Super Lemmings Galaxy

Someone asked me yesterday on the WoSblog Formspring page what the most unfairly-maligned and under-rated videogame in history was, and I had to think for a few minutes before I remembered.

It's Clockwork Games' magnificent 3D Lemmings, and as I remembered it I also remembered I'd done a little mini-featurette on it a couple of years ago for the now-defunct Total PC Gaming. As a passing diversion, the piece is reproduced below.


3D Lemmings is one of the most wronged games in PC history.

It’s the best game in the series by a mile, brimming with originality and imagination – levels take place inside computers, in medieval castles, on Aliens-themed space bases, in Victorian gardens, during crazy It’s A Knockout races on army assault courses, inside pyramids, and there’s even an astonishing mid-air passenger jet death-slide rescue mission.

It fixes the interface problems that plagued the original and many of the sequels. It’s got an interactive replay (watch your last attempt up to the point where you messed it up, and then step in to correct your mistake), brilliant cameras, and even the music is gorgeous.

And yet, not only was its genius largely unrecognised by reviews at the time, and not rewarded by great sales either, but even posterity hasn’t seen fit to set right these terrible injustices, with a number of balloon-faced chumps going on record with shameful historical revisionism claiming – ludicrously – that it’s an inferior game to its predecessors.

And as a final indignity, nobody even knows what it’s actually called – the box says “3D Lemmings”, while the title screen says “Lemmings 3D”.

Well, it’s time for more than the insightful and perceptive few to know of the glory that is 3D Lemmings. It's a DOS game and it really hates modern PCs – I couldn't even make it play nicely with DOSbox, though that might just be my ineptitude – but if you have any way of getting it to run (an old laptop running Windows 98, a dual-boot PC with a DOS partition, whatever), spend a couple of quid getting yourself a copy of this.

(Beware, incidentally, of unscrupulous eBay sellers offering versions of the game claiming to be Windows-compatible. There was no actual Windows version, and the game was billed as "Windows-compatible" simply because Win95 and Win98 ran it in DOS-emulation mode.)

It’s one of the best puzzle games ever, one of the best PC games ever – dammit, it’s simply one of the best videogames of all time full stop.


12 Responses to “Super Lemmings Galaxy”

  1. I got this along with my Playstation (store had it as a "pack-in" with a couple of other titles) and I can't say it really clicked with me. Maybe the interface was more unwieldy on joypad. I frankly couldn't really get my head around the complexities of moving the lemmings about in 3 dimensions. The levels had a lot of style to them though as you say. It's a game I kind of liked despite not being able to play it very well. 

  2. I've also suddenly gotten a hankering for some jelly beans. I wonder why that is?

  3. Dr Octagon Says:

    I got the playstation version on your recomendation and actully prefer the joypad control to the mouse, Takes a bit of getting your head round. I think lemming 3d biggest problem was people really couldnt imagen how lemming could make the leep and not be even more tear your hair out than the older titles.
    I think a lot of people that slate it are just remembering some of the more painful levels designs of earlier games. Shesh even lemming 2 has it's fair share of shitty levels.

    But the superior level design and the reply feature alone do make this the BEST lemming deffinantly.

    Remember kiddies you must be prepared to judge sequals on thier own merrits. Not your goood or bad memorys of previous games.

  4. Dr Octagon Says:

    @ Shapey Well once you get your head round the controls moving the lemming about in 3d is pretty easy, Your introduce to the concept gentally there are bits of scenery that turn your lemming and a sorta stopper lemming that turns lemming 45 degreas.

  5. I rather regret missing out on this one at the time now. It does sound good. I enjoyed the others in the series. I can remember tinkering with Tribes for countless hours too.

  6. "Remember kiddies you must be prepared to judge sequals on thier own merrits. Not your goood or bad memorys of previous games."
    Most intelligent thing I've ever read about video games.

  7. Bobby, whoever you're quoting really can't spell for shit.

    Never played this game, looks like I never will either, if even DosBox doesn't run it. TSK

  8. I'm sure I've got a working version of this on DOS BOX somewhere. It wasn't anywhere near as hard to get working as Interpose was.

  9. Irish Al Says:

     I seem to remember having a boxed copy of this, bought for the missus because she liked the original.

  10. […] Stuart Campbell writes about Lemmings 3D, which he considers the most overlooked awesome game ever. […]

  11. I rember this, and I loved it! It's somewhat debatable that it was the best game of the series – the graphics of the original games were somehow more endearing to me – but it definitely didn't get the reconition it deserved. I still occasionally daydream about this game but now I think I'll definitely have to dig it out, clean the dust off my FDD and set up a DOS partition just to play it… and maybe The Castle of Dr Brain as well!

  12. Irish Al Says:

    This (well, the demo at least) seems to run fine under the recently-released DosBox 0.74 …
    Slow as fuck on the aged laptop I tried it on, mind.

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