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UmJammer Lammy (ウンジャマ・ラミー Un Jama Ramī?) is a rhythm video game developed by NanaOn-Sha and published by Sony for the PlayStation video game console. It was first released in Japan on March 18, 1999, and was later released in North America on August 17, 1999 and in Europe around September 1999. It has since been re-released in Japan twice - first on April 12, 2001 under the PlayStation the Best line, and again on March 28, 2002 under the PSOne Books line. UmJammer Lammy is a spin-off of PaRappa the Rapper, also released for the PlayStation. On September 1, 2009, the ESRB has rated the game for release on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3 and PSP;[1] the game was released on PlayStation Network on September 30, 2009.

In a joint creation with Namco, Sony of Japan released an arcade version of UmJammer Lammy which features updated visuals and a differing song list. Furthermore, similar to Konami's Guitar Freaks series, the game boasts a guitar-shaped specialty controller which gives the player a better sensation of playing a real guitar.

Plot

UmJammer Lammy stars an anthropomorphic lamb named Lammy, a member of the band MilkCan along with her other anthropomorphic friends Katy Kat and Ma-san. Lammy is the guitarist, with Katy Kat as the vocalist, the bass player, and the band front-person, while Ma-san is the drummer.

UmJammer Lammy opens with a nightmare Lammy has of being late for a gig, running to the stage door and ending up on stage at the last second, only to find Chop Chop Master Onion, the sensei from PaRappa 1, at the microphone. He then leads Lammy through a song whose lyrics foreshadow the events that unfold across the rest of the game. At the end of the song, Chop Chop asks Lammy what she is playing, she then realises her guitar is actually her vacuum cleaner. Lammy begins to panic, as she believes she is nothing without her guitar, but Chop Chop explains that she doesn't need her guitar to be cool — "I lost my dojo, but the dojo remains in my mind. It even has a casino. Dojo, casino, it's all in the mind.". Thus, whenever Lammy sees or hears a reference to gambling, she recalls that "My guitar is in my mind!" and she adapts whatever task she must perform into invisibly playing the guitar, therefore becoming confident again. Note that this is the only level in the game which is never available for multiplayer play of any kind. (It also can't be played by Parappa, although a Parappa mix of the song appears on the soundtrack.)

Lammy then wakes up, the previous level having been a dream sequence. She realises she only has 15 minutes to get to a concert with her band, Milkcan, at the Chop Chop Master Arena. She runs out of her apartment (returning to turn off all the appliances she left running, and kiss her teddy panda for luck), and runs downtown, only to find the pizza shop has caught fire, and fire marshals have sealed off the area. She tries to break through, but the Chief Puddle will only allow her passage if she helps put the fire out. Lammy begins to doubt, but she sees an advertisement for Joe Chin's Casino and realizes she can use a firehose in a similar way to her guitar.

After putting out the fire, Lammy and the firemen start to eat the well-cooked pizza. This makes Lammy bloated. Lammy remembers she has to hurry to her concert, but she can't run very fast. She collides into a parade of pregnant rabbits and their spouses, and the head nurse Cathy Piller mistakes Lammy for a pregnant teenager. After taking Lammy into her maternity unit, she finds Lammy wasn't pregnant after she's finished digesting the pizza, but insists she at least help put hundreds of baby rabbits to sleep. Lammy sees some babies playing a roulette wheel and makes a connection between the baby rabbits and guitars.

After putting all the babies to sleep, Lammy dashes out and slips on a skateboard. She goes flying through the air, and lands on a low-flying jumbo jet. She discovers the pilot, Captain Fussenpepper, has forgotten how to fly. He is normally sedated and confused, but when a loose ceiling panel in the cockpit falls on his head he thinks he's a military hero and becomes angry and strict. The ceiling panel falls frequently causing Captain Fussenpepper to change personalities often. An in-flight announcement tells passengers in the onboard casino to fasten their seatbelts and Lammy can fly an airplane as if she is playing a guitar.

After landing the plane safely in a parking lot (and putting change in a nearby parking meter), Lammy dashes off only to find she's missing her guitar. She regretfully recalls that she left her guitar on the plane and, unfortunately, the plane has taken off once more. She then spots a guitar shop and tries to buy a guitar, but there are none on display. The hillbilly shop owner, Paul Chuck, then leads her out the back door to a wooded forest and hands her a chainsaw. Lammy and Paul Chuck then use their chainsaws to make a guitar out of a tree. Lammy accomplishes this because she hears the tune "Casino in my hair" on Paul Chuck's record player.

