Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Obscurity: Nobody has ever heard of Lemmings

7:30 PM on 10.04.2011 // knutaf

[For your Bloggers Wanted assignment last week, you were asked to write about a game you thought was relatively obscure; one that a lot of your peers likely hadn't played or even heard of. In today's blog, Knutaf describes a Lemmings game that I bet most of you didn't even know existed. Want to see your own blog on the front page? Write a blog on the current topic: Villains. -- JRo]

My childhood is riddled with strange, obscure PC games. The problem was picking one that A) my inadequate, blurry memory can remember, and B) I could get working on my current computer so I could show it in all its glory. Well, I narrowed down the list to just a few games, then picked one.

I picked Lemmings, a game which is so strange and badly designed that -- wait, what? You've heard of Lemmings? I thought I was the only one who'd played -- OH. I read that wrong. This is Lemmings Paintball. Well, that's basically the same game as Lemmings, right?

Uh, no, it really isn't. Unlike the wildly popular original Lemmings and many of its spinoffs that preserved the core gameplay mechanic, Lemmings Paintball was actually a totally different game in every way imaginable... except the characters. They're still stupid rodents. (Nothing against rodents, mind you. Just, lemmings are kind of dumb, at least in video games.)

So what is the paintball variety of Lemmings? We just don't know. At a glance, it looks like a 3/4 top-down isometric action platformer shooter thingy. Actually, that's a pretty good description of it, I guess. Is it a good game? Well, yeah, I kind of think it is.

You control up to four lemmings in a squad. In every level you're dropped unceremoniously out of a random box that appears in the sky and have to make your way through the level and grab up to four flags.

The gameplay is pretty simple. You click somewhere, and your lemming attempts to walk there. He's pretty short, though, and in typical lemming fasion can't climb much. And roving through most of the level are evil lemmings (as in all good games, people on the other team are simply evil) that will attack you with their eponymous paintball guns as you approach. Of course, you're also armed with such a gun and can squirt paint at them first.

So screwed. How did I let this happen!?

Actually, those red lemmings are heinously good shots; if you're standing still, they will nail you in a hurry. Pretty quickly you start to develop this technique of dodging side to side while shooting, which works well in most situations.

The charm of this game comes partly from its aesthetics and partly from its level design. Aesthetically, I love that there are several different environment skins: snowy, grassy, military base, multicolored abstract blocks, etc. I like the triumphant backflip animation my lemming does when he gets the flag, accompanied by a diminutive "Yippee!" I like the satisfying splat of the paintball against the enemy. I even like the unmistakable creak of the gates opening. Just all in all, the sounds and graphics, though not oustanding in any way, just work.

The levels keep introducing new elements, which are the building blocks of the puzzles and environments. First they introduce gates controlled by switches. Then they show you hidden panels (like, really well hidden) that you walk over to trigger switches. Then come blocks that raise and lower according to some trigger. Then sliding panels that, once you enter them, you slip all the way to the end of some route. Then balloons that you grab, which carry you to predetermined end-points. I came across a catapult which flung you into the midst of enemies! There were trampolines that bounced you a predictable distance...

What I'm trying to convey is how all the levels are filled with what I can only think of in my mind as "little delights." You never know what combination of gadgets you will play with in the next level.

My other lemming is just off screen to the left flipping the switch.

And they use all these different elements pretty well. For example, in one level a lemming flips a switch to toggle the position of alternating raised or lowered walls, so that a teammate can get past. It's a pretty simple "puzzle", but it's made more interesting by the fact that enemy lemmings are patrolling the route amidst the moving walls. If your timing is bad, the enemies will actually be standing on top of the walls and have very easy shots at you.

In another level, flipping a switch does seemingly nothing... except, if you awaken your sense of exploration and experimentation, you'll find that a particular walkway has now become slippery, so you can slide off a ramp and catch some sweet air on the way to the flag.

If only that were a slick ramp...

