Saturday, 15 June 2013

Lemmings - 10 Green Bottles

One of the biggest successes of DMA (now Rockstar) before the Grand Theft Auto series was the addictive puzzler Lemmings, published by Psygnosis (who became Sony Liverpool, RIP guys!) which has since been ported to every platform under the sun in an attempt to get as much revenue as possible out of it.

I had a copy of this title on the Atari ST via my dad, though the one thing that I remember is how amazingly long the (unskippable) opening video was. So much so that you could go make a cup of tea before getting to the main menu screen, though from what I hear this is nothing compared to the old cassette-based home consoles (up to 10 minutes? it's enough to read a magazine!) That said, the puzzle and strategy elements to each game made the title an absolute hit and perfect if you wanted something other than a shoot 'em up to play. Despite the tons of extra level packs and sequels, the original kept me amused for long enough as the difficulty levels kept things interesting. 

One of the more memorable things about the title was the music, of course. Sadly, the Atari ST version of the title is not the greatest example of the series' music and not a great example of what can be done on the hardware either, but as with many things these limitations give it a certain nostalgic charm. Tracks like Pachelbel's Canon are rendered in a weird time signature, the Can-Can features prominently for some reason, as does #Number Green Bottles (see video), whilst there are some original tracks from the soundtrack artist like Miners & Climbers. It's the weird juxtaposition of nursery rhyme song whilst trying to save the helpless Lemmings that makes it a great old title for me - just watch the in-game video and you will see what I mean.