With her new guitar in hand, Lammy dashes off, but she slips on a banana peel left by PJ Berri (from PaRappa the Rapper) and tragically dies. She then realises she is in Hell. She is mistaken for Rammy, her grunge-rock rival, by the diva Teriyaki Yoko, and forced to perform lead guitar at a concert in Hell. Teriyaki then uses a "super teleportation device" (a fax machine) and faxes Lammy back to the real world. In the U.S. release of the game, Hell was removed and instead, Lammy is catapulted back in time when her clothes catch on the store's door handle, and she lands on a tropical island where Teriyaki is a respected idol.

She makes a madcap dash for the concert that all the members had been preparing hard for, and is surprised to find she's reached the door at the exact same time as Katy and Ma-san, who got caught up in their own adventures. With the band united, Milkcan rocks the stage.

At the end of this level, both Rammy and Parappa are shown in the audience. The player can now play all the levels again as Parappa, rapping to hip-hop versions of Lammy's songs. There is no linking plot when playing as Parappa (according to the title cards at the start of each level, Parappa's levels are spaced out over the course of a week), but some short comic sketches featuring Parappa, Katy Kat and PJ Berri are shown in between levels. The plot sees Parappa and his friends helping to prepare for Katy's concert, which inspires Parappa and PJ to start their own band, although PJ's sense of 'rock n roll' is a little left to be desired. Lammy can also play each level either cooperatively with, or competitively against Rammy or Parappa.

Gameplay

File:UmJammerLammy.jpg

Basic Gameplay

UmJammer Lammy is based on the PaRappa the Rapper engine. UmJammer Lammy is a rhythm game which uses rock music, unlike PaRappa the Rapper, which uses rap music. Each level has an original song which is sung by a different character. As the character sings, a yellow line appears at the top of the screen with an assortment of symbols taken from the controller (X, Square, Circle, Triangle, L button, and R button) to indicate which button the player must push to hit the beat. As the character sings the song, an icon of the character moves across this line. A separate purple line will follow it, either to the side of it or below it. This purple line contains the same pattern of symbols as the previous line. On this line, an icon of Lammy will move across. As the icon moves over a symbol, the player must push the respective button on the controller at the exact right moment, attempting to match the singer's beats. The game will continue going back and forth between yellow and purple lines until the level ends. If the player chooses Easy mode, the unique symbols will be replaced with one type of symbol, allowing the player to only use one button. However, the player cannot save in this mode. On top of that, the game will end at the completion of level six, and the player will have to start over from level one.

There are four ranks that the player can be at during the song - Awful, Bad, Good, and Cool. To clear the stage, the player must be in Good or Cool rank at the end of the song. The player always begins at Good rank, and depending on the accuracy of the player's button presses, he or she will either move up in rank eventually or steadily fall. If the player does too good or too bad, the rank will come close to increasing. Before the player can change in rank, it will first show that the player's rank will change if he or she does good or bad enough. If the player does as good or bad as he or she did, the rank will rise or drop. Depending on what the player's rank is, the song's quality will decrease, and the activity in the background will increase in some levels. As the player's rank drops more and more, the song will sound worse, and if he or she falls below Awful at any time in the level or is not at Good or higher at the end of the level, the level will end, and the player can then choose to either try again or quit.

Like the first Parappa game, freestyling on certain lines will make the rank meter flash "Cool". If players are able to freestyle two Cool lines in a row, the teacher will leave and the player is free to freestyle to gain more points. If a player can keep in Cool mode by the end of the song, he/she'll get a Cool ending. However, if the freestyling is bad, the rank meter will flash "Good" and if it continues, the teacher will return and normal play will resume.

Sound morphers

At the end of stages 2–6 on Lammy's storyline, she is handed an obscure object with a property. These are Flanger (a fire siren), Harmonizer (a caterpillar rattle), Wah Wah (Capt. Fussenpepper's False Teeth), Distortion (a miniature log with an ax on it) and Reverb (a lighter.) When playing as either Lammy or Rammy, players can press Select to cycle through the sound morphers, changing the sounds as they are played. Certain morphers, such as the Wah-Wah, can be affected further by activating the analogue mode on the Dual Shock controller and moving the analogue stick up and down. Besides the morphers, players can also morph the pitch of the guitar by pressing the L2 or R2 buttons while playing. These features are not available whilst playing as Parappa.

