LGR – Lemmings – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Lemmings – DOS PC Game Review


[typing] Here on Lazy Game Reviews, I’ve covered all sorts of lesser known games. But you know what? Sometimes I just want to cover a
game that needs no introduction. Bam! Lemmings! Developed by DMA Design, Ltd., and published by Psygnosis in 1991. The full game was originally
developed on the Commodore Amiga, but was then ported to
the DOS version shown here as well as approximately
15 million other systems. You may think that is an
exaggeration, but it is not. According to the cover,
the developers are not responsible for loss of sanity, hair or sleep, which is pretty useless information
to insane, bald insomniacs. An interesting thing to note is that Lemmings was the first hugely
successful game by DMA Design and programmer David Jones, who later went on to
develop Grand Theft Auto, with DMA Design becoming Rockstar North. Yes, if it weren’t for this game, GTA may have never happened. Also, if it weren’t for the game Blood Money, this may have never happened, as Lemmings actually started off
as an animation demo on the PC for the follow-up to
Blood Money titled Walker. There was a challenge at DMA Design to make a believable
animated walking man sprite in less than 16×16 pixels. Turns out, it could be done in 8×8, and after several tweaks,
the walking Lemming animation was born. They did what any sensible
programmers would do: they started putting these little guys in various landscapes full of traps, smashing them up in
increasingly brutal ways. They did later develop
Grand Theft Auto, after all. After a bunch of levels
were made in Deluxe Paint, eventually a game came out
of it, and we got Lemmings. Inside the box, you get a set of 5¼-inch or 3½-inch floppy disks, and a nice colorful manual covering gameplay strategy, and detailed instructions for the Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS versions of the game. Once you start it up,
you’re greeted with a menu providing a menu of choices to choose: start a game, choose a level, change sound and music options, swap control methods,
and select the puzzle set to play. You’re provided with 120 puzzles divided into four difficulty levels: Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem. Unless your an inexorable sadomasochist, it’s recommended that you play
these in order from Fun to Mayhem, as the skills learned
in the earlier puzzles will have to be put to
clever use in later puzzles. Or if you’ve played the game before, you may just want to enter a
password to jump to a puzzle. Of course, you’ll need
to know the password, as incorrect ones only
result in abject failure. Once a puzzle loads, you’re
given a set number of Lemmings, a minimum release
rate of the Lemmings, and some objectives to complete… of the Lemmings. The trap door opens and the
Lemmings will start dropping into the level one by one, walking endlessly back and forth until you tell them otherwise, or they run into an obstacle. Yes, they’re based on that old
myth of Lemmings being suicidal, which was created by Disney. Look it up. It’s not real. The entire goal here is to make sure the proper percentage of stupid Lemmings reach the exit before running out of time. The levels are composed of materials that are both destructible and indestructible, and filled with obstacles and booby traps. I said booby… And unless you just want to
use a joystick or keyboard, you’ll use the mouse
to look around the level and accomplish your goal by using 12 buttons along
the bottom of the screen. You can change the rate of Lemmings
falling from the entrance door, assign a limited number
of roles to the Lemmings, pause the game, and nuke the level. For the different skills,
you’ve got climbers that can climb certain vertical walls; floaters, that are not things of poop– they use umbrellas to parachute
straight down from perilous heights; bombers, not associated with al-Qaeda, that will explode after five seconds; blockers, that prevent other
Lemmings from passing by; builders, that build stairways
composed of twelve bricks until they meet an obstacle; and bashers, miners and diggers, which dig through certain materials horizontally, diagonally-downwards, and straight-downwards, respectively. You’re only given a limited number of
each of these roles or skills for each level, and that is the entire strategy element of the game. Learning the small tricks
and quirks of each of these is essential for progressing through the game. If you don’t utilize these properly, a Lemming may die
from falling a certain height, drowning, burning in lava, falling off the edge of the
