Oh No!

Oh No! More......Lemmings logo Gamer Gold

PSYGNOSIS * £24.99 standalone/£19.99 data disk * meg * mouse * out now

Never has a game been so aptly titled. Barely has the world settled down and stopped wibbling over the software phenomenon that was Lemmings, than Psygnosis release further 100 levels. New traps, new layouts, new strategies. And again, the world puts on a blue jumpsuit and goes "Wibble".

Well, to get this out of the way, this is not Lemmings 2. Not in any way, shape or form. No no Nanette. It's merely another 100 levels for the original. There's no new lemming skills, no new sprites or anything like that. It's only to keep you knee-deep in Lems until the proper Lemmings 2 and the Lemmings Construction Kit are ready. They just won't let it lie, will they?

Now I'm sorry about this next bit, but there's always the faint chance that there's someone out there who doesn't know what all this Lemmings palaver is about. So I'm going to have to explain it all again aren't I?

OK, you have to make sure that a certain number of lemmings make it from one end of the level to the other without falling foul of traps, pits and their own crass stupidity. You see, lemmings have slightly less intelligence than a small pile of mung beans. They're utter twonks.
You, the gorgeous gamesplayer, can help them overcome this natural intellectual bypass by endowing individual lems with special powers. These powers allow them to dig, climb, build bridges, block, float and explode. You will, however, only have a set number of powers that you can bestow per level. For instance, the way forward might seem obvious if you had some bridge builders, but the chances are you won't and you'll have to think your way around the problem. I know all of this is almost written in computer folklore, but some people seem to have spent the last few years hiding behind the sofa when it comes to games.

So, these new levels. What are they like? Well, they're good. It's a bit like finding out that they've just made a whole new series of The A Team. More of the same, but just what you were waiting for anyway.

We were a bit stuck to begin with as we were having trouble getting past the Tame levels (it's not "Fun" anymore, it's "Tame"), but then out of the blue came a letter from Robert Phelps in Stroud. Good ol' Bob had sent us all 100 level codes. Staggering, or what? The flamin' thing hadn't been on sale five minutes and he'd done the lot! A right smarty boots and no mistake! So, thanks to Robert we were able to have a good look at any level we wanted. And they're all cracking.

The Tame levels are, as you can guess, fairly tame. Yes, I had trouble with them but then I never was any good at the original. These levels can be breezed through by yer average Lemmings supremo, and so they're best for people who've bought the standalone version and don't know what they're doing yet.

After that, things get harder and some of the levels are destined to go down in history as complete bar stewards of our time. The Superlemming level, for instance, looks really easy but the timing needed is phenomenal. Scary stuff. And the others pose similar seemingly impossible tasks that kept us from the pub for many lunchtimes. Well, almost. There's not much else to say, really. If you're a Lemmings fan then this is just the thing to keep you awake until God knows when, and if you've never played Lemmings then you've got two options. Either buy the original and this as a data disk, or just buy these 100 levels as a standalone version.

My only reservation is that the price is perhaps a bit much for a data disk, but I guess Lemmings addicts will go to any expense for more of those green haired japesters.
A worthwhile addition.


Oh No! More......Lemmings logo

There can't be many Amiga owners that don't know about the Lemming phenomenon. At Amiga Format we first heard of them when Psygnosis approached us about putting a demo of their latest puzzle game on the Christmas Coverdisk in 1990. We thought nothing of it until the demo finally arrived, at which point all of the team were instantly hooked! No arcade licence, no film tie-in and no TV cartoon characters were involved, but it went straight to the top of the software charts.

History repeated itself when we were putting together last month's special Christmas issue. We were pleased to find that we were to carry another Lemmings demo, this time a specially constructed set of four festive levels. Sure enough, we were all wasting too much time playing this one as well! But what was the reason behind this silly demo? Well, DMA Design have put together another 100 levels to challenge Lemmings fans on a data disk at the low price of £19.99, with a standalone version available for £25.99.

