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Sheep Review

publisher: Empire Interactive
developer: Minds Eye Productions
genre: Puzzle

PII-233, 32MB RAM, 200MB HDD, 4X CD-ROM
ESRB rating: E

release date: Nov 29, 00
» All About Sheep on ActionTrip

December 08, 2000
Branislav "Bane" Babovic

Lately, there has been a tendency to judge upon a game's quality only according to its technical characteristics, i.e. complexity, eye candy, and catchy sound. And, as time went by, the core notions of games became less and less important. Fortunately, games, which prove that creative ideas do count, appear once in a while. The first Minds Eye's game Sheep is one of these games.

This new puzzle Lemmings-style game will give you frustrating experiences while trying to save the little helpless sheep. Many years ago, the ancestors of today's modern sheep were sent out across the galaxy from the sheep home star system of Ovis Aries (Can anybody say: PMS, PMS, PMS really fast - Ed). A few of these explorers landed on Earth. Their mission was to pose as stupid peace loving creatures, and study the habitat. However, the sheep on Earth soon forgot about their mission, wallowing in grass and sunshine, and they slowly became domesticated by Man. Now the sheep ancestors have returned to Earth from Ovis, to reclaim their lost flock. To achieve this, without bringing the unwanted attentions of Man, they abducted several Earth inhabitants and supplanted them with the urge to herd, rounding up all the sheep to the fabled Mount Mouflon for the journey home. However, also visiting Earth is the dreaded Mr. Pear, he wishes to acquire the alien sheep technologies in order to rule the universe. He has recruited several characters including an assortment of hench-cows, who cause many problems for the sheep and their Shepherds along the way.

Each Sheppard has a characteristic appearance, but their ingame behavior is the same. When starting a new game you can choose one of the four shepherds: BoBeep, Adam Halfpint, Motley and Shep.

BoBeep is a cute young shepherdess. Shepherdess by day, and lead singer of a rock band by night. She wakes up after her abduction with a feeling that there is a huge sheep rock concert she and the sheep must attend (Now this is good stuff folks! Duke Nukem would love this sh#t *you'll know why if you visit AT tomorrow* - Ed). She has "a way" with sheep, coaxing even the most stubborn ovine out of danger through her charming manner. Think Bjork crossed with Courtney Love (Ugh, as my good budy Billy would say: I'm limp already - Ed).

Adam Halfpint is a street fighter and private eye, dealing with rescuing endangered species. Adam shrugged off his responsible life as a bank manager to pursue a more laid back, downbeat and easygoing lifestyle as a private eye. One late evening driving home, he is abducted by the sheep, and wakes up convinced of some huge conspiracy involving the sheep. Think Mulder crossed with Bruce Willis. His attitude to the sheep is one of kind brutality (Hey, this came out all wrong I tell ya - Ed).

Motley is one silly puppy with her tongue sticking out. Motley is a simple pet dog, who bounds with energy and enthusiasm. She has long dreamed of being a sheepdog. She is the only character that really understands what the message of her abduction is all about. Haunted by an incident in her past makes her intimidated by some of the harder sheep breeds. Think 'The Littlest Hobo' meets Mr. Blobby.

Shep is an experienced Alsatian who lost one eye protecting his herd. Shep is a highly intelligent and obsessive sheepdog. He now trawls the underground sheep trial world, as a "hired gun" sheepdog. His age has affected his sight, and he is a little slower than he used to be, but he has refused to retire. The abduction, however, changes his mind, believing this to be the grand finale of his herding life. Think Lassie crossed with Rambo (OK, I won't think about these crosses any more; I'm getting nauseous).

All characters are well balanced within the game, apart from the dogs being somewhat faster. Gameplay is very simple. The player assumes the role of a shepherd, which has to guide his flock from one side of the level to another, while keeping them safe from enemies and traps. This is achieved by going behind them and making them go the right way, as the merry sheep like to jump all around. To make things more interesting, each level is crowded with traps that will destroy or just knock-out your sheep. There are also various bonuses, which will grant them armor, jumping-bags or space suits.

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8.0   Very Good

Cute sheep and witty design;

Great difficulty and short time limits.


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