WURM: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Throughout history, mankind has obssessed over the idea that a civilization of hostile freaks have been living underground, just waiting for the day we'd send them some delicious explorers to snack on. And, strangely, the same people are usually obsessed with finding new ways to send some more juicy researchers down there. Anyone else think the concept is screwed up? No? Then WURM is the game for you.

Join Moby and her annoying roommates abord the VZR-5, a transforming underground tank... thing. Really, if you've seen one 'journey to the center of the earth' story, you already know what it looks like. It has treads and a big drill. The only difference between this one and the others is that it has a couple alternate forms and is staffed entirely by red-eyed freaks. Moby was evidentally chosen as the leader for the expedition either for having a Guardian-Legendesque costume. As for the others, the red haired, zombie eyed Dan is the Chief Officer in Charge of Leaning Over A Panel And Looking Constipated. Locke, the dashing gent pictured above, uses large words and contributes nothing, so I assume he's a scientist. And finally, Mike, your trusty gym teacher, offers such indespensible tips as "LET'S BLOW HIM AWAY."

As the journey begins, you'll fight a horde of foot fungus while smashing into the walls of a cavern. This goes on for about three days, while your fuel bar keeps ticking down. So really, you're ahead to just fly at top speed through walls, since you're gonna die when either the fuel or shield bars run down and your shield stays pretty full. When you reach a certain point, the screen begins to shake. Assuming this isn't the NES CPU attempting suicide, it means your being attacked by a grape with tentacles.

Now, anybody who wasn't raised on Star Trek 'fight' scenes would think that blasting away recklessly at the thing until it goes up in a gory splatter would get you out alright. But this game requires you to chatter endlessly with your crew to get your "Possibility" bar to 100%. Essentially, the crew's hints- "hint" being used very loosely because they may as well be talking about the weather- raise your life or probability meters by a minute amount each time you talk to them. The thing is, since each crew member only has two things to say, you'll spend every four or five minutes listening to Dan repeating "THE EYE IS PROBABLY THE NUCLEUS." Oddly enough, your science officer can think of nothing more interesting to say than "IT'S A BEMUL. A PROTO-BIO MONSTER," which neither raises your possibility or life, but then again, Locke himself has a 100% POSSIBILITY of not having a LIFE. The 12,435th 'conversation turn' around, I was hoping he'd at least say something like "MOBY, YOUR UNDERWEAR SMELLS TERRIFIC," or "TRY THROWING ME AT THE MONSTER." I'm pretty glad I never played more than one of these boss levels. It's like going hunting with the three geeks at the front of bio class.

"The whitetailed deer uses its tail to signal the others in an emergency."
MOBY: Shut up. I'm aiming.
"A male deer is called a buck."
"We're in the woods."
MOBY: Shut up!

     Something else you'll notice about our heroine, Moby, is that she's as dumb as broken car horn. When underground, she seems spellbound by the fact she spots a cave. That's like taking a drive in the country, then suddenly going off the road, jumping out and running into a cornfield screaming, "MY GOD! A FIELD!" Her face is usually in a box in the upper left, and her facial expression is never appropriate to the situation. When you find a guy in a tunnel who has half his body pinned under another VZR, her face shows suprise, then she smirks. When she finds a crystal or a door, she looks horrified. And to be honest, I'm scared too. I'm scared that the game will continue, and I'll have to spend another hour manuevering the tank through tunnels or watching Moby waste ammo on hopping lizard people.

     At first glance, you'd assume Fabio is now the King of the Mole People, and Moby is powerless against his masculine prettiness. Actually, this is Zolda (or something like that) and he's wearing the exact same one-piece battle swimsuit as you. A confusing battle ensues, in which the two sprites shoot at each other while overlapping, so you can't see who's damaging who, until he jumps and gets stuck to the ceiling. Then, R2-D2 appears, Moby questions it, and you head back to the VZR-5. While you were down there, Dan took the flying parts and CD player off the other unit, and Mike siphoned the gas. And, the journey continues.

    Until I hit the power button.


There's a romantic subplot or something in which Moby mentions somebody named 'Ziggy.' Who is Ziggy? A boyfriend? A spaceship from a crappy Genesis game? Or a big nosed chump from an unfunny comic strip? It doesn't matter, as long as she keeps saying it. It's so funny.