Fifteen years ago, gamers didn't have Sims or useless computer-controlled sidekicks to yell at. Instead, they had hordes of Lemmings, identical green-haired creatures who would march en masse into deathtraps or off cliffs unless you told them otherwise. They were stupid, they were frustrating and they were the stars of one of the best puzzle games ever made.
This May, that puzzle game will shuffle its way into the US once again. Lemmings for the PSP gives the original game a 3D facelift, redesigning its look while keeping its structure intact. So while it looks fancy, it plays the same way it did in 1991: you're presented with a series of 150 static, trap- and obstacle-filled levels, and the Lemmings pour in one by one from a trap door (or multiple doors) in the ceiling.
They'll walk straight ahead, and won't stop unless they're blocked or killed. So before they march off to their dooms, you'll need to quickly set them to tasks like digging, bashing through walls, building stairways, climbing or just blocking the others from hazards. You can even blow them up if they're in your way, but the goal is to clear a safe path that will get as many of your little charges as possible to safety.
We've played through a seven-level demo of the new version, and it's just as addictive and frustrating as the original game was. The PSP's controls work well for guiding the Lemmings; the analog stick is used to look around the stage, while the d-pad selects individual lemmings to give them orders.
The new stages look great (even if they're structurally the same as they were 15 years ago), and you can now zoom in for a close-up of your Lemmings as they tromp around on their legless feet.
The only drawback is that you can no longer make all your Lemmings explode in unison, which - as anyone who played the original can tell you - was one of the most satisfying things about the game. There is a fast-forward button you can use to speed things along once you've hit your "saved" quota, but it's just not the same.