screen, getting stuck in a pit, or getting violently mamed by any number of evil and awesome traps. Lose enough Lemmings or run out of time and it will be impossible
to continue to the next level You’ll be seeing a variety of
sweet level designs along the way, from underground to snow
to hellish landscapes. To references to other Psygnosis games like Shadow of the Beast, Menace, and Awesome. But no matter the look of the level,
the gameplay remains the same: assign skills and don’t let the Lemmings die. Pretty simple stuff, and it’s the simplicity that makes the
game so approachable and so timeless. But it’s the incredible
challenge of the later levels that makes it so incredibly addictive. At least if you like logical puzzle games. And if you don’t, Lemmings will
probably drive you up the wall really fast, making you want to use
the nuke button on yourself. Another thing that may drive you
crazy pretty quickly is the music, which is catchy in the worst way possible. You’ll hear the same tunes over and over and over again, and it almost feels like the game is
taunting you with the millionth play of “London Bridge Is Falling Down” or whatever. That and some of the puzzles
are just downright mean. I mentioned the quirks you’ll have to deal with, and a good portion of that
stems from the necessity of pixel-perfect Lemming placement. If you pause the game,
you can’t apply any skills, so you have to do it all in real time. And it’s incredibly annoying to be a
single pixel off from completing a level, or running out of time due to
trying to get that perfect placement. Of course, once you do figure it out, it’s just a matter of replaying
the level and doing it properly, so the annoyance is short-lived. Heh. Well, at least until you get about three-
quarters of the way through the game, where the levels get so
freaking stupidly difficult that I usually give up and
resort to a strategy guide. This kills the puzzle enjoyment for me. So I see no point in playing after that. However, once you get sick of this one, there’s also an expansion
for the original game called Oh No! More Lemmings. It was released as both a standalone game or as an add-on to the original game, which is noted by this little
sticker in the corner here. It includes 100 more levels divided into groups titled Tame, Crazy, Wild, Wicked and Havoc. And yes, those last couple are absolutely… uh, wicked and havocky. Brutal, that is, and only for the hardest of
hardcore Lemmings players. In fact, many of the levels only have one way to complete them, due to a smaller skill quota, which really ups the challenge. You do get a welcome
amount of variety here, though, with each of the levels being unique. Unlike the original game, which
included some levels multiple times in different degrees of difficulty. Another thing worth noting really quick is that there really is no one
definitive version of Lemmings, as the DOS version is…
actually kind of crappy. And don’t get me wrong,
it’s not the worst port, and it’s still a great game, but I am mostly playing it for nostalgia. And there are plenty of other ports out there, and with these came all sorts of tweaks. I’m only gonna cover a couple notable ones here, starting with the original Amiga version. This is probably the best of
the early versions of the game, not only for its superior
graphics and sound, but also for its addition of a
two-player split-screen mode. Each player can use their own mouse
to solve unique two-player puzzles, which makes for some
absolutely brilliant gameplay, and makes you want
to kill your friends. The Atari ST, Sega Mega Drive
and Super Nintendo versions also have two-player modes, but I would still go with the Amiga
version, if you have the option. Also worth noting is Lemmings for Windows, where you get Oh No! More
Lemmings included with it, new sounds, an easy-
to-use level select menu, and the addition of a fast-
forward button to speed things up, when you’re just impatiently waiting
for the Lemmings to do their thing. Of course, there are a number
of other worthwhile ports for systems like the Macintosh, PlayStation, 3DO and even one for the Sinclair Spectrum, which is surprisingly pretty decent. Not to mention a slew of
sequels, spin-offs, remakes. Honestly, if you come across any of the
versions of the original Lemmings, I’d pick it up. It’s just an awesome puzzle game, and remains quite unique to this day. Even if some of the levels
get downright frustrating, and the appeal of the game diminishes
greatly after you complete it once, it’s always fun to nuke a
level and watch them explode into bright and cheery pixels. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned
from all my years of gaming, is that pointless, pixelated violence is the best kind. [Lemmings screeching] [cheery MIDI music plays]

