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Oh No! More Lemmings (PC) artwork

Oh No! More Lemmings (PC) review


"Even though Lemmings was one of my long-time obsessions as a kid, I recently concluded it was now actually a bit boring. The learning curve is far too gentle, thereís an unnecessary abundance of lengthy unchallenging levels, and thereís plenty of map recycling. I often bypassed this expansion from its difficulty, and only a recent play revealed what a gem it is. Eight-minute levels of constant bridge-building have been replaced by snappy, quirky puzzles which are far tougher than the original, s..."



Even though Lemmings was one of my long-time obsessions as a kid, I recently concluded it was now actually a bit boring. The learning curve is far too gentle, thereís an unnecessary abundance of lengthy unchallenging levels, and thereís plenty of map recycling. I often bypassed this expansion from its difficulty, and only a recent play revealed what a gem it is. Eight-minute levels of constant bridge-building have been replaced by snappy, quirky puzzles which are far tougher than the original, showcasing what the Lemmings formula really is made of. This title is a real must for the purists, but novices should approach this with extreme caution!

The green-haired sprites may not look a pixel like their Scandinavian rodent counter-parts, but their behaviour successfully parodies the urban myths commonly attributed to them. When lemmings migrate, the mass swarm end up shoving each other off cliffs and hence often perceived as embarking on suicide missions. This myth is put into practise here as the creatures do not stop moving and need to be guided through obstacle-ridden levels to the exit using the available skill-set. Certain skills allow lemmings to bash across, dig down or diagonally mine through solid parts of levels plus bombers place a detonate charge on a lemming that kills it, but destructs some of its surroundings. Builders construct small diagonal bridges, and certain skills affect lemmings throughout the level: climbers can climb steep vertical drops, whilst parachutes allow them to safely drop down high falls, and blockers indefinitely freeze a lemming to turn others around. However, skills arenít the only constraining factor in levels, with the release speed from trapdoors, level times and exit quotas to all take into account. Many levels require an effective overview plan before plunging into it, to prevent plans being foiled too soon!

Although the level design templates and music have been given a new lick of paint, Oh No More Lemmings is essentially the classic formula used to maximum effect. The overall result is a far more difficult game than before. Whereas many levels of the original had a large array of unnecessary skills, many levels here present you with a bare-bones skill set only allowing one possible method to complete the level. But finding these solutions isnít so easy; in the original it was possible to circumvent obstacles and traps in ways not necessarily intended, but these lateral methods have been capitalised in this expansion. Take a level where you have to mine downwards through a big lump of snow, using the builder to stop them and turn around and mining low enough for the lemmings to fall safely. Or even one where you must minimise the number of deaths of lemmings falling through an overhead trap by squashing them together. The developers have utilised every glitch and exploit in the game engine and thrown it back at you. After the ridiculously easy first 20 levels, the difficulty gets real for the next 80; proficiency on the original is paramount for getting through this gift from the devil.

What ONML really emphasises is how brutal and unforgiving the game engine can be. Itís a puzzle game that has been neither unrivalled nor cloned in many years, and calls for real lateral thinking when trying to deal with the hap-hazardous handicaps placed into levels. Micro-management is greater than ever here and itíll be no surprise if youíre constantly bashing the pause key to give time to assign a skill to a lemming. Swarms of lemmings are constantly in need of attention, whether itís preventing lemmings from falling off a short platform, or even dealing with lemmings falling from multiple trapdoors scattered around the level. The Ďtry againí factor surges when greeted by near misses by a single pixel; a bomber blowing up too late, building a bridge that bit too short, or a frustrating time out just before meeting the exit quota. Some of the games real monstrosities donít just require the puzzle-solving mind, but one thatís prepared to spend an hour over one level. But the immense satisfaction of beating some of the real mind-bogglers really gives you the motivation to keep on going.

To put it bluntly, thereís no way you can play this without having a working knowledge of Lemmings. Although itís difficult to fault this game, the Tame difficulty couldíve at least been used to build up the difficulty and slacken the learning curve rather than providing a false start with simple levels. If you thought Satan was leading the development team for the original, then this is the work of his mentor. This expansion is what Lemmings really is about, stripping the originals flab and reinforces it with a hundred sheets of titanium meshing. Every level comes as a new surprise, thereís none of the notorious level recycling found in the original and the puzzles are always fresh. Just get the Windows version if you plan to get this It comes with the original and most importantly boasts an action replay feature so mid-level mistakes can be easily rectified. What you cannot do though is miss out on the absolute epitome of Lemmingsís essence. Letís Go!

Rating: 9/10

bigcj34's avatar
Community review by bigcj34 (June 27, 2008)

Cormac Murray is a freelance contributor for HG and is a fanboy of Sega and older Sony consoles. For modern games though he pledges allegiance to the PC Master Race, by virtue of a MacBook running Windows.

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