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|Publisher(s)||Psygnosis; Sony Computer Entertainment; Imagineer|
3D Lemmings (the North American version is referred to as Lemmings 3D) is a computer game released in 1995, developed by Clockwork Games and published by Psygnosis. The gameplay, like the original Lemmings game, requires the player to lead all the lemmings to their exit by giving them the appropriate "skills". It was the first Lemmings game to be rendered in 3D. It was released for DOS, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn.
3D Lemmings is played by using four different, movable cameras to fly around and get an overview of the level. While some levels have fixed cameras, most of the time they can be freely moved at any time, although without the ability to tilt up or down. Another viewing option is the "virtual lemming" (VL) which allows the player to see through the eyes of a selected lemming.
All skills from the original game are available, with one new one: the turner. A turner is similar to a blocker, in that he stands in one place and can only be removed by being blown up or dug out from underneath. However, instead of making other lemmings turn back, he directs them 90 degrees either left or right, as chosen by the player. Diagonally positioned blocks in levels will also make lemmings move left or right (basically reflecting them).
One of the by-products of being 3D was the importance of the camera-handling. Even though most of the levels didn't need complex camera setups, some levels could only be solved if the player was skilled enough to move the camera in the correct way - or by using the Virtual Lemming mode. For example, one level featured a massive indestructible block of wall with the lemmings arriving on top; the only way the player was able to deliver the lemmings to the bottom floor was by digging through a certain part of the block which was left destructible, and the only way to handle that was to use the VL mode, because the player was unable to fit the camera through the hole. Some levels included rooms or halls where the camera couldn't go into (or come out from) and the player had to peek in through windows or use VL mode.
The release rate buttons, i.e. to increase or decrease rate of lemmings; instant replay mode; and fast forward button all return from previous games. Levels are once again divided into four difficulty settings: Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem. There are 20 levels of each setting, with 20 more practice levels to learn about different game elements. Each level has a set amount of lemmings again, and can be returned to through the use of passwords.
3D Lemmings Winterland
An additional level pack/playable demo named 3D Lemmings Winterland was released for 3D Lemmings on the PC, which included six new levels featuring a winter theme. The gameplay was identical to the standard game.
Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 75%. They commented that the 3D concept made the gameplay cumbersome and difficult to master: "Once you've familiarised yourself with the method it's a lot less hassle, but there are still those moments when, with only a split second left, you find yourself changing a camera angle to actually see what's going on rather than choosing lemming roles to save them." They also complained that the puzzles are highly frustrating, but acknowledged, "For the more even tempered among you with craniums the size of the superdome this might just fit the bill."
- Psygnosis's official 3D Lemmings webpage via the Internet Archive
- http://www.psygnosis.org/games/3dlemmings/ - game materials on unofficial archive site psygnosis.org; includes 3 reviews from GameSpot, PC Gamer, and Gamer Magazine
- 3D Lemmings at GameSpot