Another thing I like is that, for the player with a sharp eye, there are shortcuts in plain sight in some of the levels, but the particular layout that they've put in naturally guides your eye to some other, longer, more perilous path. In fact, several of the levels seem to have multiple paths through, and it's fun to experiment to see which are the riskiest.

Despite all these fun and interesting things, some of the design decisions have that primitive quality that we feel we've left behind with modern games. If you get shot by an enemy lemming, you usually have to start the entire level over. And some of the hit detection is spotty; your lemming may walk off a cliff due to what seemed like an innocuous click.

And if you're controlling multiple lemmings in your team at once, they really do what you say, not what you meant. The sympathetic critic in me wants to say say that maybe this is thematic, in keeping with the chronically braindead nature of the creature that is the lemming.

Suddenly, a catapult! What?

As an aside, this is a pretty old game. When I bought it as a kid, it came on a CDROM, but when I look at the size on the disk, there's only 15 MB there! I guess back then it was either 10 floppies or a CD, huh? As another aside, it ran without any issue on Windows 8. That was pretty surprising!

I don't want to call this game seminal or important or anything (the game flopped; I'm writing about it in a blog about obscurity), but you'll find most of the level design elements present in contemporary games, such as the coordinated timing-based puzzles between multiple teammates. This game is not fantastic, but it's not bad. Good luck finding a copy, but if you do, I promise you at least ten minutes of fun out of it.

 Follow Blog + disclosure _knutaf

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Alphadeus avatarAlphadeus
Love, Lost, Live, Lost (2014) - Yesterday was me and my girlfriend's 16th year anniversary together, so I decided to share this song. It deals with being in love, losing that person, moving on, and learning to love again. It's 9 minutes long, too :P
gajknight avatargajknight
I have done my part. Thank you Niero. Question: Does blocking someone also remove their front-page articles too?
iam16bit avatariam16bit
I've been on this site for sometime and for some reason I've never done a quickpost until now.
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
So I'm hearing the UN called Japan in to discus "Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women " Which by Anita's standards = any Violence able to be done. Japan sent a 40 page long NO back to the UN in reply.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Why did I have to read that Austin Grossman was going to be one of the writers on a cancelled Half-Life 2 episode?
Parismio avatarParismio
Dammit its 3 and i cant stop reading cute gay romance mangas.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Going to be honest; I love out-of-context anime screenshots. They're... kind of incredible.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Retweet of the year goes to President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., Shuhei Yoshida.
Voodoome avatarVoodoome
Just got home from Deadpool and ... it's not good. I liked the jabs at Green Lantern and the previous movie Deadpool, but that was about it. The rest was just painfully forced dick jokes. Wife fell asleep.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Larxinostic rule34
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Looks like I'm not gonna be able to 100% Tearaway Unfolded until Monday at the least. I'm definitely writing about it this weekend and am trying my hardest to get my screenshots off of my PS4 (especially hard as I don't do social media anymore)
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
I've never done a blog before, so I may as well try one with a review of Stranger of Sword City....well, when I get entered into that contest of course
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Shakedown Hawaii is giving me good GTA vibes. I missed the topdown GTA games when they were a thing. I have to decide what platform to get it for since it's coming to 3DS/Vita/PS4/PC (probably the Vita version for moi).
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
You think your art sucks? Here's the rule34 I made of Larx yesterday. Look at it and despair.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Hey Dreamweaver? If you think your art sucks, you should have a look at my magnum opus. It's of Cloud from the popular game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I never thought this would happen, but here I am. all of my 700+ pokemon gone in one day. My cart stopped working and there's nothing I can do. I quit, you can't just rebuild all that. Time to find something else.
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Tom Collins is a pretty great drink, and well suited for poutine. consumption
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
It may be because I've been drinking but... We need some dung beetles from ark for the front page. Move that dung on out.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Does anyone know how to get PS4 screenshots onto a PC without needing a flash drive? I don't have a spare.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
This is an example of how bad my drawings are. I honestly think drawing stick figures would've been easier on the eyes. :( The worst thing about this image is that this was made after I got BETTER. Trust me, you don't want to see my earlier stuff. T^T
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -