"Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!"
Rage Against the Machine, "Killing in the name"
ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: LEMMINGS 2 - THE TRIBES - BY PSYGNOSIS
by Richard Karsmakers
"Er...I think I'm suffering from designer's block."
"Designer's block. You know, like writer's, but for designers."
"Are you a designer then, dear?"
"Yes, didn't you know?"
"I thought you had something to do with computers, dear."
"Yeah. Computer game design. That's what I do. If only you'd..."
"Oh please be silent, I am watching the tele."
"Not another one of those nature documentaries!"
"Yes, dear, you can learn something from watching those."
"It isn't the Gospel Network, is it?"
"And what it if is?"
"Well...you know...they're just indoctrinating us, or trying
"So what? This chap is really quite good, actually."
"Who? David Attenborough?"
"Wasn't this the same dude that gave you that idea a while ago,
"That game idea, I mean. Software game of the year, all kinds of
awards. You know the one. Not 'Beast', but the other."
"Oh, that one."
"About those cuteseys running to and fro all the time."
"Yeah, that one. I know."
"Did you see 'Robin Hood' the other day?"
"What, that Costner thing? No. Was it on then?"
"Yes. And so were 'Superman', 'Ivanhoe' and some more classics."
"Please, darling, I am not in the mood for this kind of stuff."
"I need a good idea, you know. Something like a sequel, but
"'Lemmings II', you mean?"
"Yeah. But not like 'Oh no'. Either a totally souped-up thing or
a totally different game with just as catchy a concept."
"I am glad you do."
"But the other day..."
"Please don't start to me about arrows and supermen and swords.
Next thing you'll begin about pharaohs, skiing, 'Baywatch' and
"Well, dear, we should maybe learn to listen to each other more.
Remember what they said at the marriage consultants just after
your nervous breakdown..."
"I think I've got it."
"What, dear? Would you mind sitting down, you're blocking my
view. I'd rather see David than you the way you are."
"But can't you see?"
"No, I can't. As I said, you are blocking my view."
"What are you babbling about, dear?"
Three times ship's law
Although some people in the scene adamantly claimed it being
technically rather not very excellent, fact remains that
"Lemmings" was (and is) probably the most original computer game
concept ever on any computer. "Pong", "Pacman" and "Breakout"
were great, too, of course, but they were totally outleagued by
the Psygnosis effort. I am sure most of Psygnosis' dosh now comes
from the various "Lemmings" renditions on Super Famicon, Gameboy
and just about any other console or regular computer format.
People who have never been in touch with the game are no real
people - they are just hazy imitations of living beings who
haven't really been through some of the experiences that make
mankind mankind. It can be said that "Lemmings" was to the
computer games industry what "Terminator II" was to he cinema -
in Stefan's words, you have to have seen it or else you haven't
Anyway, Psygnosis did a sequel, "Oh No More Lemmings". It was
basically the same game with different graphics, but rather
excellent nonetheless. It would have been stupid not to get some
extra quality mileage from the proven "Lemmings" concept, so
that's exactly what Psygnosis did. Probably that's one of the
things that got them last year's "Queen's Export Award" (which
they also seem to have got due to the "Shadow of the Beast"
trilogy, even though all of these three games are not playable at
all and I'd not think twice about formatting the disks to be
used for better things).
Well, it's been more than a year since "Oh No" appeared and
those chums at Psygnosis have not been idly watching "The Living
Planet" series to come up with some more concept material.
Instead it seems that they have worked out the orginal concept
somewhat deeper. The result, "Lemmings 2 - The Tribes", is now
finally available for the ST. Both it and "The Chaos Engine"
arrived at my place smack in the middle of my last of five
sophomore exam periods. Their sense of timing was brilliant.
The lemmings now have more human qualities, the graphics are
more varying, and the levels are immensely more frustratring.
It's not the sort of game I would advise to "Lemmings" novices.
Some prior experience is definitely required.
Need I tell you what the original "Lemmings" was about? I guess
not, but I'll do so anyway. I'll make it short.
Lemmings are little creatures that have the weird habit of
fleeing from their territory whenever it gets over-populated.
They run off in any direction they deem fit and keep on running
until they find new pastures green, hit a mountain or, and this
is what has made them famous, plunge into an abyss or a sea by
the thousands. This whole thing is half-legend - most people
think that lemmings would be attempting suicide any time, any
place, any where. In reality they're just a bit like humans.
Whenever we get a lot of people around someone sortof flips out
and wages war on another country or the whole world. Probably,
aliens' views of mankind would not differ much from the views we
have of lemmings.
They would probably think we're very silly.
In the original game, anyway, the creators used the concept of a
number of mindless creatures and gave you the player to power of
some sort of minor deity. Specific lemmings could be given
commands to dig or build or whatever, causing the other Lemmings
to (mindlessly) continue walking through the hole or across the
thing you've just had built, and so on until a specific number
(no less than a given limit) eventually got to the exit.
Lemmings 2 - The Tribes
Well, to use an understatement, "Lemmings 2" is the same sort of
game with knobs on.
I already said, somewhere above, that the lemmings have been
given human characteristics. These are most easily conveyable to
you be listing them, quite simply.
There are, basically, six different groups of skills. There are
the wind skills (whenever lemmings are subject to these they can
be moves around by an extra 'fan' icon that you can click on and
position anywhere on the screen), ground removing skills (these
explode or dig a tunnel in any direction), building skills (the
add to the background, for example by building steps or a
platform, that other lemmings can walk on), shooting skills
(these either throw something that sticks to the landscape or
blow bits off), movement skills (these add particular skills to a
lemming that make it move better than or different from the
others) and miscellaneous skills (which basically comes down to
skills that don't fit in the other categories).
Remember, these can all be influenced by fetching the fan and
using it to thrust the wind-skilled lemming in any direction you
want until it hits something.
The lemming will develop a hot air balloon. Until the balloon
hits something and bursts, the lemming will move up.
The lemming will fold out a carpet of the 1001 Night variety,
step on it, and bob on just atop the landscape until it flies
Like that dude that participated during the opening of the
(1984?) Los Angeles olympics (or James Bond, whatever you want),
the lemming will get a jetpack strapped to his back and will
start hovering in the air. It doesn't move around unless you use
the fan. The jetpack lasts for about 10 seconds.
Although this is a wind skill, officially, as its totally
useless unless you use the fan, this is actually a ground
removing (i.e. digging) skill. It's a totally versatile version
of any digger. You click on a lemming which will start spinning
around like a berzerker. You can then blow it into any bit of
scenery it happens to be located on (or against, like with a
wall), where it will dig a tunnel. It will stop twisting when it
is directed to a place where there is no background to dig
through. It is quite difficult to create tunnels that other
lemmings can walk through when digging diagonally up, but it can
be done (even I could).
Lemmings can drop into water (or acid, or whatever) where they
will drown. Strictly takes this is a movement skill, but it needs
the fan to work! Click on the lemming and it will grow a surfing
board. The fan can blow it into any direction. When the edge of
the stretch of water is reached the lemming will jump onto it,
leaving the surfing board.
Leaving a lemming standing on a surfing board for a while
without fanning will cause it to drown anyway.
Know the original game? Well, this is basically a floater
(lemming plus umbrella) with the difference that it can be moved
around horizontally with the aid of the fan as long as it
descends. Like the floater it is a permanent skill, i.e. it's not
lost as the lemming hits the ground.
A bit like the parachuter, but can only be sped up and down by
the fan in the direction it is going already. It descends and
loses the delta glide thingy when it hits the ground.
This is a totally flying lemming, who can fly up and down, left
and right, and who do so of their own accord horizontally until
they hit something. Use of the fan, however, makes them truly
flexible. You can fly them anywhere as long as you know how to
blow the fan properly.
Ground removing skills (i.e. digging skills)
This is a variety of the well-known miner (the little lemming
with the pick-axe) of old, digging diagonally down. Instead of a
pick-axe, however, it uses a spade which makes it optically
different. It just might actually also dig at a slightly
different angle than the miner.
