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Lemmings

aka: Ha-Namlulim, Lemmings 1
Moby ID: 683
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Description official descriptions

Your task is to rescue the Lemmings across 120 levels of fast-paced puzzling. These creatures simply walk blindly through the world in the hope of reaching safety at the end of the level - unfortunately, these levels include steep drops, gaps in the ground, barriers, and rivers amongst other hazards.

You are in control not of any individual Lemming, but of a cross-hair, which can be moved over any of the Lemmings. Along the bottom is a selection of functions that can be assigned to a Lemming, including climbing, floating, and bashing. You must click to select the appropriate function, then click on the Lemming to activate it. Each level has a different range of skills on offer, a different amount of Lemmings, and a different percentage target in order to progress.

Spellings

  • הנמלולים - Hebrew spelling
  • レミングス - Japanese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

9 People

Programming
Graphics / Artwork
Music
Paintings by
Manual Text by
Printed by
  • Hesketh Data

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 87% (based on 84 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 441 ratings with 10 reviews)

Unique gameplay, fun and addicting.

The Good
I never really liked the later sequels of the game, but the first Lemmings is for sure one of the games I remember best from my Amiga days. It had a very original game idea, very cute graphics and was extremly addicting. I remember having finished all levels until that (spoiler) applaud scene. The level design in general was great, varied and you never got bored of it until you've made it through the last puzzle. And the music... one lovely tune after the other!

The Bad
The PC conversion was disappointing. The nice intro has been left out. The music has lost much of its charm on the AdLib sound-card and the graphics didn't feel right in some way. But I can't think of anything wrong with the game in general.

The Bottom Line
This game has probably been played to death due to far too many sequels. But it sure is a mile-stone in gaming history.

DOS · by Robert Teichmann (415) · 2000

Kept me busy for a couple of weeks.

The Good
Something about it was so addictive. Drew me in over and over again. Got past 3/4ths of the game.

The Bad
kept me up late for the first week :)

The Bottom Line
These cute little critters need help. You can do it.

DOS · by gametrader (208) · 2000

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.

ZX Spectrum · by Martin Smith (81428) · 2004

[ View all 10 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
The heart attack trivia Foxhack (31939) Oct 8th, 2022
Why can't I play Lemmings in CGA? Nowhere Girl (8679) Aug 18th, 2015
Lemmings sculptures in Dundee lilalurl (732) Aug 10th, 2013
Music not working in Lemmings games Nowhere Girl (8679) Apr 30th, 2012
Was this indeed released for Windows 3.x?? Roedie (5221) Oct 21st, 2008

Trivia

666 level

The original Lemmings had a strong edge of macabre imagery in it, perhaps to offset the excessively "cutesy" look and feel of the lemmings themselves. This is particularly prevalent on the "Hell" levels on which the exit portal is a horned pig's head, and especially on level 14 of the "Tricky" difficulty rating (the level title is "MENACING!!") which contains several skeleton limbs hanging from what appears to be dripping blood, and a large skull with a snake crawling through its eye sockets.

Probably most (in)famous of all, however, is level 21 on the "Tricky" difficulty rating, entitled "All the 6's........" and consisting entirely of a playfield which is shaped like the number 666. It also contains a total of 66 lemmings, requires 66% to be saved, provides 66 of each skill, and provides 6 minutes in which to finish. Like many pop culture references to the number 666, this was meant as a joke and wasn't intended as an overt reference to Satanism or anything else of that nature, but the matter was sensitive enough that the "Menacing" and 666 levels were removed from several versions of the game that were released for family-friendly consoles. Another level cut from some versions was "A beast of a level" which may have been removed simply for fear that it was referencing the "Beast" associated with the number 666, although the level title actually references Psygnosis' earlier title Shadow of the Beast.

