For the uninitiated, this game is a total blast and highly addictive. It is similar in overall tone (IMO) as the classic Loderunner. Except you aren't trying to solve level puzzles to avoid bad guys - you're solving level puzzles to avoid dying
. The graphics are pretty good, and the music and sound is as well. But the magic of this game is the concept and level design. To that end, the concept has been repackaged and copied by even the "big boys" (see: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
for a more modern example of concept theft, even though it is very fun, too).
is a shining example of a game that was created on the Amiga, for the Amiga, which became a giant global success beyond the platform's lifetime.
Want proof DMA Design loved the Amiga? Check out the screenshot below of the boing-ball hot air balloon.
Review from Amiga World magazine's July, 1992, issue by Dodson Yaple:
Lemmings are odoriferous arctic rodents notorious for periodic mass suicide. You’d think that would rule out computer-game stardom. But no—Psygnosis craftily transformed the mean-tempered ice-rats into lovable Pillsbury Doughboys with green hair and 78-rpm voices. These little guys are so darn cute you just can’t help wanting to save them from self-destruction. That’s where your problems begin.
Lemmings ($44.99) looks like an arcade game, but it’s more a series of puzzles: Save a specified number of the cuddly creatures within a given time limit, or else repeat the level. You manage the action by bestowing various skills on individual lemmings, enabling them to construct bridges and tunnels that divert their less-gifted buddies to safety.
Icons across the bottom of the screen represent the skills at your disposal: climbing, parachuting, traffic control, bridge building, demolition, and three kinds of digging. Select a skill, then click on the desired rodent, and that lemming will do as you command. The others, however, will cheerfully plunge to their doom at every opportunity. When so many of the contrary little vermin have reached room temperature that you can no longer succeed, you have to reset with the apocalyptic Nuke ‘Em option and try again.
Lemmings graphics and sound are polished, but unambitious. What it lacks in flash, however, it makes up for in comfort: Smooth and addictive, it includes a fast restart option, instant access to any level you’ve already seen, and a nifty two-player mode with 20 levels of its own. The program detects and uses extra memory. It recognizes an external drive and minimizes disk-swapping on single-drive systems. The only rough edge is the DOS-based copy protection.
To make sure you experience plenty of stress and frustration, Lemmings increasingly restricts your use of the most helpful skills. The screens get so tough that you think there must be design flaws. Goofy music drones on relentlessly, subtly lowering your intelligence. By level 50, you’re considering suicide yourself…and level 51.