Lemmings 2: The Tribes

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Lemmings 2: The Tribes
Lemmings 2 box art.jpg
Developer(s)DMA Design
Programmer(s)David Jones
Andy Whyte
Brian Watson
Artist(s)Gary Timmons
David Osborne
Graeme Anderson
Martin Good
Composer(s)Raymond Usher
Brian Johnston
David Whittaker
Platform(s)Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Mega Drive, Super NES, Game Boy, Acorn Archimedes, FM Towns
ReleaseJanuary 1993 (Amiga)
Mode(s)Single player

Lemmings 2: The Tribes is a puzzlestrategy video game, developed by DMA Design and published by Psygnosis in 1993. It is the sequel to 1991 video game Lemmings,.[1] and sees the player guiding various tribes of anthropomorphised lemmings through a number of levels, using various skills to help them reach the exit. The game features a storyline, in which the player becomes involved in saving the lemmings from a prophesied disaster by reuniting an ancient talisman that was divided into twelve pieces. The game expanded the number of skills lemmings can use, simplified the requirement for clearing levels, and included a pratice mode for players to test out the new gameplay mechanics.

Although not as popular as Lemmings, the game received positive reviews from critics, though ports of the game to console systems received some criticism over the graphical presentation.


Level 1 of the Beach tribe. Tanned beach bum lemmings can be seen walking about. The upper left one has just been made a SuperLem, while the one to the far right has been given the permanent skill of Runner

Lemmings 2 is divided between a series of twelve worlds, each containing ten levels of obstacles, traps and other hazards, where the goal of each level is to guide a group of lemmings from their entry point to an exit(s) in the level within a set time limit, by creating a safe passage using a variety of skills. Unlike its predecessor, the player is only required to get at least one lemming to the exit of each level from the sixty they begin each world with, but the amount saved affects the medal ranking they receive - Gold being the best result, down to Silver and then Bronze for the lowest amount rescued. In addition, the number saved in one level becomes the starting amount in the next level; as some levels may require several lemmings to complete, the player might have to replay an earlier level to save more lemmings for the following ones if they realize they do not have enough.

As with Lemmings, each level varies what skills and how many can be used in order to get the lemmings to the exit. However, the game features not only the eight original skills from the first game, but 43 new skills to make use of. These skills differ in their purpose - some overcome obstacles and hazrds; some focus on creating bridges and crossings; and some bash through barriers. In addition, players have the option to pause the game, or "nuke" all the lemmings in a level when in a "no-win" situation, though Lemmings 2 also includes two new options: fast forward, which replaces the release rate button in the original game by allowing players to speed up the game; and the fan, which allows the player to control lemmings using flight-related skills (i.e. using a balloon).

The player is free to choose which world to begin on when starting a game from a world map, as well as check on the progress they have made, and can save between levels. In addition, the game features a practice mode, allowing the player to try out any eight of the skills in the game in one of four different pratice levels. In order to complete the game fully, the player must secure all golden talisman parts, by ensuring they end levels with Gold medals, effectively adding replay value to levels they completed.


There is an introduction movie explaining the storyline of the game. Once upon a time, the twelve lemming tribes of Lemming Island lived joyfully and peacefully. However, an ancient prophecy foretells a great darkness soon to cover the island. This prophecy tells that the only way the lemmings can live is by getting off their island, using the power of the Lemming Talisman. This talisman consists of twelve pieces, one owned by each tribe. With the help of the Guide that has helped them before (referring to the player in the previous Lemmings game), all lemmings must now reach the center point of their island in order to escape their doom.


Mike Dailly, programmer at DMA Design, compared Lemmings 2 to its predecessor in 2015: "Lemmings 2 was a different beast, the tech was much more complex, but designed to make console versions much better. I think it had too many skills, but the underlying tech was great. I was given the SNES version to do, and it was one of the most complex games I’ve had to write. Some complex internals that had to run quick on a 3.5Mhz chip. Tricky stuff – but fun!"[2]


Known ports of the Amiga game include: DOS, Mega Drive, Super NES, Game Boy, Acorn Archimedes, Atari ST and FM Towns. The Amiga CD32 version was cancelled. Ports to the Master System and Game Gear were completed along with the Game Boy version but the former were never released commercially.[3]

The next game in the Lemmings series after Lemmings 2 is All New World of Lemmings (1994), which continues the storyline with the Egyptian, Shadow and Classic tribes.