A webpage by Mike Dailly (founder of DMA Design) documenting the history of DMA explains that the 666 level originated when Mike wanted to make a 5-themed level, but he couldn't get the level to require 55% of the lemmings to be saved without changing the number of lemmings. Then, thinking of the other Hell levels in the game, he thought of 666 and opted to go with that. He also expresses surprise at how strong a reaction the level got, particularly since from his perspective, players are actually rescuing the lemmings from Hell into a better place.

1001 Video Games

Lemmings appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Amiga Power survey

This was the most popular choice when Amiga Power magazine asked a number of famous programmers which Amiga game they wish they'd written and why. Archer MacLean was impressed by its cuteness and attention to detail, while Andy Beveridge said "It's refreshingly different, and fun too... and it's going to make lots of money, I'm sure" - other programmers echoed this final point.

Apple IIGS version

French programming team calling themselves, "Brutal Deluxe" did a 'unofficial' conversion for Apple IIGS computer in 1997, formally known as "Brutal Deluxe's LemminGS". Mainly based on Atari ST version and contains 10 of 92 levels are in the playable demo. Minimum 700Kb free RAM and System 6. Tool 35 (Midi Synth) part of System 6, 4Mb RAM, Accelerator card and hard drive is recommended.

Arcade version

An arcade coin-op version of Lemmings was prototyped by Data East (which mainly makes pinball equipment) in 1991, never to be released. It uses the same levels (occasionally edited to remove various things, more on that later), but has fewer levels. It is played with one trackball, one select button, and one start button for each of 2 players. Some differences in this version include: * The music is slower, the music quality is lower, there are some new songs, and the songs are apparently not finished (in most of the songs, some of the instruments do not play their parts of the song, and in a very few songs only the background rhythm is there and the other instruments do nothing) * The game does not tell you what skills a lemming has when you point at it like most other versions. Lemmings with skills that are not instantly visible (floaters, climbers, etc.) have flashing clothes to set them apart. * A high-pitched Lemming voice gives you hints and comments on your performance. This is apparently not entirely implemented, because it frequently tells you to blow Lemmings up for no good reason. * The time limit in some levels is completely impossible, due to the slow walking speed of the Lemmings. However, if you run out of time, you can put in more quarters to buy more. * Exploding lemmings just sit down and blow up, rather than walking around with a countdown. Therefore, in many levels (notably "Now Use Blockers and Bombers"), the Blockers are available, and the Hint Voice tells you to use them, but they are not needed. * Various references to "heaven" and "hell" were replaced with different things. * The slight goriness of the game has been toned down a bit, and exploding Lemmings do not "splatter". * The button animations are changed so that the debris and bricks in the Basher, Builder, Miner, and Digger match the color of the debris and bricks in the level you are on. * Some level names are changed, including a level now named "The Steel Mines of Kessel" in an apparent reference to the planet Kessel in Star Wars. * The lemmings occasionally go behind the exit when they should go in front. They still "jump" as if they are going in it, and they can be seen through parts of the exit. * The "666" level is not playable, but it is in the game's data ROM. Stored in a location in memory near it is an interesting bunch of text about a conversation between someone at Psygnosis and the VP of Data East relating to the 666 level, the hell references, the "Menacing" level, and an obstacle that appears to pull the skin off the Lemmings. Don't ask me why this is here. Silly programmers. * There are a few levels on difficulty level "Mystery" that are completely new. They're incredibly buggy.

Atari ST version

The software controllable LED of the Atari ST disk drive was used in-game. It blinks when the three last building bricks are used by the bridge builder lemming.

CD32 version

The CD32 version is exactly the same as the CDTV version which is exactly the same as the Amiga500 version.

Copy protection

At least one of the U.S. 3.5" floppy disk releases contained an interesting form of copy protection. In addition to the game randomly asking you on game start-up to insert the 3.5" floppy install disk to verify you have a legitimate copy, the install disk itself was "defective by design". Portions of the disk have an invalid file and/or cluster structure. Running the disk through a disk checking program such as Windows Scandisk will show these errors, but they're all "by design", so it's important that you don't correct them using such a program. Even if you copied the disk using specialized disk copying programs, more often than not, the copy will not be accepted by the game when it asks you to insert the install disk.

