Well, it's Lemmings basically, isn't it? Oh, that won't do, will it? No, of course not. Let's start again...
Right, for the two of you who have spent your last 2-3 years living down a hole for a bit of a laugh, here's the basic plot:: You start off with a certain amount of lemmings; the idea being to get them from the trap-door (usually positioned to the left of the level) to the exit somewhere else in the level. (Note that on some levels, there can be multiple trap-doors and exit positions.) Having achieved that, you're onto the next level. Each individual level requires you to rescue a certain percentage of these lems; failing that, you can try again. One problem - lemmings are the most stupid things you could come across - they walk about with no sense of direction, and will happily fall into swamps at will.
This is where you come in; simply (although not simple) guide the lemmings to the exit using a variety of skills. The skills being:
Allows a normal lem to climb steep walls until he bashes his head and falls back down.
Best combined with climbers, the floater (in the form of an umbrella) gives a lemming the ability to fall from a great distance without actually 'getting' hurt. Use them sparingly.
Blows up the lemming of your choice. Especially handy for getting rid of those blockers once you don't want them any more. (That is, the lemming does his job properly and gets blown up as a reward.)
Useful for keeping a whole load of lemmings from falling into water etc., the blocker also helps to keep a whole batch of lems back, enabling a single lemming to go on ahead and plan the route.
Builds a bridge (but only a short one)
over gaps 'n' traps. You may have to use more than one for a larger hole.
Digs horizontally through almost any wall (except metal); er, and that's it.
Like the basher, only digs diagonally instead of horizontally.
Digs vertically (but only downwards). Don't dig too far down though - the lems can only withstand a certain height.
The big thing. Press on this and watch those lems explode into colourful fire-works.
Fine, that's the idea, but how does the game play then? Very well, thank-you-very-much. Lemmings has always been one of those games that you can just pick up and carry on
from where you had previously left off. The first few levels are no problem at all and will allow newcomers the chance to build up their skills. Later levels, however, are really devious - great skill and thinking required.
Lemmings started off on the Amiga and shortly after its release became a great success; but exactly how well has it converted? Personally, I find the Amiga version is the better of the two. That's not me being biased or anything, it's just that, well... it doesn't feel the same any more. One of the major losses are the brilliant sound-tracks of the original - on the SNES, the soundtracks sound more tinny and incomplete; you'll still find yourself humming along to them, but not as much as you would with the Amiga version. The scrolling is also jerky - the screen judders quite a bit when you scroll the screen around, and blowing up the lemmings causes slow-down. This was also a fault of the original, but it's worse here. It seems inevitable that the SNES' processor can't cope that well with loads of small sprites dotted around the place. (Hopefully, when programmers get to grips with the new Super FX chip, slow-down will be a thing
of the past.)
Again, it's probably just me, but the control system seems fiddly - Lemmings was always a game that was suited to mouse, and the joypad doesn't seem adequate for the job. Sunsoft have to be congratulated for trying their very best, utilising all the buttons of the joypad, but accuracy is lost when the cursor goes flying all over the place.
Anyway, that's enough moaning, the SNES version does better the original in a couple of ways at least. There are now more levels than the original, under the name of 'Sunsoft'. There are also short animation sequences added in for good measure in-between the various skill levels. There's even a brand new intro-sequence which you'll watch a few times. Oh, and there are a couple of extra ditties played when you complete a level etc.. A slight fault of the original was the lemmings panel displayed at the bottom of the screen - the lemmings were too small and lacked detail; so, for beginners, it was hard to tell the difference between (say) a blocker and a basher. Now though, there's no such problem - the lemming icons look bold, crisp and clear. So it's not all bad news for those of you who have just bought your spanking new Super Nintendo.
The main problem is that the novelty has worn off slightly since its original release. Oh No! More Lemmings and Lemmings 2 are available for the original Amiga and now it just seems that the original Lemmings is past its sell-by date. I hear that Lemmings 2 could easily make it to the SNES, so you may be wise waiting for that. However, there's no way at all you could say that Lemmings is a bad buy. The extra levels add to the lastability, and it's still as compulsive as it ever was (bar the control method). All the original features have been retained and everything's as playable and fun as it should be. As I've already mentioned, I prefer the Amiga version, but that certainly shouldn't put you off purchasing the Super Nintendo version if you've never played Lemmings before. There are plenty of traps, puzzles and hidden extras to keep you at it for a long, long time, so strong lastability is guaranteed.
Here then (For space reasons, perhaps? - Reader), are reasons to buy Lemmings:
1: It's fun
2: It's got the perfect difficulty level
3: It has many levels
4: The balance of luck, skill and brain-work is great.
5: The 'Oh No' cry is a laff
6: There's tons of sprite rotation, scaling, parallax and other doozy effects sure to surprise you.
And here are some reasons to think about before buying Lemmings :
1: The previous (5th) reason to buy Lemmings was a lie
2: It's not quite as good as the Amiga original
3: It's jerky and can slow down sometimes
4: It can be very frustrating at times (block all windows)
So there you have it... Lemmings is a great little game; it's fun, taxing, and 'has' tons of challenge and lastability.
But (of course) the best thing about the game is the opportunity to blow up all the lemmings on screen, resulting in a mass of fireworks - hurrah!
Lemmings has appeared on (deep breath) the Amiga, SNES, ST, PC, Macintosh, GameBoy, MegaDrive, GameGear, Lynx, NES, Master System and even the Spectrum (hey, hey!).