Lemmings 2 was not quite as popular as Lemmings was, nor was it ported to as many platforms.[6] In the United Kingdom, it was the top-selling Amiga game in February 1993,[7] and the top-selling PC game in March 1993.[8]

The game was well received by critics, who widely considered it to be better than the original game. Bruce and Margaret Howden of Compute! commented "This sequel is packed with cute, engaging new features, more Lemming abilities, and oodles of new scenarios. If the original Lemmings was a perfect arcade game, then this is perfection improved upon."[9] Computer Gaming World stated that Psygnosis had done "a first rate job with this sequel ... Lemmings 2 really is twice the game its predecessor was", with "lovingly designed" puzzles and "delightful animations", and concluded that it would be one of the "better purchases of the year".[10]

Reviewing the Genesis version, GamePro commented that the controls themselves are easy to use but the small size of the lemmings makes it difficult to control them with any precision. However, they praised the variety and creativity of the level design and the different lemming maneuvers, as well as the game's "charming" personality and wide range of difficulty, and gave it an overall recommendation.[11] They made similar comments of the Super NES version, and remarked that the game "adds nonlinear variety to the cartoony brainteasers mix."[12] The five reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly were also pleased, with Mike Weigand commenting, "This title adds some nice twists (and graphics) to the standard guide-the-Lemmings-to-safety theme, making it a must for veterans of the games."[4]

Next Generation reviewed the Genesis version of the game, and stated that "Lemmings fanatics are sure to love the new features and for those who've never experienced a Lemmings game, we strongly suggest checking this game out."[5]

In a 2001 retrospective review, Rosemary Young wrote in Quandary that "Lemmings 2: Tribes will be hard to find now because of its age but, really, it's hardly aged at all. Although a little 'flat' the graphics are still perfectly good and the puzzles are just as fiendish. It compares very well with later Lemmings titles such as 3D Lemmings and Lemmings Revolution even if it doesn't offer the opportunity to save mid level."[13]

Lemmings 2 was named Best Action/Arcade Game at the 1994 Codie awards.[14] In 1995, Total! ranked the game 33rd on their Top 100 SNES Games writing: "This took the original format and piled on loads of new levels, a range of new lemmings and basically just gave us more of what we liked, only better.[15]


  1. ^ Lemmings Universe: "Games Information", "Lemmings Universe - Games Information". Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-02., 2006
  2. ^ Stanton, Rich (June 2015). "The Making of Lemmings How DMA Design created a classic, and what happened next". Read-Only Memory. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  3. ^ "View topic - Lemmings 2 (SMS/GG) - Forums - SMS Power!". Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  4. ^ a b "Review Crew: Lemmings 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 67. Ziff Davis. February 1995. p. 32.
  5. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 5. Imagine Media. May 1995. p. 99.
  6. ^ Theodor Lauppert: "UK Games", "UK Games". Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-05-31., 2007
  7. ^ "Charts (Data supplied by Virgin Games Centre)". Digitiser. 4 March 1993. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Charts (ELSPA Charts Compiled by Gallup)". Digitiser. 8 April 1993. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  9. ^ Bowden, Bruce; Bowden, Margaret (October 1993). "Lemmings 2: The Tribes". Compute! (157): 99. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. ^ Serrafina, Saul (July 1993). "Psygnosis' Lemmings 2: The Tribes". Computer Gaming World. p. 82. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  11. ^ "ProReview: Lemmings 2: The Tribes". GamePro. No. 69. IDG. April 1995. p. 47.
  12. ^ "ProReview: Lemmings 2: The Tribes". GamePro. No. 82. IDG. July 1995. p. 63.
  13. ^ Young, Rosemary (October 2001). "Lemmings 2: The Tribes Review by Quandary". Quandary: Fun for Everyone!. Archived from the original on August 26, 2004.
  14. ^ "Software Publishing Association Picks Codie Winners". Read.Me. Computer Gaming World. May 1994. p. 12.
  15. ^ "Top 100 SNES Games". Total! (43): 44. July 1995. Retrieved March 5, 2022.

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