Which is the same as the ordinary basher that you already knew
from the original, with the exception that it wields some sort of
Captain Caveman-esque club of gigantic proportions, demolishing
not only an ordinary tunnel but also quite a bit of headspace. It
looks quite funny, what with the club being at least three times
as voluminous as the lemming that uses it.
The good ol' digger we all know so well. Just does a basic hand-
job straight down, so there's not much to tell about it.
Yeah, the horizontal variety of the digger. Does its bit of
ground removing until it hits the air again.
Another one of the old skills. Most of the old skills are
digging skills, actually. This one, like the scooper mentioned
above, digs diagonally down. It use a pick-axe. It might be a
lemming called Pete (any ancient Philips Videopac afficionados
This is almost the same as the basher, with the differences. The
optical difference entails the fact that is uses a fencing sword
to 'fence' its way through the scenery. The practical difference
is that the tunnel will be made at a slightly upwards angle.
This is virtually exactly the same as the ordinary digger. This
one uses its own weight to stomp its way to the ground. The
difference seems purely optical. It's quite funny to see.
Hold your horses, for there's a laser blaster as well! It's the
opposite of a digger, i.e. it will locate itself in a
Schwarzenegger-esque position and shoot a laser beam upward,
evaporating all the landscape directly above it right upto the
very top of the level. A handy skill to get left-behind lemmings
to fall down after you've worked your way down. You only have
eight skills at any time so you might not actually have any
diggers or stompers to do it the other way around.
A rather less subtle version of the basher mentioned above.
After bracing itself slightly it incinerates a flame-shaped bit
of the scenery before which it stands. Much quicker than the
basher, actually, and it's not even harmful for any other
lemmings. Lemmings who can do this are probably called Sylvester.
This, like other skills mentioned above, is the modern version
of the old exploder known from the original "Lemmings" game. With
a five-second countdown above its head it will explode at zero.
Needless to say it won't survive this noble act of Kamikaze. Part
of the scenery on top of which it walked when the counter reached
zero will have joined it in lemming nirvana (that's team spirit).
This is the Tipper Gore variety of the exploder. Whereas the
real exploder must have listened to too much Slayer or Black
Sabbath or whatever other Satanic bands that openly and blatantly
encourage suicide, this one clearly thinks suicide is a deadly
sin (yes, this is a pun, rather much like Tipper's surname!).
Instead of blowing itself up it would rather put a bomb at its
feet and let it explode whilst miraculously surviving the blast
itself. Like the exploder, however, it will blast a crater in the
This lemming takes a bucket and pours from it a liquid that will
follow the shape of the ground on which it is pouring as much as
possible. The stuff will harden so that other lemmings (and,
indeed, the filler lemming itself) can walk on top of it.
Yep, one of the old skills again. It build a ramp sloping up,
consisting of 12 tiles. At the end it will shrug, during which
you can give it another command. If you forget to do this it will
drop off the ramp and you'll have to wait for another lemming to
extend the ramp if such is needed. When, during building, the
ramp is built into something it will turn around (creating the
shape of a "V" on its side, if you know what I mean).
The English are rather fond of gardening. Almost all BBC prime
hours are either filled up by broadcasts of motorists programmes
or gardening series. As the game was designed by a bunch of
English people I suppose it was hard for them not to think of a
little lemming that plants a small seed that rapidly grows into a
bit of scenery that other lemmings (and itself) can walk on top
This is the perpendicular version of the platform builder that
you know nothing about yet but you will soon (below). It stacks
twelve stones on top of each other. Other lemmings will not be
able to cross the barrier thus evoked (not when it has been built
beyond two stones, that is).
This builds a platform (gosh, the surprise!). Twelve bricks will
be used, and this is a good skill to enable other lemmings to
walk across a gap that you would otherwise have to use the
regular builder for. The platform, as it's horizontal instead of
diagonal, can cross a larger gap and will allow for lemmings to
cross the gap in the opposite direction as well (for which
another regular builder would have to be employed otherwise).
The lemming given this skill will stop and create a mound of
sand. Many mounds of sand, for example, can make a mountain. It's
the rather more subtle and rather less English variety of the
planter, actually, although the mound of sand isn't quite as high
as the plant the planter plants.