100 thoughts on “LGR – Lemmings – DOS PC Game Review”

  1. Lemmings 2 the tribes was the best game of the series. The most recent fun Lemmings clone is… "Clones" ;p to be found on Steam 😉

  2. I've never played this game, but I played Mario vs Donkey Kong 2, which is a pretty similar game to this one; moreover, it must be based in this game!

  3. the nozzle is now calibrating please do not look away from the nozzle

  4. The soundtrack for the Lemmings is burnt into my brain so badly that I sometimes hear it when I sleep. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and all I can hear is that first level theme over and over. I actually think that warning at the front of the box isn't a joke.

  5. I liked lemmings for the snes.. at least you had an objective to get them all to the middle level in that one.

  6. I love this frustrating logic game.

    One good way to relieve the tension this game provides is to play Tetris.

  7. I first played it on the Amstrad CPC 464 and then the Commodore C64 version whilst not the best versions they do hold some fond memories of being infuriated but at the same time glued to the game 😛

  8. I remember playing Lemmings Real Life in middle school with friends. I think i'll go see them in the graveyard tomorrow.

  9. Wow, how did I forget this game? It was the first game that I ever hated. Their stupid lemming faces…

  10. One of my all-time favorite games. X-Mas Lemmings is also nice. I dunno if there was a PC version. I loved the music (on Amiga).

  11. Gotta get the PS1 version, great graphics, higher quality sound, and includes "Oh No! More Lemmings!", and it even has trash controls! 😀

  12. Saw Lemmings, instantly thought it had something to do with early Ubisoft or Rayman. A bit disappointed

  13. I played this for hours on the Sega Game Gear. In retrospect if I tried now the controls would probably drive me nuts but at the time I didn't care.

  14. One level that I'll never forget it "I have a cunning plan". Not just because I love Blackadder, but my father and I got stuck on that one for ages.

    I also remember some of the level codes from the Acorn Archimedes version, since they were short phrases. Sometimes, you could even guess them, as they'd follow certain patterns.

  15. Used to live next to the old DMA offices in Dundee, the city has little Lemmings statues around the city to honor the game, DMA and Dundee's gaming history. 🙂

  16. I've only played it on the Amiga, with the most impressive music ever. I've just seen, that they made a Commodore 64 version. And the retro geek in me, almost cries tears of joy hearing what they squezed out of that amazing SID chip.

  17. Have this game on super nintendo. Was my favorite as a kid and my favorite part was when you blew a lemming up they'd say "oh no!" Grab their heads and poof. Lol

  18. Still got Lemmings in my shelf. Well Lemmings Paintball but Lemmings is in their aswell, i guess it was bundled? A later version obviously but a good one 🙂

  19. Wouldn't it be cool if, in the next GTA game, they mentioned Lemmings and revealed it was a kid's show in the GTA universe?

  20. Sometimes I think to play this again… but then I am like… its just nostalgia.

    It was a great game.

    (After typing this I am seriusly thinking on installing it LOL)

  21. The first time I ever touched a computer was to play Lemmings. It was in the school classroom in the late 80s (the only computer in the school back then) and I think it was an Amiga.

  22. My QA company did the testing on this (and the sequel) and I wrote the strategy guide for it (which is an interesting story in itself). I'll never, ever forget the music as it was burned into my brain from all the time spent with it.

  23. As well as a bunch of others youve reviewed. I saw you have mechwarrior 2 but cannot find a video on it in your collection… was my favorite growing up. Would be curious to see it again

  24. It was so freaking difficult! Despite vigorous attempts, I never managed to make it through the last 20 levels when I played it as a kid. This is probably why it still holds a kind of magic for me. You really have to be made of special stuff to unlock the whole of it.

  25. watching in 2019 this was one of my first games back when i turned my computer on and it said c: im 32 and now i paly it on my iphone

  26. I was addicted to this game as a teenager. I even downloaded the DOS level editor Lemedit, made my own levels and shared them on the forums. Good nerdy times!

  27. So disappointed that the current version of lemmings available has been ‘modernised’ , eg buy more skill buy more lives. I miss the days when you bought a game and could play it through from start to finish without needing a subscription, mystery egg, jewels or coins and an advert between every level and menu screen.

  28. This is one of the first games I remember my older brothers playing. We only had the original DOS version. They had a notebook full of codes for almost every level all the way through mayhem! To this day I just play a piece of the soundtrack and they just about fall over from the wave of nostalgia lol

  29. Lol back in elementary school I was called into school consoling for “violent behavior “ and the consoler let me play this on her pc haha

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