GBAtemp Recommends #89: Lemmings

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Hadrian, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    Welcome to the 89th issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This is a weekly feature where we talk about some of our past favourites and it's actually NOT written by someone on Kotaku!! Some games may be well known, others I feel have been ignored but all are fantastic and deserve at least a play...unless you hate games.
    Before hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons with Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt, Rockstar North was called DMA Design and in 1991 they hit upon gaming gold with an addictive puzzler named Lemmings, it was the Angry Birds of the 90's only it required skill. :tpi:

    Lemmings was a huuuuuge ass hit, first coming to the Amiga 500 and Atari ST, it was so popular Commodore decided to package it with their awesome computer which helped shift a ton of Amigas back in the day. Like most hugely successful home computer titles it got ported to pretty much EVERYTHING that could do it even the ZX81! It followed Tetris in becoming the premier puzzle title.

    Lemmings is a simple premise. A ton of humanoid creatures called "Lemmings" fall out of a trapdoor in the sky and you have to guide them safely home. Problem is that these Lemmings were pretty damn stupid and had no common sense. These green haired bastards would simply walk off cliffs, into fires, water, lava whatever that was going to basically kill them.

    To stop them you as some kind of God, would need to assign them little jobs. To stop other Lemmings from walking in a certain direction you make a Lemming a Blocker. A blocker would just stand there with it's hands out and this made the other Lemmings go off into the opposite direction...however the block is doomed, this fella could never become a normal Lemming again so you must kill him. There's also a Climber...which climbs walls obviously, a Floater simply gives the Lemming a umbrella that helps him glide safely to the ground from high spots, a Builder that builders a rising stairway to get to high places (until he runs out of bricks), a Basher that digs horizontally (but not through metal), a Miner that digs down diagonally (again not through metal) and a Digger which just digs downwards (again not through metal). Lastly there is a Bomber, as a Bomber the Lemming has 5 seconds to live and then just blows up, during that time he just does whatever a Lemming would no normally. This is handy to blow up Block Lemmings and also to get through tiny walls when you can't use any of the other digging Lemmings.

    Each level is timed and requires a certain amount of Lemmings to pass...get the required amount in that time and "Yippee" you get on to the next level. There are 117 levels in the original Lemmings and they are split into four sets of difficulty, Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem. Each difficulty has all new levels, and Mayhem is pretty damn hard. If while playing you see that you can't pass the level because you've used up certain abilities,you don't have enough Lemmings alive or you've simply borked it totally you can click the "Nuke" option...this turns every Lemming into a Bomber and boy is this fun! Just watching them all blow up one after another shouting "oh no" and exploding into many different pieces brings a certain bit of joy to my heart.

    Graphically it's quite simple, the Lemmings are small pixelated beings and I actually used to spend a lot of time making my own Lemming animations on Deluxe Paint III, they were that simple to draw but they are also very iconic too. The backgrounds and levels are very detailed and lived up to the rich Psygnosis standards that the publisher had back then. Animation is really nice and on a whole really stood out.

    The sounds brilliantly matched the silliness of the overall game, using public domain dittys such as "London's Bridge" and my particular favourite "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window"...yeah. The sound effects were also great, nicely sampled Lemming speech that conveyed both their enthusiasm and their demise.

    Lemmings was fresh back in 1991, it had never been done before and therefore was an entirely original game and yet, it had a very simplistic approach that caught the eye of casual players as well as hardcore players.

    Lemmings was followed up but "Oh No More Lemmings", this was just an additional 100 levels to play and was very welcome because Lemmings was kinda like crack back then. There was also Christmas Lemmings which again had more levels only Xmassy...damn those Lemmings looked cute in Santa outfits). "Lemmings 2: The Tribes" was a much more advanced affair, which improved graphics and this time featured 12 tribe. Each tribe looked very different and all had unique abilities, it was a hit but it was also more complex and turned some people off, myself I just wasn't keen on a lot of the new abilities. "All New World of Lemmings" took the forumula back to the original game and followed three tribes from the Lemmings 2. It featured enemies this time and also larger graphics, it was an improvement but by then interest in the series had waned and the following nine tribes never got their own games as was planned. 3D Lemmings took the game into another dimension, bringing an extra layer of strategy and it was a nice change but still not quite as amazing as the original. The final proper sequel appeared quite some time later. "Lemmings Revolution" went back to the 2D style gameplay but with a 3D look...again it was fun but nothing special and that was it for Lemmings.

