Author Topic: How to play Lemmings (1991) on a modern PC  (Read 5144 times)

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Offline namida

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How to play Lemmings (1991) on a modern PC
« on: January 04, 2015, 11:11:34 am »
See also:
How to play and create custom levels
List of Lemmings engines (2013)

Lemmings is old, so playing it on a modern PC isn't as simple as grabbing a copy of the game and double-clicking the EXE file. It was for DOS and Amiga, but modern Windows has no support for these. Even the Windows version of the game doesn't run without problems.

There are several ways to play it on a modern system, the most common are:

1. Lemmix
Lemmix is a fan-made clone originally developed by EricLang, with later improvements by ccexplore and myself. There is a "Lemmix player" for each official game based on the original mechanics, as well as one containing extra official levels from various sources. This means Lemmix is an option for Original Lemmings, Oh No! More Lemmings, Xmas Lemmings 91/92, Holiday Lemmings 94 (this includes 93), Covox Lemmings Demo, Prima Publishing Lemmings Demo, as well as virtually every official level from other (non-DOS) platform versions of these which share the same or very similar mechanics (and even some that don't, such as Sega Master System).

Lemmix emulates the original games' mechanics perfectly. For convenience, it offers savestates, fast-forward, framestepping, and saving solution replays.

Get the most up-to-date versions of the Lemmix players here:
Lemmix Player downloads from the NeoLemmix website

A similar option is NeoLemmix, a fork of Lemmix developed by me (namida), which has the same basic content but the mechanics differ slightly, most notably that bombers no longer have a countdown timer (instead, they explode instantly) and virtually all glitches are fixed - there are more differences but these are more relevant to people making custom levels than to those simply looking for a way to play the original games. You can get the NeoLemmix players here:
NeoLemmix Player downloads from the NeoLemmix website

One disadvantage of Lemmix / NeoLemmix is that they are Windows-only. While they will run under WINE on Linux, they may have performance issues, especially relating to sound playback (although more recent versions implement different sound code than older versions, and I have not heard any feedback either way as to how well it does or doesn't work under WINE).

2. Lemmini
Lemmini is a fanmade clone originally developed by Volker Oth. Lemmini is Java-based, and as such, can work on virtually any operating system, rather than being limited to just Windows. Unlike Lemmix, a copy of the Lemmings data files is not included; you must provide a copy of Lemmings for Windows 95 from which it can extract the graphics files and levels.

The advantage is that Lemmini is much more compatible with recent systems than Lemmings for Windows 95 is, as well as being perfectly playable on other operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS.

The disadvantage is that by default it only has the levels from Original Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings!. However, it is possible to find and add the levels from other games to it.

You can get Lemmini here:
Lemmini website

Similarly to how NeoLemmix exists as a "modernised" fork of Lemmix, there is also a "modernised" fork of Lemmini, which is known as SuperLemmini and developed by Tsyu. Aside from improved mechanics, it contains far more levels - it is on par with Lemmix and NeoLemmix for how many official levels are either included by default or available as an officially-supported addon. SuperLemmini still requires a copy of Lemmings for Windows 95, though.

As far as I'm aware, there is no official SuperLemmini website, but you can grab it here:
SuperLemmini topic on these boards

3. DOSBox
If you really want the most authentic Lemmings 1 experience -- or if you want to play Lemmings 2: The Tribes, Lemmings 3: The Chronicles, or 3D Lemmings -- DOSBox is your best option. DOSBox is a DOS emulator for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and several other platforms. You need an actual copy of the DOS versions of the games.

For Lemmings 1, set DOSBox CPU cycles to 7,000 or fewer, otherwise music will not load. You can increase cycles after you are in Lemmings 1's main menu. L2, L3, or 3D Lemmings behave best at higher cycle counts.

You can get DOSBox here:
DOSBox Website

4. Console / Handheld Emulator
As far as emulators go, DOSBox is one of the trickier ones to set up. You may be more comfortable using an emulator for a classic console or handheld that also has a version of the Lemmings game you want to play. To the best of my knowledge, the versions most similar to the DOS version of lemmings are the Amiga version and the SNES version. The Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) version is also very similar mechanics-wise, but a lot of the levels have been replaced with new ones (if you are wanting to play these levels on PC natively, they're in the "Extra Levels" Lemmix/NeoLemmix player, or available as an official addon for SuperLemmini). Systems to particularly avoid are Gameboy and NES. Other versions (for example, Sega Master System) tend to be good-quality ports but not completely true to the original gameplay.

