Um Jammer Lammy

   "And now, introducing our feature act of the evening! Please welcome the the world- famous all-girl band Miiiiiilkcaaaaaaaaan, starring none other than the world famous riff jammin' southpaw, Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammy!"

MilkCan in concert

   You won't be hearing an announcer exclaim those words at an arena near you, despite Lammy's guitar playing merits. If there were ever a game deserving of a concert tour, Um Jammer Lammy is it. Foot stomping tunes and psychedelic scenes bring to life the rather eccentric yet incredibly enjoyable title in a game that, while short in length, is high in energy and fun.

   Um Jammer Lammy, the sequel to the sleeper hit PaRappa the Rapper, plays much like its predecessor. Outlandish characters give Lammy groove-filled challenges she must complete to arrive on time at a big concert her band is giving. To meet the assorted challenges, players must hit the controller's buttons in time with the icons displayed on the screen.

Dojo, casino, it's all in the mind
Leave it to LLLLaaaaamy!

   Hit buttons and Lammy plays her guitar; hit them correctly, and her lead guitar part melodiously intertwines with the stage's background music. The background music also gains instrumental depth as Lammy successfully grinds out her riffs; players can this as an aural clue toward their progress. A text progress meter is omnipresent as well, rating Lammy's guitar playing as either "AWFUL", "BAD", "GOOD", or "COOL". Achieving a "GOOD" will give Lammy clearance to proceed to her next challenge, but a "COOL" is the ultimate goal. Players really feeling the groove can ad-lib bridges and fills into the song and get a "COOL", which allows a jam session apart from the normal stage. For an extra-cool sensation, you can play with the guitar stomp-effects Lammy earns after certain stages. The Effectors, such as flanger, wah wah, and reverb, make Lammy's guitar sound funkdefied. Jimi Hendrix would be proud.

   The paper-thin 2-D characters are a mostly likeable bunch, and Sony has made minor changes in the story to ensure that players of all ages can enjoy it. But most players don't play Um Jammer Lammy for its plot; rather they revel in the tightly interacting music and gameplay.

 After-School Sale
Now put these kids to sleep, will ya?

   Um Jammer's simple gameplay, vivid colors, and addictive music make the game accessible to a wide audience. A friend and I decided that to properly play the game, we needed a bigger TV and more space in which to jump around. We thus took my PlayStation to the spacious dorm lounge, where we attracted a medium-sized crowd of college students. Glances at their faces revealed obvious puzzlement regarding why there were two guys jumping around like freaks in front of some video game. We let them play. They quickly understood.

   The game's biggest drawback is that you'll find yourself celebrating Lammy's smash hit concert in no time at all. Ideally, the game would have more levels to clear, and a slightly more intricate plot. Despite its short length, the game offers plenty of enjoyment, as there are various two-player modes and a bonus quest involving PaRappa himself that increase replay value.

Lammy vs. PaRappa
There can be only one.

   Multiplayer fans will enjoy facing Lammy off against her evil twin or PaRappa. Lammy's opponent can be played by either the computer or a human, the latter being far more fun. Musically challenged competitors can finally settle who is truly the most hip. A suggestion: give bonus points to the player who thinks up better dance moves.

   While playing as PaRappa, the guitar-based music is remixed to a more rap-friendly style. Fans of the original will no doubt dig this bonus, which effectively doubles the length of the game (a needed boost).

   Um Jammer Lammy is a must-play for anyone who's ever dreamed of being a rock star. Guitar playing not in your dreams? No worries, as Um Jammer Lammy is still an enjoyable game that proves simplicity can still be fun.

Review by Andrew Kaufmann, GIA.
Um Jammer Lammy
Developer Sony Music Entertainment
Publisher SCEA
Genre Rhythm
Medium CD (1)
Platform Sony PlayStation
Release Date  03.18.99
Um Jammer Live at the Roxy
64 English screen shots
Milk Can concert poster
North American box art