Lemmings was originally developed for the Amiga, the successor to the Commodore 64. Naturally, since I didn't own an Amiga, I wasn't able to play Lemmings on the system that it originated. Thankfully, much like Street Fighter II, Lemmings was ported to nearly every home console that existed, including the SNES, which was the version I played.
In the summer of 1992, my family and I took one of our routine trips to Blockbuster Video. Looking through the selection of SNES games to rent, we saw Lemmings staring right back at us. The funny cartoonish designs appealed to me so we took it home. Like most games that were rented back in the day, some fool(s) that rented it before we did lost the instruction booklet so we didn't know what was what. See we were used to platformers and fighting games. Up until this point, we hadn't touched a strategy title so to us, trying to play Lemmings was like being in a foreign country and not understanding a word the residents are saying. For a time we couldn't even get past the first stage and I was very distraught. I felt like I picked a sucky rental because we had no idea what we were doing. $4.26 down the drain. But after fiddling around, we accessed the Digger, who promptly dug a hole to the exit, taking all of the other Lemmings with him. With the first stage complete, everything made sense. The goal of this game wasn't to save the princess or pound the crap out of some evil dictator. In each stage, the overall goal was the same: get the lemmings to the exit. The method of reaching the goal, however, was different in each stage. Simply knowing how to play a new type of game filled us with excitement and I was no longer disappointed in myself for choosing Lemmings as our rental game for the weekend.
|You haven't lived until you've heard "Oh no!" and "Poppoppoppop!"|
The first dozen levels weren't really that hard but around level 20 or so, the game got hard. I mean really hard. It got to a point where I thought there was no way some of these stages could be passed. That maybe Sunsoft sent the game out incomplete. Did the the designers make a mistake? Turns out they didn't. These were just some truly brain teasing stages.
Another thing that made Lemmings so much fun was the music. A good chunk of the songs heard in Lemmings were renditions of classical music. The very first level I played featured "The Cancan". Another level featured "Long Bridge is Falling Down" and another played "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain." The original music was also quite nice. I especially loved Stage Theme 3, Stage Theme 4, and Stage Theme 13. I feel bad pointing out select songs, because the entire soundtrack to Lemmings is pure awesome.
When I bought the game in my mid teens I still wasn't able to pass the later stages and this was just on the easiest difficulty. If I couldn't pass a harder stage, I'd just dump all the lemmings out at once, hit the Nuke button, hear the chorus of "Oh No!" and watch them blow up, reshaping the very land that they stood on. A good friend and I stayed up for hours one night playing this game and when it got too challenging, we'd just kill the lemmings again and again. Man, those were some good times. Even though I couldn't pass the later levels, Lemmings is still a game I would return to without hesitation.