It's also worth noting that versions for other systems may exist of some games not based on the classic mechanics; especially on Amiga and/or SNES.

I won't discuss in detail how to use this approach here.

If you're wondering where to get a copy of Lemmings for Windows 95, any of the original DOS games, or a ROM of a console/handheld version of Lemmings, try this website.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 12:53:59 am by Simon »

Offline Simon

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Re: For new users: How to play Lemmings on a modern PC.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 12:40:46 pm »
I estimate that some people want to stay close to DOS physics. In case DOS physics is what we want, and ease-of-use is less important, this is the ranking:

1. Dosbox + Lemmings: Has DOS physics by definition.

2. Lemmix: Physics are identical to DOS L1 in newer Lemmix versions: Some abstruse glitches are fixed Any differences to DOS L1 are considered bugs, even if the behavior in DOS L1 is strange in many places. Offers many hotkeys (documented where? Because invisible inside the game) to easen play, like savestates, framestepping, and replays. Does not offer extra functionality that could generate input impossible in DOS L1, thus no directional select.

3. Neolemmix: Forked off Lemmix, has the various hotkeys (but this time visible: buttons on screen and config menu), but has different physics. Steel behaves cleaner than in DOS L1. Builder stops on hitting terrain inside belly, ground removers have different ending conditions, etc. Has directional select, because it doesn't try to replicate DOS physics anymore.

4. Lix, or Superlemmini. Engines not based on anything DOS related. Don't have the DOS physics glitches. Vanilla Lemmini comes with its own physics glitches instead.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 04:32:30 am by Simon »

Offline namida

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Re: For new users: How to play Lemmings on a modern PC.
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 04:22:05 pm »
Some abstruse glitches are fixed (percent saved affected by nuke, pause for time before hatch opens).

The lack of these has been fixed (or unfixed, depending on what angle you want to look at it from) in the more recent updates.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: For new users: How to play Lemmings on a modern PC.
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2015, 01:30:55 am »
It is probably obvious, but worth mentioning for the "console/handheld emulator" option, keep in mind that with the exception of basically Amiga, most other options under that category means you won't have the ability to play the game with a mouse.  It may not necessarily be a deal-breaker but it's certainly one more thing that will deviate your experience from the "real thing".

Also, I never had to set DOSBox CPU cycle for L1-based games.  It seems to work well for me even when left at the admittedly lower-than-reality default of 3500 or so.  In fact, bumping it up too high may cause you to lose sound (or perhaps they may have fixed that in later DOSBox versions, it's been a while since I touched DOSBox), though 7000 I think is still low enough to keep that from happening.

LemEdit is the one program that I distinctly remember having to bump up the CPU cycle a lot (like 20000+ IIRC) to be usable.

I want to say even for DOS L2 you could get away not bumping up the CPU cycle in DOSBox, although I think it may have been slightly better to use a higher one than default for that game.  L3 I think you really do have to.  Or maybe not, it's been a while since I last tried those too. :-\  Anyway, it doesn't hurt to try I guess, if the default settings aren't working out.

More important may be where you get those games from.  In some cases the original versions may actually not work properly on modern machines even with DOSBox.  They may not crash outright, but you may experience weird things like load/save not working on L2, or other weirdness when you get to certain parts of/places in the game. can be your friend to find slightly cracked versions of the games that work much better in DOSBox.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:39:51 am by ccexplore »

Offline lemfan101

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Re: New users: How to play Lemmings (1991) on a modern PC
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 05:11:38 pm »
Which solution would you recommend to a noob who'd like to play all sorts of lemming games?

Offline Simon

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Re: How to play Lemmings (1991) on a modern PC
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 02:56:21 am »
Hi lemfam101,

welcome to the forums!

If you're interested in DMA's old games: Get the Lemmix Players or NeoLemmix Players (links in first post here) to play the 1991 Lemmings and Oh no more Lemmings. Install DOSBox to play Lemmings 2, to play Lemmings 3 (a.k.a. All New World of Lemmings, a.k.a. Lemmings Chronicles), or to play 3D Lemmings. Read How to play Lemmings 2 in DOSBox.

If you're interested in custom levels: Read How to play and create custom levels.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 12:54:07 am by Simon »