Fever Time

Entering a level after it has been completed once brings up a chocolatey screen full of symbols before the level's cut scene is loaded. If these symbols are input in the right order in the relevant level whilst in Cool mode, the screen goes hyper and several symbols fly all around. During the time this is up, players can hit the featured button repeatedly to gain massive points.

Arcade version

The arcade version of the game, entitled Um Jammer Lammy: NOW! is played using a unique guitar controller. The buttons for Triangle, Circle, X and Square are represented by strummers in the middle of the guitar, the L button is represented by a slider at the top of the guitar, and a scratch disc at the bottom represents the R button. The gameplay is identical to the console version, albeit some of the game's lines are changed to make it easier to play with the guitar controller. Also, the first level is supposedly playable with Parappa. (While the music and words for Parappa's version of "I Am a Master, and You" exist in the game's data, the level itself is unplayable in the home version.)

Modes

  • Solo - Lammy: The main storyline featuring Lammy.

This mode must be played to unlock all other modes. At the end of stages 2–6, Lammy receives a sound morpher. Players can use the Select button to cycle through the available morphers and morph the sounds of the guitar, but only while playing as Lammy or Rammy. This is the only mode in which Stage 1 can be played.

  • Co-op - Lammy & Rammy: Unlocked by clearing levels in Lammy's Solo Mode.

A co-operative mode in which Player 1 plays as Lammy and Player 2 plays as Rammy. Each line is played alternatively by the players. After every 2 lines, the combined scores each player achieved during that line is added to the score and the rank changes accordingly. For example, if player 1 did well and scored 10 points in his/her line but player 2 did badly and got a score of -13, the total score for those lines would be -3 and it would count as a bad line. This mode can be played with either 2 controllers, against the computer or (once cleared) one controller.

  • Vs - Lammy & Rammy:

Works in a similar way to the co-op mode, only the scores are differentiated and the difference is awarded and taken away from the respective players. For example, if Player 1 scored 10 and Player 2 scored 8 points, Player 1 would get 2 points added to his/her score and Player 2 would lose 2 points. The loser is the one with the lowest score at the end of the level, whoever hits below Awful first or whoever reaches 0 first. The game can be played with 1 or 2 controllers, or can be played against the computer with varying levels of difficulty.

  • Solo - Parappa: Unlocked after clearing Lammy solo mode

Parappa plays through rap versions of stages 2–7. The storyline involves Parappa and his friends PJ and Sunny helping Katy Kat out with her band's concert. Later on Parappa and PJ decide to start their own band, although PJ's definition of 'rock and roll' leaves somewhat to be desired. There are also commercials for Joe Chin products.

  • Co-op - Lammy & Parappa:

Works in the same way as Lammy & Rammy co-op, only this time, player 1 plays as Lammy with her tracks and player 2 as Parappa using his tracks, with the music alternating between the two depending on who's turn it is.

  • Vs. - Lammy & Parappa:

Same as Lammy vs Rammy, except player 2 is parappa, and the music switches between rock (for Lammy) and rap (for parappa).

  • Special Mode: Unlocked after completing Lammy Rammy co-op, Lammy Parappa co-op, Lammy Rammy versus, and Lammy Parappa versus modes. Once all those modes have been completed, a player can listen to any of the songs from Lammy or Parappa's stages, in GOOD, BAD, AWFUL or COOL mode. However, Lammy's riffs or Parappa's raps are not featured. As the songs are played, the buttons can be used to make Lammy, Rammy, Katy Kat, Parappa, Ma-San and PJ perform actions.

Censorship

Several changes were made for the game's North American release. These changes are not found in the original Japanese version or the PAL release. For stage 5, Paul Chuck's lyrics are changed to discourage chopping down trees for fun. For example the line, "chopping trees down for the fun" changes to "knowing that we're here for the fun". For stage 6 (Teriyaki Yoko), Lammy no longer dies and goes to Hell. Instead, she snags her belt on a doorknob while running from Paul Chuck's guitar store and is slingshotted back in time onto an island. The lyrics in stage 6 no longer refer to the devil, and Lammy is seen wearing a camouflage shirt design, as well as the pants and shoes to match said design, along with jungle makeup on her face and vines in her hair. The cutscene preceding stage 7 then features Katy Kat in jungle gear and Ma-san riding a camel, and where the ending credits has an instrumental version of "Keep Your Head Up" in Japan's version, the song now has lyrics in the U.S. (and PAL) version.[2] Finally, Chop Chop Master Onion's stage 1 song changes to reflect the new storyline. However, the demo of Um Jammer Lammy released in PlayStation Underground has the unedited version.

