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April 2, 2006
Lemmings - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
16/3/2006SonySonyTeam 17
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Ahh Lemmings, we missed you.
If you've been playing games since the early 1990's (or before) chances are you've spent more then a few moments playing Lemmings - one of the greatest puzzle games of all time which, some may be surprised to discover, was originally developed by DMA Design, who then became Rockstar North, and developers of a certain series known as Grand Theft Auto! Seeing a port of this classic puzzle game to PSP was a bit of a surprise as we haven't seen a new version hit mainstream consoles since the Gameboy Color version in 2000. The best news is that unlike most updated games today this title retains the 2D gameplay, despite moving to some very sweet 3D polygon based backgrounds.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Lemmings puts you in a game world where you have to help a series of cute green-haired creatures which seem to have the brainpower of a cockroach. They'll bounce off walls or walk off a cliff splattering to the ground below or one of many other demises. This is where you step in. As the Lemmings walk around you can issue commands. Perhaps you'll turn them into a climber, to climb walls, or a blocker to block other Lemmings from falling over an edge, a bomber to blow up obstacles, or a basher to tunnel through walls. Your ultimate goal is to get as many Lemmings as possible from the start point to an exit, all within strict time limits.

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Levels do look impressive...
This really is a fantastic puzzle game, and one which newcomers will certainly fall in love with. The gameplay is frantic and most importantly our concerns that a lack of mouse control would spoil the fun is unfounded. Playing the game is simple, you move the cursor around with the PSP's D-Pad while the screen can be moved with the analogue nub, use the trigger buttons to select the action to be performed, and press the X button when you've selected your Lemming to perform the task. There's also an option to press triangle to zoom in on the action a bit, but it's rarely needed.

Lemmings includes an impressive number of levels, around 150 in total, with most being recycled from previous versions of the game but also 36 entirely new ones for PSP owners. The game does include a level editor which is a bit clunky but will get the job done with a bit of patience while the developers have even included an Infrastructure mode so you can upload (and download) new levels to the internet.

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4 minutes 42 seconds remain.
I guess the value in this game may be somewhat determined by how familiar you are with earlier games. With only a few dozen new levels and a questionable level editor, this package may be too familiar to gamers. Also questionable is the $79.95 price point for a game which is a fraction of the cost on older systems. Still, there's not really much else to complain about in the end.

Graphics have been overhauled for this PSP version of Lemmings. Gone are the 2D backgrounds and in their place are 3D polygon models with brief fly-ins to the levels themselves. While it doesn't change the gameplay at all it does add some freshness to the title. The foreground remains 2D which is a welcome relief as we've seen too many classic games spoilt by a shift to 3D graphics and gameplay.

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It's not as hard as it looks.
Audio is an area of Lemmings which actually impressed me. You don't usually expect much from a puzzle game but Team 17 have certainly provided much more then the generic junk usually associated from a puzzle game (except for Q Entertainment). For a puzzle game the music is pretty good with a range of slow music in some levels, to more intense in others. Sounds effects are fairly basic with cries and yelps from the lemmings and the odd spot effects.

Make no mistake the lack of a mouse doesn't hurt this game much at all with the PSP controls doing an admirable job. If you've never played Lemmings then there is no better time to see what the hype is about. Longtime fans may be disappointed by the lack of new levels, but the level creator will keep you busy despite it's clunkiness. Overall a very solid port of a classic game and one worth adding to your PSP collection.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSNew 3D backgrounds, same 2D forgrounds. Very clean overall.
SOUNDPretty good selection of music, adequate effects. A good effort.
GAMEPLAYClassic puzzle solving works well on the PSP despite lack of mouse.
VALUEGreat for newcomers, vetrans may be disappointed by recycled levels.
OVERALLLemmings remains one of the greatest puzzle games of all time and its port to PSP is a good one. Those familiar with previous games may be disappointed by the familiar levels, but it's still great to have on the road.

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