Lemmings

aka: Ha-Namlulim, Lemmings 1
Moby ID: 683

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 87% (based on 84 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 452 ratings with 11 reviews)

A timeless masterpiece

The Good
Lemmings is puzzle game with a hint of real-time strategy, and was one of both the most successful and most innovative titles of the early 90s.

The goal of the game is to lead a group of mindless lemmings safely to the exit in each of the 120 levels. The lemmings enter the level by falling through a trap door, and will stoically march onwards, whatever lies in their way. They change direction if they walk into an obstacle, but they won't stop from traps, fire, pits and falls from deadly heights, for example. To make sure the lemmings reach the exit, there is a number of tasks the player can apply to the lemmings. This includes digging in different directions, building a stairway, playing "blocker" to repel other lemmings or even making a lemming blow up itself. All the tasks must be used at the right time and place to create a path to exit for the lemmings. However, there is always a limited number of times you may use these functions, so you need to use them carefully. To make matters more complicated, there is also a time limit and a given minimum number of lemmings to be saved.

While the graphics are just average all in all (see below), I want to point out that the animation of the lemmings is superb. All of their movements are funny or cute to look, and the game is splendid example of you can do with just a few pixels and colours.

The game has a really ease to use mouse interface. The bottom of the screen shows all available tasks for the lemmings, and the number of them left. You just mark the task of your choice and then click on a lemming to perform it. You can pause the game to plan your strategy with another button, and you may adjust the drop-out rate for the lemmings (though cannot go below the starting rate). Finally, you can "nuke" the level by letting all remaining lemmings explode at once. All levels can be accessed via a password system.

Like with most puzzle games, the gameplay is the program's strongest point by far. As with Lemmings, the fun and addictiveness can even compare to Tetris. The designers did not only frame a great concept, but they also created excellent levels. While the later levels are really hard and can be quite frustrating, the motivation and the addictiveness are always very high. The designers also did a good job with introducing the different skills and game mechanics in the earlier levels.

The Bad
The game is surprisingly flawless and perfected (many other games don't reach this state in the third sequel), so there is not really that much to complain about. As I already hinted at, the presentation of the game is not very outstanding. The environments are colourful and look okay, but are no highlight as well. The music contains some nice, cheerful tunes, but they can get a bit tiresome over the time. You can also mention that the game is focussed on the actual gameplay in the sense that you do not have any introduction sequences, cut-scenes or bonuses, you "just" play the levels. Though it is questionable how much a game like Lemmings needs such things.

Apart from these minor issues, the only problem might be the strict minimum number of Lemmings to save in each level. If you really play the game all by yourself, and do not look up the codes in a book, magazine or nowadays the internet, then you are in danger of being forced to play a level over and over again, because you could save enough Lemmings, even if you know exactly how to solve the level. After numerous repetitions it can be really frustrating to notice that the lemming, which has just fallen to its, was just enough to render the current trial futile. However, the game is far too addictive to let go on it in the long run.

The Bottom Line
I would call Lemmings nothing less then a timeless masterpiece. It has got a great idea behind it, and the execution was so well done that the gameplay has easily passed the test of time. It's an addictive, original and brilliant game that is just as much fun as it used to be in 1991.

DOS · by Riemann80 (19283) · 2011

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

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 (81666) · 2004

Enthralling gameplay, a real gem

The Good
The variety of lemmings at your disposal is just right -- not too many, not too few. Just when you've gotten into a habit of sacrificing the little dudes, along comes a level where you've gotta save 90% or more of them. There are hundreds of levels but amazingly, the game never gets tedious, as there's enough variety of different challenges to keep you interested.

The Bad
There's literally nothing to dislike about Lemmings. As close as I can figure, it's a perfect game.

The Bottom Line
A masterpiece of rich, compelling gameplay, great use of colors, cute little animations, and fun happy music. A must play for anyone who calls themselves and old-school gamer.

SNES · by Chris Wright (85) · 2007

Oh, so addictive.

The Good
Lemmings is a very addictive game, in which you try to prevent the little things from getting killed by a level hazard. You win the level if you make the amount needed get to the exit. To help you are several actions you can assign your lemmings like digging, umbrella parachute. Overall, a good strategy puzzle game; Lemmings is a classic.

The Bad
Eventually get boring after awhile, but you'll come back to it. Also, why are the lemmings so fragging stupid?