Identical to the filler skill mentioned at first with these
building skills, but with one important difference: Glue will not
pour through a hole but will just fill it. It's even possible to
create rather neat platforms across rather large gaps when using
this skill artfully.
Now things are getting more spectacular. Some of these, it has
to be said, seem to have been included rather more for
easthetical than practical use.
A lemming will shoot an arrow. Clicking once causes Robin to
load its bow, clicking a second time will cause the arrow to
whizz off in the direction of wherever you've put the mouse
cursor. The distance an arrow can cover is limited, of course,
and it can't shoot big heights either. As far as I've seen,
arrows can be used as effective blockers.
The use of this skill has so far eluded me totally. The lemming
given this skill will throw sortof a ball-like thingy that will
cling to the scenery wherever it hits. There's probably a deeper
meaning to this. It looks cute, anyway. Half of the game is
devoted to looking cute. This is part of it. If the lemming in
question was a runner (see way down) he will throw further.
Kapow! Blam! Slap! This will fire an object across the landscape
in an arc. Wherever it hits the landscape it blows off bits much
in the same way as would an exploder or a bomber. Any other
lemmings in the vicinity of the explosion? No problem. They will
fly off in a limited range, garbled and mutilated, but will
eventually continue walking as mindlessly as ever (though
slightly Dazed and Confused probably).
Like the archer, only with a spear. Spears make for excellent
Like the bazooka - Pow! Kerblam! - but shoots in more of an arc
and less horizontally. The net end effect is the same - a bit of
scenery blasted off in the event of a hit, and possibly the odd
lemming walking around with even less of a brain.
The roper skill is very useful. If you're a Christian, pray you
get copious quantities of this skill at every level. If you're a
Satanist, draw a pentagram on the ground and invoke a demon to
grant these skills to you. If you're neither, just hope (this
would probably be best and won't cause wars or other stupid
phenomena any possible aliens will raise their eyebrows at).
The roper will attach one end of a rope to wherever it is
standing when you select it. It will then shoot upon your
clicking for a second time, in the direction of the mouse cursor
to be more precise. It will shoot a hook that will attach the
other end of the rope to the landscape. Lemmings will be able to
traverse across it, as if it were a ramp. It's the ideal way of
making a ramp - it's fast and you can have just about any angle.
Do note that the rope isn't very long. But it beats hell out of
doing lots of regular builder jobs.
Almost all of these belong in the trying-to-make-the-game-
appear-even-more-cute department. Some of them are quite useful,
Your bog-standard lemming. Not an actual skill, really, because
all lemmings start out like this and they will do like it if you
don't to anything.
This is basically a lemming on speed. Is that a small walkman
he's having on his head and does the sound suddenly change to
Napalm Death or is it justed my severely warped imagination?
Apart from the obvious fact that a runner lemming gets anywhere
quicker, it will throw further if you tell it to throw a spear of
a ball, and it will jump further if you tell him to jump. The
runner skill, like some others, is permanent.
Running lemmings seem a bit larger and their clothes and hair
have swapped colours. They look quite cute, though not half a
cute as a hopper (see somewhere below).
If you have plenty of jumper skills lined up and the gap to
bridge is only small, jumpers will do the job. Runners will jump
quite a bit, regular walkers will sortof hop once.
A rather useless but awesomely cute skill. A lemming given
hopper status will hop across the scenery, hands together behind
its back. It will return to its regular status once it bumps into
some bit of scenery.
Another very useful skill, especially when you're playing in a
polar region (more about different regions and tribes way down
this review). In polar regions all water is, yes!, frozen.
Lemmings who get into ice will find it terribly difficult to
cross it - as a matter of fact they will wave their arms in some
attempts to regain their balance and then connect their posterior
to the hard childness (very cute to see, too). Giving them skater
status, which is yet another permanent skill, allows them to
traverse any stretches of ice without continually falling.
