Lemmings Revolution Review
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Pentium 266 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 3D video card, 4x CD ROM
The Weasels have scooped the adorable Lemmings from their peaceful lives and imprisoned the cute critters in boxes. The Weasels enjoy watching the Lemmings work, build and explore, but most of all the Weasels like to watch Lemmings die in gruesome ways. To fulfill their need for entertainment, the Weasels have constructed vast cylindrical puzzles filled with brutish traps, pools of acid, and precipitous falls. At the end of each construct is a hot air balloon in which the Lemmings can escape, but first they must pass seemingly endless deadly obstacles. The Weasels are bound to find some entertainment, as sometimes a few brave Lemmings must sacrifice themselves so that the rest may escape.
The bargain bin can be capricious, and sometimes cruel. Earlier incarnations of the Lemmings series created a strategy/puzzle game centered on the vast quantity of Lemming cuteness and character that could be packed into just a few pixels. I picked up this game entirely out of nostalgia for the older puzzle games such as the original Lemmings and Lemmings II: The Tribes. The introductory movie is full of charm and style, but the remainder of the game fails to live up to the promise of the opening cinematic.
Should this sound like unduly harsh condemnation for a game released approximately two years ago, this disappointment is entirely the product of high expectations thwarted by a design choice. Lemmings Revolution should have remained true to its roots, and stayed a two-dimensional puzzle game populated by cute critters and novel puzzles. Lemmings Revolution makes the game three-dimensional by placing the puzzles on the outside of a cylinder. The puzzles never really explore the potential of three dimensions, and are absolutely identical to a two dimensional puzzle in which Lemmings exiting on the right side of the screen would emerge on the left side, and vice-versa. What this means is that the efforts that could have been expended creating puzzles dripping with character were spent creating a three-dimensional game that would have been passable by the standards of early 2000. Fortunately, the ever-popular option to nuke all of your Lemmings into oblivion remains in this version.
My complaints about three-dimensionality aside, Lemmings Revolution provides a number of puzzles that range from adequate to clever. There are moments that elicit feelings of victory as you guide your Lemmings to their hot-air balloon escapes from the Weasel traps after cleverly deciphering the pattern of obstacles. As good as the puzzles may be, they rely more on trial and error than the more antique Lemmings games, with fewer Lemming occupations (like digger or blocker) and reliance on complex puzzle elements such as teleporters that can only be understood through trial-and-error. Worst of all, the game simply isn't functional. Having made it through several tiers of puzzles, the game became corrupt, and I was forced to reinstall. Even playing Lemmings Revolution through a second time, attempting to access some puzzles causes the game to crash, making portions of the game forever off-limits. All of this is, by the way, on an older computer (P400) running the appropriate operating system (Win95). Stay away if you see this one in the bargain bin, and just imagine what the game could have been.