The Bottom Line
Follow-the-leader type of puzzle strategy game; you guide the lemming safely through the levels or you lose. Simple as that.

DOS · by Dragoon (106) · 2000

Just one more level...

The Good
Lemmings was fun. This entire review can be summed up into that one sentence. From the moment I heard the wacky "Let's go!", to the last "Yippee!!", I was enthralled, pumped to the limit, and generally addicted to these tiny green creatures bobbing around my screen.

The puzzles ranged from mind-numbingly easy to "kill-me-now" impossible, but the fun was always there. Some require lateral thinking, others perfect timing, still others a stunning combination of both. Be careful to switch off the music if you plan to spend time on this one...

The Bad
The soundtrack, although funky, got too much after a while. Oh, and those damn lemmings never thought to look before walking off that cliff!

The Bottom Line
Fun, fun, fun. The type of game that you'd open when you had nothing to do, or a couple of minutes to idle away.

DOS · by Stephen M (20) · 2006

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

Super cool little strategy game...

The Good
First game like it that I played. Pretty addicting gameplay. Its pace was perfect, as per difficulty, and who doesn't love to push that little suicidal self-destruct button, followed by a comical barrage of "Oh no!" as they all blow up.

The Bad
The learning curve can get pretty frustrating at times, but its also what makes it a really good game.

The Bottom Line
A great puzzle-game. You'll be playing this one for hours. Variation in levels and play is good, and the pace is just right to lure you in with.

NES · by Cormana6868 (12) · 2004

It's Lemmings on the CDTV

The Good
Exactly the same as the Amiga 500 version

The Bad
Exactly the same as the Amiga 500 version

The Bottom Line
If you only have a CDTV and not an Amiga 500 This is as good as it.

CDTV · by Sic Coyote (47) · 2024

Great.... up to a point

The Good
Psygnosis found wonderful ways to be creative with their little puzzle construction set called Lemmings (and its successors). I determined this was going to be the first game I actually finished (I don't usually stay with a given game very long). As I recall, I stalled out somewhere around level 64, where I hit a puzzle I just couldn't handle. A year later, I saw a strat book in a bookseller with the secrets to all the puzzles. I grabbed it and looked up my problem level. The book commented that this was the game's real stumper, where most people ran out of steam. Well - I object on principle to a game that has a stumper you can't get beyond. I figure I paid for all 100 levels, and I got cheated out of the last third of them. More modern games provide ways around "impossible" levels or situations, but Lemmings had no safety net. And that's the only strike I have against it.

The Bad
Well, I guess I said my peace, above.

The Bottom Line
Addictive puzzler with wacky mammals

DOS · by Professor (105) · 2002

I got tired of this one really fast.

The Good
It is an interesting game, original and practically reinvented puzzle solving. It was also Psygnosis' first real break out of the Amiga platform, which is noteworthy as the company evolved and is, as far as I know, still in existance.

The puzzles are varied and mostly interesting. The characters are cute and well drawn, the music is excellent and the sound effects are weird (which is a good thing). What could possibly be wrong with this game?

The Bad
Well, aside from a myriad of sequels (I can name at least 3), the game is simply tiresome. 120 puzzles? Is anyone in this universe truly insane enough to complete this game? I got tired of it before reaching 50!
If you intend on completing this game you had better be damn well armed with infinate patience. You'll need it.

Oh yes, and I really hate lemmings, now that I've played this game more than I could possibly take.

The Bottom Line
A cute and original puzzle game, but really tiresome.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4538) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Martin Smith, Tim Janssen, S Olafsson, Terok Nor, Pseudo_Intellectual, Crawly, Jo ST, Tomas Pettersson, Patrick Bregger, RhYnoECfnW, Alsy, Stelios Kanitsakis, Hello X), SlyDante, Narushima, Ritchardo, Kabushi, lights out party, Wizo, Bozzly, Scaryfun, Alaka, RetroArchives.fr, Riemann80, xPafcio, Lukasz Bur, Kic'N, Mr Almond, Jacek Grzondziel, Omnosto, Joakim Kihlman, Alex Fest, FatherJack, firefang9212, Alaedrain, Sun King, Kayburt, Gustavo Henrique dos Santos, Apogee IV, A H, vedder, Sebastian Sponsel, chirinea, mailmanppa, ZeTomes.