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28:jun//2K - wormy infantry review

Review by: AgentByrÓm

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28-06-2K: When I arrived at the Infantry, what struck me first was the way that the front-end looked like a very cheap imitation of the Allotment. A terrain had been made out of the logo and the navigation bar was broken into sections each with its own sig worm. I cannot really decide whether Aqua-Sheep and his staff were inspired by the Allotment design or whether they simply copied it! Still it is fortunate that they changed to the current navigation bar design and didn't stick with their old one. It was a horrendous knot of text which broke into separate navigation bars like a drop-down menus system. It was an original design and one which could have worked very well, but it was just too untidy.

The staff at the Infantry are very enthusiastic about maintaining their site. It is full of news updates, new flash movies and I think that the navigation bar changes almost daily. The news on the front page is updated frequently, mostly by Aqua-Sheep. The content of the news itself I don't find very interesting though. A lot of it is unrelated to worms and the team's English skills are very poor. The lack of paragraphs mean that there are large bibles of text down the screen and there is a lot of lazy short-hand writing and spelling mistakes. However, it is better that they do that rather than leave the site neglected over months and months without updates.

Although the Infantry does have a lot of content, most of it looks exactly the same because of the dull presentation. The background is black, which I do like (I'm not one who is really keen on fancy wallpaper obscuring your text) - but the very restricted colour scheme merges distastefully with the type face. They use the same font throughout the whole Infantry! I am not sure exactly which one it is, but it resembles a very basic "system" font which gives the impression that the text has merely been slapped onto the page from notepad. Perhaps it is because the team only use basic HTML programming or something, but the display really does look boring. For their standard text, the colour is white. Links appear either in blue, purple, red or white (again) and the navigation bar uses a very basic purple colour and dark red for disabled sections. Highlighted text is black with a green box around it. This colour scheme combined with the very plain font creates an impression of an old MS-DOS application. All the attempts at creating interesting, varied sections on Infantry are spoiled by the presentation. Sections like "Wormy Club Roast", "Wormy Community MB", "Legacy/Bazooka Network", "Hall of Fame" and "Editorials" all look exactly the same when they are displayed and the names don't tell you much either.

Aqua-Sheep, like Vader from the Allotment and Concentration Camp, is always making flash movies starring worms and making sequels and chapters such as "The Elitist". There is only one difference between Aqua-Sheep's flashes and Vader's, which is that Aqua-Sheep's flashes are terrible. I am sure that Aqua-Sheep does put a fair amount of effort into them (I wouldn't know where to begin), but the results are rather insulting when compared to the standard for Worms. His flashes are either copied sprites from the game which are childishly pasted into the program; or, like more recently, they are real attempts to use vectors and proper drawing equipment. But Aqua-Sheep's results with this look more like a "Nick Park" experiment with blobs of plasticine. His general graphic skills are not very pleasing either. His sig worm and NuclearBlast's sig worm (it looks as though Aqua-Sheep drew it) look like something made with Microsoft Paint where someone has used an inch-wide brush and clumsily splashed a load of colours together. The sig worm gallery on Infantry has been neglected for months because of Simpsworm's departure. It just says "at the moment we are currently having troubles with the transparency". Aqua-Sheep is practising his skills and he is getting better, but his current standards for what he posts onto the web are very low and not really enough to satisfy his audience.

Having said that though, the team at the Infantry do have a rather good "Download of the Week" section. Barely any of the files are Worms related, but their support of "The Legacy of Rejects" means that the enjoyable phrase, "Wassup?" has found a good place to be yelled abusively on the web. As well as having the "Download of the Week" section, Infantry has its own goodies and fiddler file sections. These are not very impressive though. Most of these sections only have a small handful of downloads. The facilities for uploading a file submission are also quite restricted. You have to have the file already on the Internet and use an URL to connect it to the Infantry. The site does not have the facilities to upload independently. Any upload files which are located on your computer have to be emailed separately to one of the staff. This puts restrictions on file sizes and also is not very good if your emailing software is unreliable or out of order.

This is where I refer back to my earlier paragraph about presentation. Nearly everything is just plain text. No backing colours, no variation in fonts or sizes and no extra graphics such as buttons to help guide you. Among the "Goodies" section is the one particular "Scheme" page. This section is in an appalling condition. The Infantry team have made a sort of database out of the files telling you who made it, what it is, a description of the scheme and also which files have been zipped. This table is extremely messy. There are no lines or colours separating the columns. It is a stream of white text with badly placed indents. This is also what makes a mess of the message board. It is a flood of red text and that's about it. When you view a message you have to look around the screen for about twenty seconds to find the actual dialogue among all the other text and then search for the links back to the index.

The Interviews section is one of the better features at the Infantry. It includes very thorough and comprehensive information about Vader and our own Fudge Boy - even I learned a few twitchy facts there. But just like the rest of the site, it is untidy and it can be difficult to line up each question with its answer as the paragraphs have not been organised too well. But I am glad that Aqua-Sheep and his comrades went to the trouble to interview these people as it brings a good example to the Worms community.

The Infantry try to involve their visitors in whatever ways they can. A feedback section has been supplied for people to submit their thoughts (I thought this review was a bit too big though). The team have made a worms trivia test which is nice to do, but I can't see any significant difference between their quiz and the one on the official Worms Armageddon site. Simpsworm, I think, ran a fiddler weapons contest a while ago which looked great, but their only prize was letting the winner judge the next contest, which I don't remember them ever doing. I remember one interactivity thing which Aqua-Sheep did which was to make a terrain with a load of objects from the game. The user could drag the objects about to make some kind of scene and then send it in to Aqua-Sheep for him to display. But to do this you had to drag the sprites about, press the print screen key on your keyboard, paste the image into a processor, crop it to select the scene and then email it. It was too much trouble and the end results which are on display on Infantry all look pathetic. All you do is rearrange a few sprites which I think include three worms facing the same direction, a cow, a sheep, a cloud, two "BIFF"s and a blue plane. And here's the really stupid thing, you cannot move the plane around. Aqua-Sheep, for some reason, says that he does not want people putting the plane on the ground! The only interactive feature on Infantry which I remotely approve of is "Shooty". This is a tiny window where this worm walks along and stops and a cross-hair hovers over his head. If you click on the worm, you shoot him and he blows up and another worm comes on. This is a little bit tedious until you discover the cheats (actually I didn't discover them, they gave it away on one of their news posts). You can teleport the worm away, toggle a hat on and off, melt him, let him walk by or machine gun him to pieces by pressing certain keys on the keyboard. It usually works and looks quite funny, but I think that Aqua-Sheep just wanted to show off some new morph techniques which he discovered on Flash. Do correct me though, Aqua-Sheep, if I'm wrong.

To conclude my review, I say that the Infantry is a reasonably amateur web site and a satisfactory team effort. I do think though that as a Worms associated site, the Infantry's standards need to come up a lot to include more varied content, better facilities and much higher quality presentation, for at the moment this is the only real let down for the site. It's not one of my favourite sights and I personally don't think that it has much value, but it shows enthusiasm on Aqua-Sheep's behalf and all the other members of the clan and for that I grade it accordingly. It is worth visiting at least once just to see if anything in particular does interest you or if you grow a certain fondness for the clan. I hope I have been fair but, more importantly, honest.


//agi. []