Let's Go!
The first major difference (apart from the loading screen) is the new level names. Instead of the usual four sets of Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem levels, the 100 new screens are split into five groups of 20 with the names Tame, Crazy, Wild, Wicked and Havoc. On loading the levels it doesn't take long to notice that all the scenery graphics and tunes have been changed. The general style is similar on many of the screens, involving red-brick towers and metallic obstacles, but some of the new scenery is very different. There are, for example, rocky caves with writhing patches of weeds, snowy scenes complete with Swiss-chalet shaped exits and surreal landscapes with mounds of bubble-shaped obstacles to overcome. The music has been improved quite a bit, sounding just as wacky and jolly as ever, but with a more cleanly-produced feel. Well... apart from the one that sounds like the theme tune to the TV show Record Breakers!

Oh No! More Lemmings is primarily geared towards giving established players some more levels to have a go at, and the ensuing puzzles are extremely hard - in fact at times they are ridiculously hard! If the data disk has been aimed at the experienced Lemmings player, then how come the first screens are so easy? Anyone who is worth their lemming-saving salt would be able to this batch in their sleep!

As soon as the game shifts to the Crazy level things starts (and being a tad lucky) they can be completed... eventually!

Oh No!
Working up to the higher levels introduces another problem. The puzzles on the original game had been carefully worked out and tested. But some of the screens on the data disk are so difficult, they give the impression that some of them were completed in a hurry, probably trying to beat the Christmas deadline. This level of complexity unfortunately emphasises some of the game's quirks.

If you dig down a column with a rounded top, then a small overhang is left - even though you were standing right on top of it. It is also possible to get lemmings stuck in the walls when they turn around on bridges, which makes some levels a pain. And think how frustrating it is when you place a Blocker on a hill only to see the other lemmings walk past because both his feet aren't on the ground!

DMA have tried to make the new screens devilishly difficult (apart from the ridiculously easy Tame levels), and this steep difficulty curve coupled with the annoying quibbles make Oh No! More Lemmings a less interesting prospect than it could be.


Nicht preiswert - aber seinen Preis wert!

Oh No! More......Lemmings logo

Oh yes! Selten wurde eine Zusatzdisk von sooo vielen Leuten sooo sehr herbeigesehnt wie diese, jetzt ist es endlich soweit: 100 nigelnagelneue Level voller nigelnagelneuer Gefahren mussen von den selbstmörderischen Wühlern durchwandert werden.

Ganz billig kommt der Spass allerdings nicht, ca. 69,- DM muss man fur das neue Gruppenerlebnis Marke Psygnosis berappen - unseres Wissens der hochste Preis, der je für eine Datadisk verlangt wurde! Dafür braucht man aber auch nur einen Zehner mehr zu investieren, wenn man eine selbständig lauffähige Version haben möchte. In diesem Fall gibt's eine Bootdisk dazu, NICHT aber das ursprüngliche Hauptprogramm mit all seinen Leveln. Nur, damit keine Missverständnisse entstehen...

Doch nun zu den neuen Abenteuern, die hier auf unsere gruppendynamischen Selbstmordkandidaten warten: Der augenfälligste Unterschied gegenüber dem Original besteht in der grafischen Gestaltung der einzelnen Level. Manche spielen in Eislandschaften, andere im Dschungel und wieder andere in vollends exotischen Umgebungen. Der Sound (Musik und das beruhmte "Oh No!") ist primo wie gehabt, auch in punkto Spielablauf ist alles beim alten geblieben (Funktionen, Steuerung, etc.). Aber daran gab es ja auch beim besten Willen nichts zu verbessern!

Interessanter ist da schon, ob die neuen Aufgaben reizvoll genug sind. Sie sind's, die Problemstellungen sind durchwegs herrlich fies und traumhaft tückisch. Dies gilt allerdings nicht so sehr fur den Zwei-Spieler-Modus, bei dem die Herausforderungen nun zwar abwechslungsreicher, aber eigentlich kaum schwieriger als im Hauptprogramm ausgefallen sind.

Fazit: Wenn eine Zusatzdisk jemals ein Muss war, dann diese! Das werden sich die Hersteller wohl auch bei der Preisgestältung gedacht haben. Andererseits habt Ihr bestimmt noch nie so gern zuviel Geld ausgegeben... (mm)


Oh No! More......Lemmings logo

The world's first save-'em-up returns with yet more furry rodents, hell-bent on their own destruction. Oh - indeed - no!