Much like a surfer (see wind skills, way above) this prevents a
lemming from drowning. Unlike the surfer, however, it will mvoe
autonomously without needing the aid of the fan (indeed, use of
the fan is of no avail whatsoever). When a kayaker reaches the
end of any water the kayak will disappear and it will jump on
This is exactly the same as the kayaker except for three
differences. The first one is optical. It simply looks different
and adds nicely in the game 'different skills' statistics
department. Secondly, swimmer status is a permanent skill which
means the lemming will never drown no matter how often it
encounters water. It will swim and get out as many times as it
has to. Third, swimmer status is a permanent skill which means
the lemming will never drown no matter how often it encounters
water. It will swim and get out as many times as it has to. I
thought I'd mention this twice as it's rather an important
difference with, say, the kayaker and the surfer.
Imagine what happens when a lemming curls up and starts rolling
down slopes and launching itself off ramps to cross gaps. Well,
you can see what it will be like if you give roller status to a
lemming. Quite funny to see, actually.
I seem to recall this being another one of the old skills. A
lemming which has this permanent skill will be able to scale
vertical surfaces, for example if you want to get one lemming out
of an enclosure to do a lot of preparatory work somewhere else.
The lemming given this skill will get MagnoBoots, allowing it to
walk across any surface, including the below side of platforms
and stalactite-ridden ceilings. It does move a bit slower than
usual, and it's very funny to see it walking in these heavy
MagnoBoots. A significant increase of the cuteness factor.
We're nearing the end of this rather impressive summary. Hold on
for some skills that will really baffle you.
This one is only useful, like the skater, on a polar landscape.
It allows lemmings to slide down a slope, rather like the roller,
and even jump across gaps if a ramp happens to be handy.
Provided there's enough space this rather remarkable skill will
allow a lemming to jump onto a platform that is quite a lot
higher - in any case way beyond the reach of a hopper of jumper,
even when they'd been running. Like some of the other skills,
this is totally entertaining just to watch alone. Lemmings who
are polevaulting at least look a lot more realistic as similar
events in any sports game featuring a likewise event with
exception of "Summer Games" on the Commodore 64.
Exactly the opposite of a climber. It can slide down long
vertical surfaces without getting killed. When it encounters an
overhang it will dangle for a while (made my think of one of the
intros of Brøderbund's excellently animated "Typhoon Thompson")
so that you can turn it into a shimmier (see below). If nothing
happens it will drop down.
The rock climber skill, being a permanent one, allows for
lemmings to scale vertical surfaces, like the climber. As it uses
hooks, however, it can even scale surfaces with a 45 degree
overhang. You can easily imagine how cute this looks: Terribly
We've got regular climbers, rock climbers, sliders, good old Mr.
MagnoBoots...and still there's more. Take this shimmier, for
example. This will try to jump up at a nearby ceiling and then
cling to it with the hands and shimmy on in whatever direction it
was facing. At the end of the ceiling it will dangle a bit and if
you don't change its skill it will simply drop down.
So far any practical use for this has not succeeded in popping
up to me. It looks cute to see a lemming diving off a cliff,
Remember the blockers of the original? They had the disadvantage
that they had to be blown up when you didn't want them to block
any more. Or you had to be really smart and find some way to blow
up the ground on which they stood, which at the time also cost at
least one lemming's life. To add to the scala of blockers they
have included the attractor. This skill will give a lemming an
irresistible urge to entertain. It will play a guitar or keyboard
or even a flute (depending on the tribe you're playing with)
which will cause other lemmings that enter its vicinity to start
dancing. In the Egyptian level they will do a clever
immitation of Bangles immitating the walk of Egyptians, for
example. Totally funny and, not to mention it, cute.
The good thing is that the attractor can be changed into another
skill to stop attracting. If you can find it amidst the mass of
dancing fellows, that is.
Another oldie here, the lemming that doesn't drop to a certain
death when suddenly the floor runs out, but rather unfolds an
umbrella and floats down happily until it hits the ground. This
is a permanent skill - whenever it drops again it will unfold its
little umbrella. This was the cutest thing in "Lemmings", but in
the new game it's mediocre, cute-wise.
This is the last of the old skills. This changes a lemming into
a traffic warden trying to hold all traffic. No other lemming can
pass by it any more as it taps one foot restlessly. Blasting away
the floor on which it stands will change it back to a walker. If
you have no blasting skills handy you'll just have to nuke it
(yes, they kept that button) when all other lemmings still alive
have found some way to get to the exit.
