Written by  :  Martin Smith (66828)
Written on  :  Sep 09, 2004
Platform  :  ZX Spectrum
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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A real achievement and a great conversion, despite a few compromises

The Good

Much to everyone's surprise, Pysgnosis succeeded in converting the innovative puzzle game to the Spectrum. The basic gameplay (guiding the Lemmings through levels by assigning them skills such as climbing, blocking and building) survived the transition intact, making for a challenging and well-designed game, with strategic scope beyond most Spectrum releases. There are 60 levels, which is still enough to be a lasting challenge, and they've been re-ordered so as to gradually get harder (bearing in mind that minute differences in the implementation affect the difficulty of a few levels).

The Bad

As the Spectrum is probably the least powerful system the game was released for (although, due to the C64's limited number of sprites, and general dependency on these, it was actually a more viable option than the latter port, which was done some years later), not everything survived the translation. Other than the reduced number of levels, the various music is gone and the colour is gone from the graphics (unavoidable, but adds to the problem of selecting the right Lemming from a crowd occasionally - although the ability to 'lock' the cursor on a particular Lem is a great help)

The loading times for each level can be a drag, especially as 48K systems need to manually reload each level's starting state if you failed it.

The Bottom Line

While this clearly isn't the best version of Lemmings, it represents an impressive technical achievement. It would've been all-too-easy for Psygnosis to to a slapdash rush job, knowing that they were unlikely to release for the system again so their reputation wouldn't be greatly damaged, but instead they went to town on recreating the game as well as they could. To be honest, if the original Amiga version had only 60 levels, no in-game music and simplified (though obviously not monochrome) graphics, I doubt anyone would've loved it any less. Basically, it's a game so good everyone except Tomer Gobel likes it, and one of the great Spectrum conversions.