Soundtracks

In 1999, three soundtracks were released in Japan. In July, Make It Sweet was released featuring music from the game performed by "MilkCan" with vocals by Michele Burks as Katy Kat. In September, I Scream! was released featuring remixed versions of the songs and original lyrics performed by Dred Foxx as Parappa. An original soundtrack was released in November.[citation needed]

Reception

Praise and criticism

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83% (21 reviews)[3]
TopTenReviews 2.87 out of 4 (12 reviews)[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame Star fullStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg[5]
Computer and Video Games 5 out of 10[6]
Game Revolution B[7]
GameSpot 8.4 out of 10[2]
IGN 8.6 out of 10[8]

The game was given generally favorable reviews, receiving around an 83% on GameRankings.[3] GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann commented on the game's sound, graphics and originality and gave it an 8.4, stating, "While the game isn't a strict sequel, it does take place in the same universe, with the same graphics style and nearly identical gameplay. ... [T]he additional levels, the two-player option, and the inclusion of the Parappa remixes in Um Jammer Lammy add a value that Parappa the Rapper simply can't touch. But keep in mind that the game doesn't stray far from the formula, and the game's difficulty will put off those who never mastered Parappa. So, to put it another way, if you didn't play Parappa to death and love every minute of it, you might as well skip out on Um Jammer Lammy."[2] Similarly, IGN gave it an 8.6 and commented on the gameplay, story, graphics and sound, stating, "If you can look past all the crazy effects and wild animations, the plot isn't as funny, or as cute, as Parappa the Rapper's. In fact, it was kind of bland. ... But the rest of the game is sweet. ... Um Jammer Lammy is a great addition to the Parappa cosmos... [and] has so much more that Parappa didn't have."[8] Game Revolution also gave it a B, calling it "a cool game, if for no other reason than to entertain sufficiently inebriated party guests. It's easily the most insane mish-mash of psychadelia [sic] yet seen on a console, and at least deserves a shot (or the whole bottle, even)"; but criticized the story, calling it "the most obtuse, disjointed, drug-induced mess of a story that has ever been conceived, period."[7] (The site even went so far as to rate the game as #40 on the list of the Top 50 Worst Game Names Ever.[9])

The alternate U.S. version of Lammy's Stage 6, however, drew mixed praise and criticism. IGN called it "a far off island [that] has that Japan-idol-talk influence... So if you were expecting to see one of the levels being in hell, well, it's not in there."[8] Similarly, GameSpot's Gerstmann made a later update on his March 26, 1999, review by commenting on the U.S. alterations to Stage 6, exclaiming, "It doesn't really affect the game too much, since much of the game doesn't make a lot of sense to begin with."[2] Game Vortex, however, criticized the alteration, calling it "the only unfortunate thing," and stating, "Did I miss some logical leap? I think our kids can handle such a basic concept as Hell."[10]

Awards

External links

References

  1. http://kotaku.com/5350341/esrb-rates-new-flood-of-psone-classics
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gerstmann, Jeff (1999-03-26). Um Jammer Lammy Review for PlayStation. GameSpot. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Um Jammer Lammy for PlayStation. GameRankings. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  4. Um Jammer Lammy Critic Reviews. TopTenReviews. Retrieved on 29 November 2009.
  5. Sackenheim, Shawn. Um Jammer Lammy - Review. Allgame. Retrieved on 29 November 2009.
  6. Um Jammer Lammy Review. Computer and Video Games (15 August 2001). Retrieved on 29 November 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Um Jammer Lammy review for the PS. Game Revolution (August 1, 1999). Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Um Jammer Lammy Review. IGN (August 18, 1999). Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  9. The 50 Worst Game Names Ever. Game Revolution. Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  10. Um Jammer Lammy on GameVortex.com. Game Vortex (December 17, 2002). Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
  11. Game Critics Awards (1999 Winners). Retrieved on 28 November 2009.
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