Windows - 2000
Description of Lemmings Revolution
'Let's go!' - this high pitched cry signalled the beginning of many a gamer's troubles as they struggled to guide the green haired Lemmings to safety across a myriad of dangerous levels. A simple yet strangely addictive and hugely original game, Lemmings was so popular that it achieved the accolade of being translated onto pretty much every platform ever, from the Amiga, where it started, to the Gameboy, to the Megadrive and beyond. It also appeared in a number of other incarnations including two 2D sequels, a rather lacklustre 3D version, and a somewhat tenuous tie-in game going by the name of 'Lemmings Paintball'. The lemmings even put in an appearance in Operation Lemming a rather now hard to come by game which, with Psygnosis's permission, let you blast away at the lemmings, Operation Wolf style, with the proceeds from the sale of the game going to charity. But for the past two or three years, things have been rather quiet on the lemming front, so it seemed about time for them to put in another appearance, this time in the form of Lemmings Revolution.
I'm not going to go into a great deal of depth about the game's mechanics in this second op, since Mike Smithcovers that fairly well in his review. Just imagine Lemmings' 2D levels wrapped around a column so that either ends of the level meet and you've got a pretty good idea of how Lemmings Revolution works. And whereas Lemmings 2 + 3 gave the lemmings a wide variety of skills, such as throwing snowballs, firing ropes, pouring water and more, Lemmings Revolution takes a non-revolutionary step back to the lemmings' roots and sticks with the original skills featured in the first lemmings games. However, the lemmings do now come in subtly different flavours.
Mostly you'll be playing with the standard blue bodies and green-haired lemmings with their ability to die horribly on demand, but on other occasions you get to deal with acid walking and water-walking lemmings who can survive walking over acid and water respectively (no doubt the latter ability will go down a storm with any particularly evangelical rattlesnake handling preachers). There are levels where you find yourself dealing with two different varities of lemmings at once, perhaps having to use lemmings of the first kind to clear the path of lemmings of a second kind and vice-versa. By doing this Tarantula have managed to subtly improve upon the game's original format yet have avoided changing the formula so much as to alienate existing Lemmings fans.
Tarantula have also managed to knock up a wide variety of thoroughly playable levels that, as the game progresses, move from being challenging to downright tricky but never become frustrating, something that made the original Lemmings such a joy to play. Aside from utilising the aforementioned acid-walking and water-walking lemmings, these levels feature a variety of traps and hazards. Fortunately, you can press the P key to pause the game and get a good look at the level before you send your lemmings to their doom.
The level design is on a par with DMA Design's original Lemmings levels in terms of the cleverness and fiendishness of design, and the learning curve is evenly set so you're not thrown in at the deep end. The rotating levels idea works pretty well too and simplifies rather than complicates things as it could have been if it was badly implemented. And given that it's been an absolute age since the Lemmings' last outing, the lemmings' return is very welcome indeed. But, alas, not all is perfect in lemming land.
Die, lemmings, die!
Why? Because while I feel Mike has been a bit harsh on the game in his review, he's spot on in saying that it does feel a bit rushed. There's the fact it only runs in 640x480 mode is a bit of a downer. Another telltale sign is the fact that the rotation of the level can only be controlled with the right mouse button - you apparently can't rotate the column with the keys, meaning that you can't rotate and click on your lemmings at the same time. And on top of that, you can't save your game properly - the game keeps track of your progress but the game only holds one lot of level settings at a time, so if someone else comes along and clicks on 'play new game' then your progress is flushed right down the toilet.
Nevertheless, while these glitches are a bit annoying, they're not annoying enough to sink Lemmings Revolution. Granted, it may not be perfect, but with Lemmings Revolution, Tarantula have captured not all but a great deal of the original Lemmings magic. Mike states in his review that the graphics aren't brilliant, which is true, but gameplay is what should really count and the game's graphics are good enough for you to see what's going on in the game - I certainly don't agree the lemmings aren't as cute as they used to be - they still have plenty of character, although how much character a small computer sprite could have in the first place is debateable.
All in all, if you have fond memories of playing the original Lemmings or are just looking for a puzzle game that is playable, challenging and addictive with it, then with its hundred or so longevity-boosting levels Lemmings Revolution is well worth picking up.
Review By GamesDomain
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