Okay, the four of you who know nothing about Lemmings, the biggest Amiga games phenomenon to date, check out the 'WILDLIFE CONVERSATION - A BEGINNER'S GUIDE' box right now and then come back. Everyone else, you've probably already got a cast-iron opinion of your own on whether you hate or (altogether more likely) love this monstrously popular and successful game, so you aren't likely to be too interested in the minor details of this 'sort-of' follow-up released by Psygnosis one year after the original, and just in time for the Christmas market surge. In that case, why have you bothered to read this far in the first place? Go on, clear off. Right, so who does that leave? (Silence). Oh, just me, is it? Fine.


There hasn't been as much care taken this time around

Well, Stu, Oh No! More Lemmings! comes in two formats, as either a standalone new game or as a data disk containing the same 100 levels but which requires a copy of the original game to run and costs £5 less. The game is exactly the same as before - same graphics, same icons etc - although the music is new, original stuff rather than the nursery rhymes of before. The only real change is that there are now five difficulty ratings instead of four. The same incredibly addictive gameplay that made Lemmings the No.2 game in our All-Time Top 100 is back and ready, all that needs to be said in the way of analysis is that if you liked Lemmings you'll like this. All that's left to explain now is why I haven't given it the kind of mark you'd expect for the second-best Amiga game of all time.

The hair-splitting starts here. Not it's all very well saying this is only a data disk and not a sequel, but I can't help feeling more could have been done to make it different from the first game. Maybe some really imaginative new graphic styles for the levels would have helped - Matt levelled much the same criticisms at Magic Pockets a few months back, and would it really have been so tough to dream up a few different kinds of landscape for the little mammalian anti-heroes to wander through than the same old earth, fire, ice and water stuff you get here? Surely not.

Also, the difficulty curve is all wrong. Think about it - almost every Amiga owner in the country who was around this time last year must have a copy of this game by now, and the new ones will have got it in their Cartoon Classics pack. Making all of the first 20 level embarrassingly easy, then, seems like a bit of a waste of memory. Anyone with the slightest grasp of the game mechanics will sail through all of them at the first attempt - there's a dangerous possibility of boredom setting in before it gets interesting. After those, though, (and the first level at the second difficulty setting_ comes a screen so unbelievably evil that it wouldn't be out of place on the very toughest level of the original game. Less of a difficulty curve than a difficulty cliff, this kind of thing shows that there just hasn't been as much care taken over this effort as was the first time around.

DMA have also passed up the chance to right a couple of the flaws present in the original, especially the one which makes it impossible to tell which way a particular lemming is going when there's a whole mass of them milling around and you need to perform a precision move. The over-riding impression (especially when you see the price) is that Psygnosis have - if not exactly rushed it out - certainly held a lot back (presumably many of these changes are being saved for a genuine Lemmings 2, and their real interest here is just to make a killing at Christmas. Sad, perhaps, but it's the way of the world.


WILDLIFE PRESERVATION - A BEGINNER'S GUIDE

If you're new to Lemmings (I can't imagine how you could be, for the reasons mentioned in the main review, but just for the sake of argument), you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, here's what.

Released a year ago, Lemmings was (and is) more or less the most original game concept ever seen on the Amiga. Lots of furry little darlings drop from a trapdoor at the start of each level, and your task is to guide them all safely to the exit. You don't control their movements directly, though, but by the use of a number of icons displayed along the bottom of the screen. Each icon instructs a single lemming to perform a specific action, which normally results in some kind of change to the landscape of the level.

It's not that easy though - all the time you're doing this, the other lemmings are marching around independently, but being lemmings they're oblivious to danger and, if you don't stop them, they'll usually endeavour to get themselves killed by one of the many dangers littered around the screens.

Luckily, by a careful combination of the various effects brought about by the use of the icons, it's possible to alter the layout of each level in such a way that the lems will follow a safe path which will lead them to the exit. To successfully complete a level, you have to rescue a certain percentage of the lemmings in it, within a given time limit, and that's pretty much all there is to it. Of course, it's never as easy as it looks...

LEMMING ENTRIES (1-5)
To the top you'll find the first screen of each of the new game's five difficulty levels.

From near top (and in order of difficulty) we've got 'Tame', 'Crazy', 'Wild', 'Wicked' and 'Havoc' levels - the first screens are all pretty easy, but later on it gets nasty...

Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Tame
The very first screen - it's obviously a doddle, but try experimenting with all those new icons while you're about it...
Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Crazy
...you might be glad you did later on! Not particularly on this screen though - it's fairly easy. Just climb, dig, stop, explode.
Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Wild
Maze-like in structure, experimentation will pay dividends here as you work out the most efficient way to save the critters.
Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Wicked
Don't bother reading this caption - there's a giant annotated version of this exact screen up to the bottom there.
Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Havoc
The first level at the hardest difficulty setting - strange looking, but you're getting little help here, we're going to leave you to puzzle it out for yourselves. (Er, okay then - we'll come clean. We can't actually do it either...)
WICKED LEVEL, SCREEN ONE - LEMMING TOMATO KETCHUP FACILITY!
Oh No! More Lemmings!: Level One on difficulty-level Wicked walkthrough
This screen initially looks like a mean mother, but it's actually not all that tricky.
1. Use a bomber here to create a crater.
2. At some point before the first top-entrance lemming reaches the wall to the right there, make him a climber.
3. Use the second bomber just a few pixels past the first one. This will deepen the crater, making the right-hand wall higher than the left-hand one, making the lemming double back towards the exit.
4. When the climber is just a fraction beyond the undiggable block, turn him into a downward digger.
5. Around this point, use the diagonal-digger icon on the lemming. He will dig into the wall, be blocked, turn back and climb up towards the wall again.
6. When the lemming climbs out of the hole, use the basher icon to make him smash through the wall. Be very quickly, or he'll climb up it and your whole strategy will collapse.

Oh No! More......Lemmings logo

The cuddly class of 'Nuke 'Em High' return for another riotous assault on the senses with (count 'em!) 100 new levels of frustrating puzzles and brain-straining fun. After the runaway success of the first Lemmings game, which never left the charts all year, the inevitable sequel looks set to repeat its predecessor's spectacular success.

The new disk (available as a stand-alone game or a marginally cheaper data disk) has all the addictive ingredients of the first game. Levels range from 'Tame' through to 'Havoc' and feature some ingenious puzzles and traps to tax even the most ardent of Lemmings addicts as you seek to guide your suicidal critters over some pretty arduous assault courses.

There's no denying that Psygnosis and Lemmings creators, DMA Design, have gone all out for value for money, and the 100 levels will keep you busy for a long, long time, but the fact that there's nothing new on offer is a bit disappointing. With work already started on Lemmings 2, I suppose it's understandable that Psygnosis don't want to give too much away with this new offering, but a few more Lemming icons other than the standard diggers and climbers would have been a nice touch. A little more variety in the graphics wouldn't have gone amiss, either, as it all starts to look a bit 'samey' after a while.

As it stands, the first 20 levels of the new game are almost embarrassingly easy to solve and are not even worth playing. Fortunately, the remaining 80 levels offer more challenging puzzles and certainly had me pulling out my hair in frustration more than once. In fact, they're probably a little too hard in places and, if it wasn't for some handy access codes (Yes, I know, I'm nothing but a snivelling cheat), I might have given up on reaching some of the later levels all together! Even when you've sussed how to complete a particularly devious level, it's often a matter of precision timing which sometimes can prove just too pernickety to pull off.

Oh No, More Lemmings is exactly what you'd expect it to be and if you liked the first game then you'll definitely find this to your liking. At />£19.99 the data disk does seem a tad expensive, but it's one game which will certainly bear the test of time. You'll probably still be playing this a year from now!


SUICIDE IS PAINLESS
There can be a few gamesplayers who have not succumbed to Lemmings-mania during the past year, but here's a beginner's guide for those guilty of just such a heinous crime.
The aim of each level is simple: guide a small army of suicidal lemmings across an obstacle-filled screen to the safety of their home. This isn't as easy as it sounds as lots of hidden traps await our hapless friends as well as some mindbogglingly devious puzzles. A minimum number of lemmings have to be rescued each go, and if you don't make the quota you have to play the level again (and again, and again...). Once completed, an access code means you can skip that particular level when you come to play the game again, so write it down and keep it safe...
At the bottom of each screen is a bank of icons. Each icon depicts a lemming performing a different task such as climbing, digging or building. By clicking on the appropriate icon with the mouse pointer and then on a lemming you can make the furry critters do exactly what you want. This is harder than it at first appears, as timing a move is all-important and if you slip up your lemmings will do what comes naturally: hurl themselves off cliffs to their doom! To make matters even worse, there's also a time limit for each level - boy, they sure don't make life easy!