References

The level 22 in the Fun difficulty setting, which is named as "A Beast of a Forest" was designed as a tribute to the Psygnosis' big action hit on the Amiga (where Lemmings was original created) - Shadow of the Beast. The graphics used in the level resemble the graphics of the first level of the Beast. This level is different from other levels in Lemmings in its use of music as well -- a MOD track taken directly from the "Shadow of the Beast" is played throughout the level while all other levels in Lemmings use FM music.

As well as level 22 of Fun difficulty setting there are also Psygnosis tribute levels in the other three difficulty categories. Tricky 14 is a tribute to Menace, Taxing 15 is for Awesome and Mayhem 22 is for Shadow of the Beast II.

Terry Pratchett

The author Terry Pratchett claimed that he was so addicted to the game that he forced himself to delete it from his hard drive and even wipe the original disks, as he was so worried about missing deadlines due to playing it too much.

Version differences

All ports contain the 120 standard levels from the Amiga version, with the following exceptions: * The Amiga, Atari ST, SNES and Sega Genesis versions contain additional 20 2-player levels. * The SNES version contains 5 extra levels. * The Genesis version contains 60 of the standard levels and an additional 120 unique levels * The Macintosh version of Lemmings contains a different Tricky 21 level, called "Going their separate ways". This level is much harder than the original "All the 6's". * The Windows 95, Playstation and Gameboy versions all contain fewer levels than the original Amiga version. * Commodore 64 version contains no 2-player levels and there are only 100 of original levels. There is also no level map in the bottom right corner of the screen and specific for "Lemmings" spoken expressions like "Let's go" and "Oh, no". * The ZX Spectrum version has no 2-player mode and contains 60 levels, and no music or samples

Awards

  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (Issue #00) - #2 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #79 “Readers' Top 100”
  • Commodore Format
    • March 1994 (Issue 42) Heaven – The Path to Righteousness: 20 Essential Games
    • November 1994 (Issue 50) – #2 The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1992 (Issue #100) – Action Game of the Year
    • October 1994 (Issue #123) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th Anniversary Issue) - #12 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#14 Funniest Computer Game
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #35 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1992 - Best Computer Game in 1991
    • Issue 02/1992 - Best Dexterity Game in 1991
    • Issue 02/1992 - Best Game Idea in 1991
    • Retro Gamer
      • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #21 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)* ST Format
    • August 1991 (Issue #8) – #9 Top Atari ST Classic Games (Editorial staff vote)
    • January 1993 (issue #42) – #3 in '50 finest Atari ST games of all time' list

Information also contributed by Adam Luoranen; Andrew Grasmeder, Copland-II; Garcia, hydra9, krammer, Martin Smith, PCGamer77, Sciere, Tony Gies, Xantheous and mailmanppa

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Lemmings 2: The Tribes
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The Lemmings Chronicles
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by IJan.

CD-i, 3DO, Game Gear added by Corn Popper. Genesis, SNES added by PCGamer77. Amiga added by Famine3h. Atari ST added by krammer. ZX Spectrum, Amiga CD32, SAM Coupé, CDTV, J2ME, Macintosh added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. SEGA Master System added by Satoshi Kunsai. FM Towns, PC-98, Acorn 32-bit, Sharp X68000 added by Terok Nor. Commodore 64 added by wanax. TurboGrafx CD added by Unicorn Lynx. Game Boy added by quizzley7. Lynx, NES added by Mike Clarke.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Tomer Gabel, Terok Nor, Jeanne, Apogee IV, chirinea, Alaka, Martin Smith, Crawly, phorque, jsbrigo, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Jo ST, FatherJack, twitek, Thomas Fuchs.

Game added January 7th, 2000. Last modified November 29th, 2023.