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Originally released on the Commodore Amiga on February the 14th 1991 with subsequent ports to a large number of consoles for the next 15-16 years as well as a revival on the PSP and PS3 we have Lemmings. Based off the rodent living up in Norway and the Arctic area, the game was developed by DMA games and published by Psygnosis. Lemmings was in fact DMA’s major breakthrough after having moderate success with their earlier games Menace and Blood Money.
The goal of the game is very simple. The player is tasked with getting a group of Lemmings back home. Standing in their path are a number of obstacles and traps which need to be overcome or avoided and you are tasked with giving the lemmings various jobs in order to get home. These jobs can range from climbing up walls, to building platforms or bashing through obstacles to name a few. In contrast to the actual rodent which as a result of biological urges are prepared to swim until they die of exhaustion, the Lemmings in the game appear to ironically follow the metaphor of blindly following questionable thoughts and opinions with potentially fatal consequences. But is the game any good? Find out in…
+Very addictive gameplay
+Simple and visually appealing graphics
The gameplay in Lemmings is very addictive. The game does have a difficulty curve that really does require players to think. This is reflected by the name of the sets of levels which begin with Fun, then goes to Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem. These difficulty levels affected how many Lemmings were required to get home to complete the stage, the rate at which they were released, how many obstacles to overcome and how many jobs you had to assign them. The game also features a humorous way of having all the Lemmings blow up when you mess up which never gets old. But there’s always something about saving the Lemmings that really urges you to keep playing and the satisfaction that you get from completing a level which might have given you some trouble. In a sense it sort of mirrors the Lemming’s determination to overcome their obstacles. If the levels of Lemmings weren’t enough for you, the game did have two stand-alone expansions which you don’t need the original game to play. Later on in 1991, the first expansion, Oh No! More Lemmings was released with 5 more difficulty levels, each with 20 levels totalling 100 new levels and Holiday Lemmings in 1993 with 2 difficulty levels and an additional 32 levels. However, by that time, people would have already gotten their hands on Lemmings 2: The Tribes and All New Lemmings just around the corner to be released in 1994. The game also features a two player co-op mode with 20 levels, but as I only have one mouse for my Amiga, it was a feature I could not cover.
The graphics in the game were very simple, but visually appealing and cosy. The Lemmings themselves are animated very well and run really smoothly in the game. The levels I thought were pretty imaginative, varied and well thought out and I bet the guys at DMA had a lot of fun making them. The music, while a lot of it being mashups of popular tunes and classical pieces were quite charming and essentially added to the overall cosy feeling. But the game isn’t flawless, so with that, it’s time for…
-Lack of speed up option
-Lack of shortcut keys to move the map around
In all honesty there’s nothing really wrong with Lemmings. The gameplay is quite solid and very straightforward, and while levels can become frustrating, that’s all a part of the charm. The only major complaints I have in regards to the game is that you cannot speed up the action. With some levels where you’ve assigned a bunch of tasks for one lemming to complete while having the others safely confined between walls and blockers, after removing the blocker, it does take some time for the large mass of lemmings to reach home. Thankfully this problem was addressed and fixed in Lemmings 2. The only other gripe I probably would have is the lack of shortcut keys to move the map around. Doing so on a ball mouse isn’t as easy as it looks. So with that out of the way it’s time I give…
I think a game that’s sold over 15 million copies across a number of platforms between 1991 and 2006 speaks for itself. Lemmings has an addictive gameplay element which never seems to grow old and appeals to all ages. If you’re looking for a charming, fun puzzle game. Lemmings is always one that springs to mind and you have a large variety of consoles and handhelds to pick it up for. It's really good if you want to kill some time.