Lemmings is one of those games that just keeps popping up from time to time to give people who have never experienced the simple yet addicting game a chance to play it, and give the older gaming crowd a little bit of the old nostalgia.

For the three of four of you that haven’t heard of this game, the premise is pretty simple: Lemmings fall through a trap door into a stage filled with various forms of Insta-Death(tm). The Lemmings will march forward, only turning around when they hit something. It’s your job to dole out your compliment of jobs to the Lemmings to create a safe path to the exit door.

It sounds easy enough, and in the beginning it is pretty straightforward. The levels are broken up into four difficulty levels: fun, tricky, taxing, and mayhem. The Super NES version also had an additional difficulty level, Sunsoft, that we’ll get to in a couple of paragraphs.

Fun is pretty easy, almost mind-numbingly so. It introduces you to the game, how the controls work, and what all the different jobs do. You almost have to try and not complete these stages.

Tricky is slightly tougher. You’ll have to learn how to corral your Lemmings and send a lone wolf over to construct the path to the goal.

Taxing starts to ramp up the difficulty. Your allotment of jobs will be smaller than you want, and the Lemmings will begin to find ways to kill themselves almost immediately after landing in the stage. Controllers may get thrown.

Mayhem is just cruel. Your time is shortened even more than Taxing, so you get to work faster. There are paths made of steel that you can’t burrow through and are filled with various Lemming-killing devices that you won’t see until a Lemming is working away and is unceremoniously squished, just half a screen from the goal. A goal which, incidentally, is placed in a place that’s not immediately obviously easy to get to.

And then there’s the Sunsoft levels. Bonus levels created by the team that ported the game to the Super NES. They’re hard, but not quite as hard as the Mayhem levels. Well, except for the very last one. It was hard enough that I decided to call a Nintendo Game Play Counselor after nearly breaking my controller in half. It turns out that the solution is pretty easy once you know what it is, but the extremely short time limit still makes it pretty tough to complete, so I never did.

This game has spawned a number of sequels and spinoffs on almost every computer and game console, but I never played any of them. For me, the Super NES version is the definitive version of Lemmings.

One Response to “Lemmings”

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