Liero is a computer game for DOS, first released by Finnish programmer Joosa Riekkinen in 1998. The game has been described as a real-time version of Worms. It has many weapons and sounds from its precursor, MoleZ. 'Liero' is Finnish for earthworm and is pronounced []. Later on, this game provided inspiration for the game Soldat.

Object of the Game

In Liero, two worms fight each other to death for score (or frags) using a choice of five weapons from a total of 40 in a two-dimensional map. Most of the terrain, except for indestructible rocks, may be dug or destroyed by explosions. In addition to the weaponry, each player has a ninja rope which can be used to move faster through the map. This grappling hook-like device substitutes for jetpacks and can even latch onto the enemy worm to drag him closer to his foe. While playing, there are health power-ups to heal your worm. It is also possible to replace one of your five weapons by picking up bonuses. Before playing, you can select certain weapons to be available only in bonuses, in the entire game, or completely disable them.

Unlike most side-scrolling deathmatch games, the weapons in Liero have infinite ammo. Key factors include the reload rate of each weapon and how fast they shoot, whereas in most others include how much ammo a gun sports and how frequent more ammo for that gun can be found. Liero depends all on timing and swift maneuverability.

The gameplay mode can be deathmatch, Game of Tag or Capture the Flag. It can be played by two human players simultaneously in split screen or in a single player mode against the game's artificial intelligence, although the game's popularity is derived mostly from the fast-paced player vs. player action it provides.


Liero's last release was version 1.33, released in 1999. However, the author lost the Pascal source code in a hard disk crash, and due to the proprietary and closed source nature of the software, no new versions have been made since. Despite this, and with the author's approval, the Liero community has distributed several altered (or hacked) versions of the game through the LieroCDC, and others.

Liero is a very versatile game in terms of modification. All of its 40 weapons can be completely replaced with new ones that can be given different images and sound effects from the original set. The images of the worms themselves can be transformed into completely different characters, although their movement animations are less flexible regarding modification. The maps can be given permanent terrain other than rocks alone. Destroyable terrain can also be colored more than simply plain dirt. The AI can be upgraded or downgraded to be harder or easier. Nearly the whole game can be converted into something entirely different, except for the main aspect having to do with slaughtering another player/AI.


The Liero community has grown widely since the comedown of the original Liero, producing many clones of the game for different platforms, incorporating innovative features not present in Riekkinen's game. The most successful clones are Gusanos (now merged with LOSP by Erik Lindroos) and Liero Xtreme. The clone Wurmz! gained some popularity, mostly in Poland. The Liero community is separate from the LieroX community, but identical to the Gusanos community. Its home ground is the ComSer Forum and the IRC channel #liero on the QuakeNet network.

Incompatibility with newer versions of Windows

With the introduction of Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the community has shrunk because the sound in Liero must be deactivated in Windows versions beyond Windows ME. Liero will function on Windows XP, but sound must be disabled (achieved by the /n command line). The introduction of Windows XP Service pack 2 in August 2004, caused the Liero community to reduce even further because Liero fails to run at all. A possible solution to the compatibility problem is to use a DOS-formatted boot disk, a DOS emulator for Windows, such as DOSBox or the OpenLiero emulator.



MoleZ was developed and released in 1997 for DOS by FRACTiLE Games. It has been freeware since Christmas 1999. It is the precursor to Liero, with similar gameplay.

The weapons arsenal contains 17 weapons, of which most remain in Liero. In addition to weapons there is a ninja rope, differing from Liero's rope, in that it's significantly weaker and releases while in use. The weapon arsenal, graphics and gameplay are also more simple than those of Liero. Another difference from Liero is that MoleZ has in-game music both while it's being played and in its menus. Liero reuses most of the sounds found in MoleZ.

Clones and remakes

Liero Xtreme

Liero Xtreme (often called LieroX, Liero Extreme or just LX) is a 2D shooter game. It is an unofficial sequel to Liero, and is the most popular of all the Liero clones. It features online play, fully customizable weapons, levels and characters. Liero Xtreme was created in C++ by Jason 'JasonB' Boettcher, an Australian programmer. Recently, a new version of LieroX has become available, known as OpenLieroX. There are some minor differences between it and it's source, such as the enemy AI and maximum players in an online game.


The game is based on a deathmatch setting, where multiple players face off in a closed level. Each player is equipped with five weapons selected out of all the weapons allowed, and with a ninja rope that allows the player to move in any direction. Players begin with a set amount of lives, and whilst the game records the number of kills, the last man standing is usually considered the winner. Liero Xtreme also allows team deathmatches, which has made it common for players to form clans. The game is able to work on Windows and Linux with sound, as it is not a DOS game. However, the game is extremely turbulent and many errors and crashes occur.


On February 14, 2006, JasonB stopped the LieroX development for good. The last version he released was 0.62b, which had many new features, but suffered from crashes and various errors, and did not catch on within the community which continues to play the 0.56b version. Before leaving the community, he released the source code of the even older version 0.55b under a zlib license. Development of LieroXtreme is now in hands of RIP clan - Dark Charlie and Albert Zeyer, used the source code to create OpenLieroX, which is compatible with the popular 0.56b version, but has multiple new features and bugfixes. Raziel took care of the new frontend. Currently the vast majority of players play 0.56b, with a growing portion using the compatible OpenLieroX.


