Video Game / WURM: Journey to the Center of the Earth

An oft-overlooked little gem from the height of the NES's popularity, WURM details the exploits of a team of explorers sent to investigate the source of mysterious tectonic activity (not to mention the fate of four previous expeditions that have gone missing). They travel in a tunneling vehicle called the VZR, nicknamed the "WURM" by the manual.

As the team ventures deeper underground they find their predecessors were ambushed by monstrous members of the Nonmalta empire which is fighting the beleaguered kingdom of Dinamur for control of the underworld.


WURM provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: We've got characters like Dan, Allan and Sylvia alongside Moby (a female character), Locke and Ziggy.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The "good" subterranean empire, Dinamur, has human-like inhabitants (assuming the royal family is any indication), while the evil empire, Nonmalta, is made up of hideous monsters.
  • Beneath the Earth: The whole game.
  • Drill Tank: Your VZR can drill through certain walls when activated. When set to Hover Tank mode, the drill is always on.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: One of your advisors is the princess of the underground kingdom (after being rescued from the bad guys, of course).
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The story of the various underground civilizations is revealed a bit at a time, but it's easy to get lost unless you're paying really close attention.
  • Kick the Dog: Throughout the early missions Moby mentions her hopes of finding her boyfriend Ziggy, who went missing along with one of the previous expeditions. She does eventually find him, but it turns out his brain was removed and put in a robotic monster she had to kill.
  • Power Source: One of the game's more annoying aspects is that while the VZR automatically repairs damage, if the player doesn't find a steady supply of randomly-appearing fuel crystals they die.
  • Send in the Search Team
  • Tragic Monster: The VZR-5, as well as a robotic monster using Ziggy's brain as a power source
  • Transforming Mecha: The VZR can change into a hovercraft or a plane as the crew salvages parts from other VZR's. The plane mode is the fastest, but it also consumes energy at a faster rate and is the most susceptible to Collision Damage when bumping into walls.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: WURM jumps between genres. Each chapter starts out with Moby inside the VZR for a side-scrolling Platform Game, and then switching to an RPG/First-Person Shooter hybrid where you talk to your crew members for advice on how to defeat a boss, and usually ending with a side-scrolling segment with Moby exploring outside of the VZR. A few chapters also have vertically-scrolling Shoot 'em Up stages.
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