Lomax

a game by Psygnosis
Platform: Playstation
Genre: Action
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 4 votes
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The action-platform genre has been grossly neglected since the release of the 32-Bit systems.

The PlayStation in particular has had a lack of good, 2-D platform games-a travesty considering that on 8-and 16-Bit action platform games were some of the most popular.

Finally, Psygnosis has come to the rescue with Lomax. Originally titled Lomax in Lemmingland, the characters in the game are all lemmings in one form or another. Even our hero, Lomax, is a wily lemming. Just like in the other Lemmings games, Lomax can gather power-ups to build a bridge to get to hard-to-reach places, blow up rocks blocking his path or fly over large pits. After defeating an enemy, it changes into a peaceful lemming, who then promptly jumps off the next ledge.

What will hit you first about Lomax is the graphics. They are fantastically detailed, with several layers of parallax and vibrant color. The hand-drawn feel of Lomax's graphics are a welcome change from the polygon "rendered" look that too many games have adopted these days.

The backgrounds are so detailed in fact, that sometimes you'll lose track of power-ups or the smaller enemies because they blend in so well.

The game's sound is perfectly orchestrated. The music goes well with the game's setting and on-screen action. The soundtrack is lighthearted, upbeat tunes that are presented in Dolby Surround Sound.

If you have a good sound system hooked up to your PlayStation, this game uses it to the fullest.

True to its genre, the levels are full of running, jumping, flying and hat-tossing action. The enemies are spaced out evenly, but there aren't nearly as much variety in enemies as there could be. Seeing the same enemy over and over again throughout a level can get a little tiresome. The enemies change each time you advance a world, but without that variety, the game seems very patterned. Once you learn an enemy's attack pattern, you can easily spin your way through each level.

Lomax has a good variety of attacks at his disposal. Throughout the game there are areas where you'll have to use one of the hats to get you through. The only drawback to the hats is that it is completely obvious which one to use every time, because just before the area that requires a certain one, you're given the correct hat! Or if you run out of a hat you need, a pot usually pops up nearby that has a fresh supply.

The game's control is decent, although it could use a lot of tweaking at this point in development. It's easy to get used to jumping or spinning, but there are several parts of the game where the control goes downhill. One of these places is jumping from one vine to another one. It's more difficult than it should be. Later in the game you're required to jump on vultures that are holding vines, making it even more difficult and very frustrating. The control seems to be haphazard in this area, with considerable loss of life necessary to just be able to jump from one platform to another.

Lomax's levels are split up into five different locations: The Forest, The Ocean, The Graveyard, The Old West and Evil Ed's home planet.

All are four levels wide with two sub-levels in each. In total, the game reaches over 40 separate stages, including bonus levels.

One of the unique features of some of the levels is that they are several layers deep. You can travel into the backgrounds to uncover more of the level. To do this, you cross a bridge, move across a plank or launch yourself from a springboard that points to the background or foreground.

Some of the best parts of the game involve moving in and out between the layers, avoiding hazards like falling rocks, spikes and jumping past enemies. It's strange to see this technique used a lot in some levels yet hardly used at all in others.

The game's big Boss, Evil Ed, is seen at the game's Map Screen before each level, but he doesn't make an appearance during gameplay. It's a bit strange to have a tyrannical Boss that isn't seen at all during gameplay, don't you think? Even during the Boss stages of the game, of which there are only three (not including the end scene), not one has Evil Ed present at all! Each Boss level is surprisingly similar; all it takes is knowledge of a set pattern and it's easy to defeat the stage.

Though some areas are very frustrating and difficult, others are very easy-even at the last stage in the game. The game could use a few more locations, some henchmen to help Evil Ed do his evil deeds (whatever they may be).

Any side-scroller has to keep you glued to the levels in order to be successful. Lomax succeeds in that respect. Even though the game is amazingly frustrating in later areas, this editor kept coming back for more. The only problem was that each time I played. I came away with a wish list of things that would make this game more than what it is now.

What is really cool about the game is the end battle versus Evil Ed. Now if there could have been some more build-up to the final battle, there would have been a lot more satisfaction after completing the game.

It's amazing that Sony has let Psygnosis produce such a graphically rich 2-D game for the PlayStation. Sony's policy on not wanting 2-D games is a mystery to me, as Lomax proves that they can be done with more graphical flair than some of the comparable 13-D platform games that are "put on the market.

Psygnosis has produced a good game in Lomax. Designed by the same team that did Flink on the Sega CD, this is the perfect cure for any gamer who has been searching high and low for a good platform game. With a little more time, a little more effort, more levels and a little more challenge, Psygnosis could have a major hit on their hands. We will revisit this game when it is further along in development.

Gamer's EDGE

The game's three main worlds (before the final levels) have mini-Boss areas that you need to pass to advance in the game. Each Boss level has the exact same pattern. The first thing you'll run into is the balloon craft that fires missiles (which lemmings will ride) at you. Maneuver yourself around the screen so that the missiles hit the rocks positioned in the level. When they hit the rocks, they ricochet and hit the balloon. A few hits and it goes down, and you go to the next world. The second part of each Boss level involves the balloon ship trying to crush you (deja vu from Super Mario 3. eh?). Justjump onto a lower area and duck down to avoid being crushed. The third and final obstacle that the later two Boss levels have are maces that swing from the bottom of the ship. Dodge them as best you can and you'll be okay.

  • MANUFACTURER - Psygnosis
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

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