As a customizable game, it allows players and developers to script their own mods. Different mods have different sets of unique weapons, and may also differ in player gravity and movement. The default mod is Liero 1.0, also called Classic, which is roughly equal to the basic setting in Liero. On top of this, several player-created mods are included in the standard game packs, some of which are more popular than the default setting. Similarly to Liero, the default level is Dirt Level, consisting of diggable terrain with some indestructible rock. The default level is comparatively rarely played compared to more complex player-created levels.

The game interface allow players to modify factors of the game such as which weapons in a mod are allowed, and how fast they reload. This directly affects weapon balancing. Players sometimes reduce loading time in an attempt to increase the pace of the game from the standard 100% loading time. Although 100% loading time is the standard to which all mods are balanced under, 20% loading time and below are common as well. Another very common modification is to disallow the use of some weapons, even to the point where only a single weapon is allowed. The irrefutably most common setting is the Modern Warfare mod, with all weapons disallowed except for the Mortar Launcher liked by many players for the ease in obtaining kills with the "one hit kill" mortar. Another common single weapon setting is the default Classic mod with only Rifles allowed. Differing from the original Liero, it is possible in Liero Xtreme to switch weapons and fire in such rapid succession that single shot weapons such as the Mortar Launcher or Rifle can be fired in bursts of five shots. This feature is known as comboing, and is a topic of controversy within the LieroX community.


NiL (recursive acronym for NiL Isn't Liero) is another clone of Liero, which runs on Linux and Windows and is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. NiL is not, like Liero, limited to two players as it has support for an infinite number of players over a TCP network. It was met with considerable enthusiasm in the Linux gaming community .

The project was initiated by Flamming Frandsen in winter 1999 after he had stumbled across Liero, which he liked so much that he decided to reimplement it under Linux. He abandoned the project however five months later due to being too busy for it. NiL was then dead until the beginning of 2004 when the current maintainer of NiL, Christoph Brill, found out about the project and took over. Thereafter Daniel Schneidereit joined the project as well, but soon left. Other contributors included Nils Thuerey, Harri Liusvaara, David Hewitt and Phil Howlett.

Development however proceeded slowly as the project's source code became almost unmaintainable and NiL was lacking developers. By mid-2005 Alexander Kahl joined development, convinced Christoph to start over and re-think the whole concept of NiL, as the other Liero clone Gusanos already existed at that time. Development seems to have stopped around mid 2006.


Gusanos, Spanish for worms, is a free cross-platform clone of Liero, written in C++ using the Allegro library and the Zoidcom library. It was created by the Argentine programmer Mario “Basara” Carbajal, assisted by various other programmers over the Internet. Gusanos implements various improvements such as dynamic lights and netplay.

The latest version is 0.9c (released January 31, 2006), which is a completely rewritten version over 0.8 and is fully moddable. Already produced mods include Lightsaber Arena (Star Wars style), Doom (like the game) and 133 (a mod with old Liero weapons). In March 2005, Erik "Gliptic" Lindroos, creator stopped LOSP development to join the Gusanos team (merging the two projects into one, carrying the name of Gusanos).

Version 1.0 has been planned since the previous release, but development seems to have stopped around the end of 2006.

Gusanos is released under the GNU General Public License, although it dynamically links both the FMOD and Zoidcom libraries. Mario has expressed little interest in the licensing of Gusanos, and doesn't mind which licensing it is under.


Gusanos is cross platform but an official binary only exists for Windows. A Debian package has been made by fans but has missing dependencies. Users of other platforms need to compile the source themselves. The source is built with SCons but is incompatible with versions above 0.96.1 and in addition to this there is an error in the source itself which must be manually corrected for it to compile correctly. Gusanos can only be compiled on operating systems that are supported by Zoidcom and as such is only compilable on Windows and Linux.


LOSP (Liero Open Source Project) is a free clone, written in C++, based on the original code of Liero 1.33. It was coded by the Swedish programmer Erik 'Gliptic' Lindroos via reverse engineering (since the original source code was unreleased and lost).

The intention was to make the physics as close to the original game as possible—basically, a free and open source copy of Liero. The game features the same forty weapons as Liero, as well as the ninja rope.

It was meant to be concluded with Liero+, the intended end product of LOSP, enabling users to play the game via a LAN or over the Internet.

In 2005 Erik decided to discontinue further development and joined Mario Carbajal with developing Gusanos using code and ideas from LOSP. The last version released was "Pre-beta 10" in July 2004.

Unlike what the name suggests, the source code was withheld by Gliptic until November 17, 2006, which was when it was released to the public. The source was withheld because of flaws in the code, which made it impossible to compile LOSP, as well as the incorporation of all vital LOSP code into Gusanos, which rendered LOSP obsolete.

LOSP has become further obsolete due to Gliptic's OpenLiero, an almost exact clone of Liero, which bears less glitches.


LieroAI is another clone/remake of Liero.

External links


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