Lemmings (PC) review
"Lemmings aren’t stupid. They don’t really commit mass suicides and jump off cliffs into the merciless sea. In fact, the poor souls usually bite off more than they can chew by swimming across water that is excessively deep for them. They migrate in large groups and march into the water, hoping to migrate to a new and better home. Unfortunately, all they get is death. Although, this is commonly seen as suicide it is actually just plain stupidity. Thanks goodness that Psygnosis and DMA decided ..."
Lemmings aren’t stupid. They don’t really commit mass suicides and jump off cliffs into the merciless sea. In fact, the poor souls usually bite off more than they can chew by swimming across water that is excessively deep for them. They migrate in large groups and march into the water, hoping to migrate to a new and better home. Unfortunately, all they get is death. Although, this is commonly seen as suicide it is actually just plain stupidity. Thanks goodness that Psygnosis and DMA decided to use this tragic story to make a comedic yet challenging puzzle game.
You have to guide a fixed number of Lemmings through an area filled with various hazards. These guys are pretty dumb; they’ll keep on walking forward no matter what. If they hit a wall, they’ll turn around and walk on the opposite direction. If they come to a cliff edge, they’ll plummet to an uncertain doom. Basically, they’ll walk into any kind of hazard without caring so it’s up to you, the guardian angel of these green haired goons, to make sure that they get home safely.
Lemmings have 120 stages and four difficulty levels packed with dangers and obstacles that you must guide your Lemmings across. You’ll notice a selection of eight commands you can use to help the little guys across the hazards without killing them. You won’t get an infinite supply of these skills but the amount you have is displayed clearly above the skill. Lemmings can climb up walls, float down safely from high drops, blow up and block areas. They can also be quite constructive, they’ll be able to build bridges, block paths, smash down walls and dig down. The root of Lemmings is to use as many of these skills as you need to get all of your critters through an area without suffering heavy losses.
Each level has a particular solution to it and is packed with hazards. Lemmings will drown if they fall in water, ooze or lava; they can also be crushed, hanged and squished by various in level traps such as nooses, bear traps and stone pillars. If they walk off a cliff that is excessively high, they will be pasted into the ground, unless you hand them umbrellas. Each level has an exact number of Lemmings and a certain amount that you must save, if you start with 80, you may not have to rescue 80 exactly, sometimes you may have to only rescue 20 Lemmings. Occasionally, you’ll get a level where you will have to rescue 100% but those levels are either easy or only have about three or four Lemmings on the map.
You can also do various other tasks during the game. Lemmings will fall from a sky portal periodically, you can use the plus, and minus keys at the bottom of the screen to increase or decrease that Lemming release rate. If you have created a safe pathway, you do not have to sit and watch your entire Lemmings walk from the beginning to the end, you can fast-forward it. Thankfully, another tool provided is the mushroom cloud. If you have too many blockers on the screen after every other Lemming has finished or if you’ve completely crapped the level up (it will happen, don’t worry) you kill all of your Lemmings by clicking on the nuke icon. This will blow up all of your Lemmings on the level and allow you to have a fresh start. It’s gruesome, to see them panic and cry “OH NO!!” as they are ripped apart but deep down, you know you like it.
Lemmings is loaded with difficulty and can require your complete concentration and speedy reactions. You will have to multitask (a nightmare for us males) to make sure that this ledge is blocked and that your builder won’t run out of bricks. On many occasions, you’ll be focusing on many occasions on the screen at once, calculating whether your Lemmings will survive that fall or if that place is the best area for a blocker. It can leave your brain fried as you sit and plan your way through the level, failing miserably is the first step to success. It can take ages to solve a particular level and when you’ve done it, you’ll get another puzzle packed stage to solve.
Lemmings is jam packed with some fantastic and memorable pieces of music. We have a lot of remixed songs of nursery rhymes, classical music and original tunes that will be forever imbedded in your mind. Some of the special ones will really get you humming and will pop into your mind, usually at the wrong time as well. Lemmings have cute little voices as well, they go “Yippee” when they get home and make sweet little whelps of pain when they are crushed into bits. It may not be nice, but it is amusing.
The visuals are a mix of basic sprites, the green haired and blue jumper wearing Lemmings look very basic, very retro and pretty blocky. They have a very basic layout and quite basic animation frames, even though there is a quite of lot of them for all of the basic Lemming functions as well as the highly amusing shrugging stance and the “OH NO!” explosion scene. The backgrounds of the levels are little more advanced. The exit portals are creatively crafted to blend in with the level’s theme, in the fire underworld, we have a fire spouting demons head and the Pyramid levels have a triangular exit. The detail on the soil, sand and metal are detailed well and the water and fire effects have excellent flowing animation. The visuals may look a little outdated but it is what Lemmings is remembered for. Would anyone have it any other way? If your answer is yes, then you get a slap.
Lemmings has so many things going for it: insane challenge, creative and complicated play that is addictive, original and compelling. It also has a load of levels so you will have plenty of stuff to do. It is worth picking up on the P.C but I wouldn’t use the finicky mouse like controls with a D-pad. It’s way too complicated. It also has better visuals and immense audio that is so damn memorable, it is scary. Do not stoop to mediocrity by purchasing Lemmings on the console, pick up the P.C version to play this classic properly.
Community review by goldenvortex (May 02, 2005)
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