Totally stupid if you ask me, but very cute (yeah...) to look
at: SuperLem. It's a bit like Icarus Wings or Jetpack, but
different in some ways. Click on a lemming and it will develop
pectorals that Leisure-suited Larry Laffer's Passionate Patty
will drool over in a most shameless way. Click another time and
SuperLem will fly of in a Christopher Reeve-ish style (i.e. one
hand thrust forward, fist knotted) to wherever the mouse cursor
is. It can get any lemming into another platform as long as it's
not too inconveniently located.
Well...let's get on to the game then
Psygnosis is world famous for its smoothly excellent packaging.
The exterior looks slick as ever, but something has changed to
the inner box. Instead of glossy whatever-they-use with all kinds
of environment-unfriendly ink on it they have now opted for a
stoic and sturdy inner box made of 100% recyclable, biodegradable
carton. A great development, I think, which all the people of the
world should unite for and applaude loudly. So there's an A+ for
Inside the packaging there's one disk (the ST version, at
least), a short manual and, so it appears, a novel. The novel
was sadly lacking in my copy of the game, but the manual refers
to it so I guess there'll be one in your copy should you buy it.
There's also a small merchandise booklet that explains where to
get some Psygnosis games and a host of Lemmings merchandise, at
how much, and where. Lemmings merchandise includes enamel pins of
just about every tribe or skill, T-shirts and mugs. Speaking of
extra mileage... But I'd do the same if I were them. There's a
recession going on, after all.
When you start up the game you get to see two pictures that defy
the creators of dictionaries to find something that is a lot
worse than 'ugly' and still easy to write. There's a lot crammed
on the one disk...12 different sets of graphics, about 60 skills
with code and graphics, some extra game graphics, and the two
most worthless pictures I've ever seen in a game intro. First
there's one of "WSJ" (Wayne Smithson Design - Wayne did the ST
version) which really stinks. But if you thought that was bad
then the second picture will kill you off totally: A gruesomely
converted "DMA Design" (who designed the game) logo.
Let's not spend more words on these pictures.
After some more loading you get the main menu. From the menu you
can select "MAP" (a map of lemming island, allowing you to select
one of 12 specific areas - tribes - of lemmings to play with),
"PLAY" (which goes through all tribes eventually, starting at the
first), "EXIT" (disabled in the ST version), "LOAD" (load a
saved game), "SAVE" (save a game to be loaded later) and
The 'practice' option is worth telling you something more about.
As you know there are dozens of skills. Some of them barmy,
others less so. Selecting 'practice' displays a screen where you
can select any skill you want. Once you've selected eight of them
you can select one of four different kinds of world, after which
you'll enter a dummy level that you can practice the skills on.
This is certainly not superfluous as some of the skills require
some getting used to, believe me! You already get to see a fair
amount of cute bits while practicing.
As I mentioned already, there are 12 tribes. The island is
divided in 12 different sections on which such a tribe lives.
Some tribes are the Circus Tribe, the Beach Tribe, the Polar
Tribe and the Egyptian Tribe. Scattered across the island (as a
matter of fact one piece per 12th bit, i.e. 12 pieces) there is a
talisman. Doubtless these pieces may be found on the last level
belonging to each tribe, and all pieces have to be found to
complete the game.
Apart from different appearances, different tribes have more
things that differ. They walk in the exit differently. The Space
Tribe tumbles into the exit as if jumping into zero gravity and
the Highland Tribe walks in backwards, for example. Variation
galore. The attractor plays a different instrument and the
lemmings attracted to it will dance in varying ways according to
the current Tribe. Also, the colour palette changes quite a bit
whenever the a set of graphics particular to a Tribe is loaded.
Unfortunately this sometimes involves certain objects (such as
stairs or pole vaults) to become nigh indescernible from the
Different sets of graphics (i.e. different tribes) also have
different additional bits in the scenery. The Mediaeval Tribe,
for example, has levels with a catapult on it. Every time the
catapult is ready, a passing lemming will climb atop it and be
shot away while wailing a cute digitized cry. The position of the
catapult can be changed to some extent by the player. Other
Tribes have lizards that catapult the lemmings with their tails,
or cannons, or trampolines. There's a lot more but I won't spoil
it for potential buyers by telling all.
