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PlayStation Portable Review

The original Lemmings was the most important game released in 1991. That makes Lemmings one of the first truly great games of the 90s. Hailed as an instant classic, the original (and arguably the best) has been ported to no less than thirty different systems, has seen six sequels, two spin-offs, and a novel. It has sold in excess of 5 million copies worldwide and was, for the longest of times, the jewel in the Amiga gaming crown. At least, before it was ported to every single system known to man.

And now, 15 years later, the original classic comes to the PSP. Not in the form of illegal homebrew emulation, but instead as a lavish-looking update of the original game - developed by Team 17, no less. But how does the original formula hold up on the PSP, and have our beloved Teamsters done the game justice...?

Click to view full sizeEvery single level from the original Amiga version of Lemmings, including levels ommited from previous ports and adaptations, are included in this update, each one reimagined and prerendered in gorgeous 3D. The levels have a few asthetic differences in places (particularly the levels based on old Psygnosis games, which have had their unique music removed and their themes changed to better suit the rest of the game) but they still play essentially the same. What's more, Team 17 have seen fit to create 36 brand new levels. As with the original, the first few are fairly simple "use a particular skill to beat it" levels, however the remaining levels are far more complex. It's refreshing to have a new challenge akin to the classic Lemmings in so long - the last time we were treated to anything this good was when Lemmings 2 - The Tribes was released in 1993.

The best news so far, however, is that the game supports DataPacks (in a similar fashion to WipEout Pure's Track system), meaning that more new levels are, at the very least planned. I'm not going to dismiss the idea that Oh No! More Lemmings! may very well be a free DataPack rather than a fully fledged "sequel" of its own.

The Level Editor is, unfortunately, very disappointing. You are given some sppace to make a level, and some basic objects, and that's pretty much it. There's very little assistance to guide you (at least, not in the Review version) and there is no real scope to make levels on the magnitude of the originals. Those of you who were looking forward to the Editor will do best to avoid this particular feature.

Click to view full sizeThe controls are fairly straight-forward. The D-Pad controls the cursor, the nub moves the map around, X selects, L and R shifts between Jobs, Circle speeds things up, holding down Square holds a cursor over the lemming you're currently highlighting (very handy, that), and Triangle zooms in and out. The only problems with these controls is that the D-Pad on the PSP is, unfortunately, not quite up to the task of controlling a cursor - diagonal movements are nigh-on impossible. However the cursor can still be used fairly precisely, particularly when used in conjunction with the Square button. Sadly, you can't swap the analogue and D-Pad functions over. You will be pleased to hear that issuing commands to Lemmings while paused is, thankfully, limited to only one at a time, and doesn't really have a serious impact on the gameplay.

The game looks stunning - this goes without saying- however I don't think Team 17 have quite captured the feel of the lemmings' animation that DMA Design did with the original. Team 17's lemmings are far more rigid at the joints, whereas DMA's originals... well, they flopped. They seemed to have more charm and character than Team 17's lemmings do. Despite this, the game still looks lushious, and definitely does the original justice.

All in all, this isn't a perfect update. There are things I wouldn't change (such as the presentation and some of that new music), and things I would either totally alter from scratch or simply throw out (specifically, the level editor).

7 out of 10
Edge gave it a 6, which I thought was rather harsh. It's not perfect, but it's good enough for me.

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