Weekly Flashback: Lemmings
“Smile if you love Lemmings!”
Ah, it feels great to be writing about a game so burned into my skull. Normally I would re-visit an old game before doing a ‘Flashback’ on it – making sure I remember it well enough. Not necessary this time. These little idiots with their green mushroom-cuts were a pretty integral part of my childhood, were fairly consistently referenced by my sister and I. This was probably, in most part, because of the preference my friends and I had at the time for our own hair to be cut into mushrooms.
So long as you didn’t have a personal hate for puzzle type games, you would have to be some sort of a damned invalid to not consider Lemmings a true classic. It was made by the company (DMA Design Ltd.) that we now know as Rockstar North (GTA), for god sake. Do you think they fuck around?
Here’s the thing: This game is just entirely great, is like nothing else of its kind. Its uncategorical!
When I first thought of doing a Flashback for Lemmings I sort of dismissed the idea, not really picturing much to write about. It just took a swift boot in the ass by trusty ol’ Davey, in text form, to realize I was wrong. Just the idea of this game is hilarious – its total nonsense.
So here’s a brief explanation of what the fuck a Lemming is:
See the rodent guy above? That’s a real one. Yeah, Lemmings are actual little dudes. So, it used to be a relatively well-known misconception that they committed mass suicide during their migration. In reality, the population of wherever they are becomes too crowded and they migrate, “stretching their physical capability to the limit”, usually with not many survivors.
Misconception, my asscheeks. They’re a godforsaken mini cult. You can tell.
So that explains their robes in the game. Yes, and their identical mushroom haircuts:
In the game you play God, I guess, as an employer of all trades to rodents. Their paycheck is not dying a terrifying death that is disguised as enlightenment. These little creeps are on their way to a mass suicide by any means necessary – be it freefall, drowning or by skull-melting magma. It’s your job to intervene with nature and what seems to be a self-sufficient method of popularity control. What a fuckin’ concept. Its fun as hell to give each guy a different job like digging, tunneling, carpentering and even exploding his own head for the good of the cult and its survival. You have a time limit and a varying percentage of Lemmings in each level that need to be rescued in order to advance.
Listen: the game rules.
Its pretty funny to see them walk around like complete dolts, obeying all your orders. Sometimes I wish you could be like an asshole foreman or something and tell them with your steel toe that they’re doing piss-poor jobs.
As each new level begins the Lemmings fall out of a mysterious door in the sky into what looks like various mini playhouses of doom. You need to avoid all the deadly outcomes and lead them to a door, ensuring the success of their “migration”.
Here’s an example of what a level looks like:
Sometimes you have one or two dudes left over because you assigned them the job of just standing and blocking other Lemmings from falling off a cliff or something. So, you’re forced into being “that guy” and having to ask them to explode their own brains to smithereens. This is simply because the level doesn’t end until “Every Lemming Is Accounted For!”
Here’s what happens when you hit the button that every Lemming has nightmares about:
You can’t tell, but he really flips out. I mean, he goes off the deep end, yells “Oh no!” and kaboom. He’s toast.
In the immortal words of Wayne’s World:
“Ever see that scene in Scanners when that dude’s head blew up?”
There you have it — the makings of a truly classic video game. Am I right? If you don’t see it, you’re a friggin titty. Ray Charles could see it. Playing through it again more recently (not to the end, it gets impossibly hard) I’ve noticed that Lemmings has the best pacing I’ve ever seen in any puzzle game ever. That sounds goofy as hell, but the way it smartly eases you into how the game will work is perfection.
It also has some of my favorite music in any fourth generation game. A lot of games I’ve played from the era have funny, forgettable, little ditty’s that I could have eventually churned out in highschool computer class, messing with Cubase. That is 100% not the truth, but you get the idea.
Man, I wish I could post an example of how shitty my Cubase songs were. . .
Posted on July 21, 2011, in Editorial, Reviews, Weekly Flashback and tagged 1991, 90's, boobs, cheats, commodore 64, computer game, console, cubase, cult, death, dos, flashback, funny, game review, heaven's gate, hilarious, lemmings, NES, Nintendo, nintendo games, PC, PC games, puzzle, ray charles, reviews, Rockstar, rockstar north, scanners, sex, snes, suicide, sunsoft, tits, wayne's world. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.