    There was a couple of spin off titles, Lemmings Paintball was an isometric game. You controlled a singular Lemming and you had to get to the end of the level and at the same time shoot other Lemmings and get through various was pretty mundane and forgettable. The Adventure of Lomax on the other hand was a very beautifully drawn 2D platformer, kinda using the graphical style of Rayman and to be honest didn't really have anything to do with the other games in any way other than the fact that you control a Lemming called Lomax and used some of their original abilities. It is probably the best Lemmings title after the first.

    Since then it has been pretty quiet for Lemmings, Sony bought the publisher Psygnosis and therefore obtaining the rights to the game and aside from a port on the old mobile phones, PSP and on PSN very little at all has been done with the license, amazingly weird considering the name and reputation and how Sony likes to whore it's properties. A new Lemmings game on todays phones would make a killing today. Still this is a game that isn't to be forgotten, it's influence on the puzzle genre can still be felt today with even the likes of Nintendo copying a little of it's gameplay for it's DK Vs Mario Mini's series.

    I widely recommend the PC version for ease of use but I prefer the Amiga original. You can also grab a homebrew port of this for the DS too.

    Originally Released: February 1991
    Genre: Puzzle
    Developer: DMA Design
    Publisher: Psygnosis (Sony for PSP/PSN)
    Platforms: Amiga/Atari ST/PC/Mac/NES/SNES/Mega Drive/Master System/Game Gear/Game Boy/Spectrum...oh bloody nearly everything from the 90's!

    Got a game you want to recommend? PM me and I'll feature it!
    kimotori, weavile001 and Maxternal like this.
  2. cateater1

    cateater1 GBAtemp Regular

    Nov 26, 2010
    One of the best, great memories of this. Pretty sure i bought an Amiga 600 because of it from what i remember. Ported so much!
  3. orcid

    orcid GBAtemp Fan

    Sep 14, 2009
    As a kid I loved to blow up as many lemmings as possible at once! :D
    The console ports of the normal Lemmings are not good at all. You really need a mouse for this game. I really liked 3D Lemmings for the PS1. The 3D effect was sooo amazing at the time. Playing this game now will problably suck and I will hate the 3D.
    For a good and successfull phone port they need a genius idea for the controls. Just porting the mouse controls to the touchscreen won't work because a finger is smple too big for selecting this little lemmings.
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Lemmings 2 was probably my favourite but that does not mean I did not spend a silly amount of time on this and the expansions for it. The poor old amiga mouse when we also all got into syndicate and cannon fodder at the same time.
    I can highly recommend the DS homebrew version as well... indeed I actually did at one point


    Dec 21, 2010
    United States
    I loved this game as a kid. In fact, it is one of the two games I remember beating by the time I was five (the second was The Lost Vikings), and is part of the reason I love games so much today.
  6. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my's over 9000!!!

    Nov 17, 2008
    you think lemmings is hard than try troddlers :P
  7. pwsincd

    pwsincd Garage Flower

    GBAtemp Patron
    pwsincd is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Dec 4, 2011
    Manchester UK
    Loved it , in fact bought PC version from a carboot recently... 50p.. it was like i'd found woody in a yard sale....
  8. futaris

    futaris Member

    May 25, 2006
    RacketBoy game of the week too....
  9. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

    May 27, 2013
    United States
    happy land
    This sounds awesome; too bad I'm not into puzzle games... I like doing jigsaw puzzles instead of going on a machine. Of course, the Merrie Masquerades was fun...
  10. Zeliga

    Zeliga One step closer.

    Sep 28, 2013
    Looks fun, ill play it if I had the chance.
  11. duwen

    duwen Old Man Yoshi

    Sep 6, 2013
    United States
    Bullet Hell
    A classic, and one of my most played titles on the Amiga back in the day (along with Cannon Fodder, Chaos Engine, Pinball Fantasies, and all of Team 17's catalog of work... and the numerous point-and-click adventures).

    I've not played it for a long while; the last time I thought about playing it was back when the first Pikmin came out on Gamecube and struck me as a kind of spiritual successor to Lemmings.
  12. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004

    Didn't think it was that hard.
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