A crucial difference with the earlier lemming-related games is
that only the lemmings that actually survive level x will get to
level x+1. Each Tribe consists of about 10 levels, many of which
will now also be several screens high (yes, 8-way scrolling
here), so you'll have to put in your best effort. You start off
with 60 lemmings in each tribe. Ideally you should get to the end
of a total of 120 levels without losing a single lemming's life.
I think it would be safe to bet such a feat would be utterly
impossible, even if you add the fact that lemmings don't die
quite as easily as they used to in the first game. They can at
least drop a lot deeper now. They will be disturbed and
unconscious for a while, sure, but they'll live after a brief
mental visit to the Ambulor Eight Hospital of the Very, Very
Whereas the original and the first sequel has password systems
to get you to further levels, "Lemmings 2" allows you to save
your current game. It will store the levels you have played
already and will disable you from accessing any levels you
haven't completed yet. Quite a fail-proof system, I think. You
can retry levels to see if you can have less lemmings lethally
Like "Lemmings" and "Oh No More Lemmings", "Lemmings 2" is no
technical treat whatsoever. Okay, the concept might be brilliant
but I get the idea the whole thing could have been much more
capably programmed by some people I know. Wayne Smithson seems to
have been laurelled unanimously after he did a game called
"Anarchy" based around a parallax scrolling trick he worked out
when bored, but he's not the best of ST programmers. I hate
people who get laurelled because of a trick the entire scene
knew, and which the scene also implemented better and faster at
The technically worst bit about the program is that, each time
when a digital sound is played (like when a lemming appears on
the level, or disappears through the exit, or flies through the
air, or falls almost to death), the raster between the game
screen and the status bar starts flickering worse than the stuff
the Lost Boys used to do in their prehistoric days (read: before
the "DEF Demo"). This is very sloppy. Not neat at all.
Not that the game is technically bad. It's just messy with the
rasters and, let's be honest, nobody can screw up a concept like
"Lemmings 2" unless he resorts to using Lisp or Basic. I just
wanted to make a point that Wayne Smithson is nothing close to a
coding God the way the glossy magazines see him. He has his
faults (and I don't even mention the horrid intro logo pic - or I
guess I just did).
Let's no longer beat around the bush. Is "Lemmings 2" a game
that nobody should be without, or is it as over the top as the
concept as you've read it so far suggests?
Sure, it's way over the top. But, somehow, they seem to have
gotten away with it. Some of the skills are just there to have
fun with, and some others are optically different versions of
others, but the whole thing retains some credit. The mass of new
graphics, new levels and new moving things adds a lot to the
Because of all the added bits and bobs (which cost the game the
two-player mode the prequels had), however, "Lemmings 2" has
become many times more difficult to play than any of its
predecessors. There are now so many different skills that it's
sometimes impossible to see how a given level may be solved. On
the other hand, again, there may now also be many more different
ways to solve a level.
Personally I found the game viciously frustrating. But it is
very cute and highly addictive, too. If you're stuck with one
particular tribe's batch of levels, hey, there are eleven other
tribes to check out and have fun with. And if all else fails you
can also just have a go at the practice option again.
All in all "Lemmings 2 - The Tribes" is a game that has in it
much of the excellence of the award-winners that preceded it,
with plenty of bells and whistles that could almost make it
appear like a virtually new game. It's great, certainly, but it
would be masochism to play it if you were one to get stuck at the
more complicated levels of the prequels already.
Title: Lemmings 2 - The Tribes
Overall rating: 8.5
Hardware: 1 Mb ST, mouse, colour monitor
Remark: Over the top, but great anyway
Thanks to Maggie Goodwin of Psygnosis for sending the review
copy. Again you've been responsible for making my exam period
more than difficult. Perhaps I will get used to it one day.
For information about the game or whatever, write to:
South Harrington Building
Liverpool L3 4BQ
I forgot their phone number. Try international information.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.