Ah yes, Lemmings. What can you say about one of the most talked about games (aside from the rather dull Streetfigher II, that is) that there's ever been? Unless you've been lying in a cave for the last two years or so, you'll know all about these lemming things. They're the small pink Scandinavian rodents with green hair, that wear blue sweaters and march about the place with scant regard for their own personal safety. Your job, as you probably well know, is to save them from their own stupidity and return them home unscathed.
The idea of rescuing these irrational creatures never appealed to me before. It just seemed a rather tedious waste of my precious time. But I agreed to give it a go anyway and within five minutes I was completely hooked.
The new 'limited edition' double pack features both the original game and the Oh No!... data disk. So let's deal with them one at a time.
Within five minutes I was completely hooked
Lemmings is great. The learning curve is almost perfect, leading you from easy-peasy 'this is how to play the game' screens, through to the most fiendishly difficult levels without you actually noticing the transition. I have only one slight niggle. For me, the fun is in the solving of the puzzle - working out which of the many different classes of lemming will be needed to build a route to safety for the others. I find the actual digging of tunnels and building of bridges quite tiresome - once I've solved the puzzley bit. I want to do the next one rather than go through all that pointing and clicking.
Oh No! More Lemmings is an altogether different kettle of, er, rodents. As we said in issue 9, the difficulty curve is abysmal. The first 20 levels are so simple, even a lemming could do them. Simple enough, in fact, that anyone who bought the disk as a supplement to the original Lemmings will have felt a little cheated.
Level 21 is quite challenging and I was glad that things were beginning to pick up a bit. At five o'clock, I arrived at level 22. Stuart, who was looking over my shoulder at the time, let out a hearty Gaelic chuckle. "You'll never do the next one," he said. "In fact, if you can do it by six o'clock I'll give you my entire month's wages." His £3.50, sadly, was safe. I'd worked out what I had to do within ten minutes, but it required pixel perfect positioning of my builder lemming and by six I still hadn't managed it. It was the old problem again - the puzzles are fun to solve but getting the wretched creatures out can be a chore, even when you know what you have to do.
If you haven't already, you really should give the little lems a try, though. The double pack gives you the Oh No! extra levels for when you've exhausted the possibilities of the first lot, even if 20 of them are a waste of space. At £29.99 it doesn't represent the best ever value for money - both the games are a bit old now. But there is a free demo of Bill's Tomato Game thrown in, in case you've lost your AP20 coverdisk. (Or something).