluffy friend go on the warpath.

Kamikaze

Maximum damage : 30 when knocking worms, 50 in the final explosion.

Sometimes the most devastating weapon around, I have seen this kill a whole team in one shot before, or kill six worms from various teams in a four player game. Most of the kills from kamikazes are not due to the health damage they do, but are from the fact that if there's just blue sky above a kamikazed worm, it will fly for a long way - we've seen it go for more than two thirds of the playing area before now. You need to make sure the target worms won't hit any scenery though, otherwise they will probably not fly off the screen. The range of a kamikaze is calculated like this : the worm flies for a certain distance through anything (about 2/3 of the screen), then keeps going til he next his something, when he explodes. So, you can kamikaze along a long bridge for as far as you want... this is a good way to get kills.

Note that if the worm is knocked by a mine's explosion, he will take the damage from the mine but not complete his kamikaze run. I've done over 300 damage with a kamikaze before now, whilst only taking 12 damage and surviving. With Reinforcements, mine delay can make this a risky business though.

The Prod

As it says in the manual, this is really only for humiliation value, and if very rarely useful. It does no damage, and doesn't push the victim very far, so use only when absolutely certain. Having said that, there is a certain perverse style to it :)

Banana Bomb

Maximum realistic damage : unknown but vast. (Okay, so I guess it's 5x75+medium unknown amount - in practise, two bananas should usually be fatal)

This works on exactly the same principle as the cluster bomb, except the secondary bombs are bananas, each with the power of dynamite. Use as a cluster bomb, except being more careful about your own worms in the region. Also, be aware that this weapon destroys enormous amounts of scenery.

One slight problem with the banana bomb is the fuse : sometimes it uses a three second fuse whatever you've set it to. This can be fatal! I tend to stick with three seconds, and just chuck the thing higher and harder.

Minigun

Maximum damage : Unknown, realistically probably about 80.

This weapon is like a useful version of the uzi. It is easier to aim, as it sprays the bullets over a much wider area, but it still has the annoying habit of hitting a worm once and chucking him away from the target area. Handy for killing clusters of worms or very weak worms, and it looks good too!

Exploding Sheep

Maximum damage : 75

One of the most amusing weapons in the game, think of the sheep as a portable dynamite. There are drawbacks in its use though : there's a good chance it'll come back to you.

Basically, sheep are extremely stupid. I don't know the exact algorithm used to decide what it does, but it knows enough to jump it there's no solid ground in front of it, and that's about it. It will quite happily jump into the water, or go the wrong way entirely. Maybe we should have an exploding sheep-dog too...

One thing that the manual doesn't explain - you press space to launch the sheep, then space again to explode it. I thought it was obvious, but there we go...

General Tips

Using mine delay (Reinforcements only)

Mine delay can make things very much easier when it comes to moving around the landscape. If there is a mine in your way, just hook a ninja rope onto some bit of landscape a fair way away from the mine, swing and extend until you hear the mine start to tick, then pull in as fast as possible. The mine will explode without you even coming off your rope.

More cunning uses can be made with apparently suicidal leaps - if you jump just past a mine, you can make nearby worms take damage without either losing your turn or taking any damage yourself.

Know your enemy

Not only should you know which order your worms play in, you should have a pretty good idea about your enemies, too. Knowing which worm is going to have the next go is vital when you have only one worm left. In a two player game, almost any situation where you only have one worm left and your opponent has more worms, that are spread out so they can't reach each other, can be made into a one-on-one game by constitently teleporting to the worm who's go it won't be next, waiting whilst your opponent does something useless with his next worm, then doing something extremely unpleasant to the worm you've just teleported next to. This also affects which worm you should kill, if you are given a choice. You can gain a considerable advantage by either knocking a next-to-play worm sufficiently far enough away from you, or by moving to a spot where you will get another go before a worm near you does. Think about what the next few goes could have in store, taking account of likely deaths. It's tricky to start with, but soon becomes a habit.

Superweapons!

Mole bombs (PC Reinforcements only - if you can't get them, see the programs section from the main page) can be utterly devastating if used in the right way. It's quite difficult to judge exactly how to fire them, but one practically guaranteed way is to stand directly over the target worms (they have to be under an overhang, or in a tunnel - probably about 2 screen inches is enough, depending on the power) and fire straight up on a short fuse. I think you'd probably be okay just firing it on minimum power and a long fuse, then getting out of the immediate blast radius (this will mean the bombs will be travelling slower, so will get through less ground before exploding), but you need to make sure you can get sufficiently out of the way, or you could lose lots of health.
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