Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Lemmings

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Electronic Theatre ImageIn the big wide world of videogames old, or “retro”, titles are often exhumed, some causing you to weep waterfall like tears of joy and others just make you cry. Lemmings from Team17 on the other hand is a title that will make you do both. In this puzzle game you have to guide your green hared, blue suited rodents (or lemmings as the game likes to call them) to a Gate-Way by commanding them to do various things, such as build a stairway or bash though a wall, or even give them a little umbrella to parachute from distant heights. However, along the way there are various traps and pitfalls for your plucky but rather stupid rodents. Snare-traps, flame-throwers and, my personal favourite, the crushers all commonly provide a challenge. The game has a grand total of one-hundred and ninety-two Maps of various difficulties already on the UMD and you are also given the option of downloading additional maps from the PSP website. The Maps that can be downloaded are eitherElectronic Theatre Image Official Maps designed by the Team17 development staff, or if you feeling like torturing your fellow man you can create your own Maps and post them on the website for downloading by other gamers. Lemmings employs itself with a simple gameplay mechanic. Each of your critters falls from a window in the sky and will benefit from perpetual motion. This consistent need to move often will result in their own demise; unless you intervene. Through the use of Commands selected from a Menu Bar emblazed across the bottom of the screen, you must overcome obstacles to ensure the required quota of the quirky little freaks makes it to their desired destination: a Gate-Way featured elsewhere on the Map. Although now being a grand fifteen years old, Lemmings still retains some of the charm it held when some of us were playing it on the Master System or Mega-Drive way back when – a philosophy that is not only the games Unique Selling-Point, but also it’s undoing – the main problem being that it is the same game I was playing on the Master System all those years ago. Aside from the minor issue of there being thirty-two new pre-installed Levels, the bulk Electronic Theatre Image of the game is comprised of the one-hundred and twenty original Levels. A pretty poor show, not to mention the fact there are no new commands that can be given to the lemmings. If you played Lemmings at the original release, you’ll have no difficulty in steamrolling through the game as there’s nothing new to provide challenge. Also, for the newer players the difficulty curve in switching from one Difficulty Level of a Map to the other is monstrous, and won’t fail to frustrate as you attempt a Map for the millionth time. The in-game music is like most things on this title exactly the same as the older versions and only succeeds in frustrating the player more rather that adding any sort of context to the game. Oh and just in-case you were wondering, yes, there are Loading Times – which the older consoles didn’t have – as it is a PSP after all. The Loading Time isn’t that long in itself but it does have to load every time you switch to another Map. The gameplay itself is as excellent now as it was originally, but the preloaded Maps will have little to offer to people who have played the game before – making the option of downloadingElectronic Theatre Image further Maps a necessity to people who have played older versions of the game. On the plus side the controls are fairly intuitive which helps new players ease into the game nice and quickly. The Difficulty Level ramps up quite quickly after you’ve passed the fun Maps, so the tailored presentation is essential. The graphics used are good for the kind of game Lemmings is; although Team17 isn’t going to win an award for graphical excellence, they look pretty enough without overshadowing the game itself. Lemmings is a good solid title that ports well on to the PSP and doesn’t fail to deliver the short burst of fun that’s needed on a short journey. However it fails to deliver anything more than that. The controls have been well implemented and the title works with the PSP quite well. There are a lot of things this title could have been, but has ultimately failed to deliver anything but the game as seen fifteen years ago. Electronic Theatre Image










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