Approximate Release Date: March 1, 1992
I’m puzzled by the box art for Lemmings.
For some reason, the designers decided to put a dictionary-style definition for lemmings on the box. But not the dopey looking goofballs in the game – the real-life rodents. And you can tell because the definition calls lemmings “adorable” and “furry,” but there are creatures right next to the text that are very clearly not-adorable and not-furry. But the next paragraph talks about how “they” can’t survive without my help. But lemmings have survived for millions of years without my help! Unless the Lemmings box blurb is talking about the fake-lemmings to the left, but in that case, why talk about real lemmings at all?
I don’t get it.
Anyway, Lemmings is a puzzle game where you order the Lemmings-but-not-lemmings from the entrance to the exit while minimizing casualties by using tools to make a safe path. And you do it to some of the most annoying music yet on the Super Nintendo.
But as a game, it suffers for being an obvious computer port and has a few of the same problems SimCity and Populous had in their 16-bit console ports. But Lemmings has more action and timing elements than those other games, so using the SNES controller’s d-pad to emulate a mouse isn’t a fun experience. I remember later levels being absurdly difficult with this configuration. But to the game’s credit, the difficulty curve here is gentle; the early levels do a good job at teaching how to learn to solve the puzzles without being explicit.
I’m not a fan of the puzzles, though. At the start of each level of Lemmings, you’re given a list of jobs at the bottom of the screen. You select the jobs with Y and X and tag the lemming you want with A. This is tough because lemmings are tiny and the d-pad isn’t quite precise enough to tag individual critters. And once you’ve figured out the puzzle and created a safe path from the entrance to the exit, you then have to wait for the lemmings to slowly stroll into the exit.
The waiting makes Lemmings a chore to play, even considering the imperfect controls. I’ve never liked this game very much even in the Super Nintendo’s heyday, and playing this game again today doesn’t warm me to the game at all.
Tomorrow: I’m pretty sure PGA Tour Golf is the strongest sleep aid you can purchase over the counter.