Koopo The Lemming

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Closer Look: Koopo The Lemming

By: Dr. Dos
Published: July 2, 2019

Oh No! More Lemmings Clones!

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I can't believe Koopo The Lemming is a creepypasta game. The centipede-looking spider/lemming-eater creature has tied up several others and it's up to Koopo to defeat them with the power of bricks.


Its limbs shoot bullets which will obviously harm Koopo, but also will dismantle his bricks. One of the antennae will also fire downward which make it difficult to get your stairs set up.

And then Koopo needs to get through the teeth, which as far as I can tell is just luck. If the boss tries to bite while Koopo is in the creature's jaws, it's an instant death. Fortunately, luck was on my side and I ran through on my first try once I got in there.


After jamming some bricks down its throat, it dies a grisly death, concluding act two of the game.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
  And finds himself in a huge underground
wurm tunnel complex, filled with wurms
like the one he just choked to death...

  Koopo: Holy shoot! I forgot the bag
of bricks inside the Wurm's mouth.. ah..

  And so our hero braves onward toward
his quest for his home...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

We're just not going to talk about the others that were hanging from the ceiling during that boss fight I guess.

The pretty meaningless shrinking thing is resolved, and serves as a convenient excuse to strip Koopo of his building ability.


Sure enough, the next level begins right where the previous boss was killed. The centipede/spider/wurms are still massive compared to Koopo, but now they'd need to chew a bit before swallowing him.


Just one step into the level and Koopo finds a replacement for the bricks, a dangerously sharp pencil.

The wurms can't do anything to Koopo now, so it's time to just use the new bash command to burrow on through them.


When the wurms die, they fade away entirely leaving nothing more than eyes behind.


This level's tough spot is just past the blue wurm. It's another moment of Koopo rapidly switching states with climbing and dropping over the eyes making for a tough jump to get through with a low ceiling as well. This is another one that takes a good amount of attempts before finally getting through.


At one point I had an attempt with too many failed jumps and missing the timing on the use of bash up top which led to me dying from the time limit.


Next is a simple trick level. There's just one jump to clear and then and it's straight into the jaws of death as a wurm is constantly biting down. This kills Koopo instantly, so the player needs to look a bit more closely at the level and find an alternate route.


Or more accurately, creating a new route by bashing through the wurm's body. What a game.


Koopo immediately goes on to try and pull the same trick again, but in a way that will make you stare dumbfounded directly into the camera.


The white object isn't a skeleton, but some scuba gear. Koopo dismisses it before opening a hatch and heading underwater.


Where he will seconds later sink too far underwater and drown. Come on man.


But it's no different than before, with a side route to burrow through instead.


Koopo then pulls the same trick a third time in a row. This sequence is definitely a slump. These levels turn into "press the bash button to win", and come off as bland as the more generic levels you'd see in the other ZZT Lemmings games.


On the bright side, level 15 means that it's time for the third boss fight.


Nice. It's a giant lemming eater with some severe dental issues. Koopo is supposed to be normal sized here so this creature has to be massive.


All it needs to do to attack is inhale, and Koopo is drawn towards the lemming eater. Like the tip suggests, the way to survive is to counteract it by mashing "Halt". When the creature exhales, Koopo will begin moving to the right again.

In order to defeat the lemming eater, Koopo has to bash his way downward, eventually striking water which bursts forth.


When the water breaks, Koopo is washed away, and I assumed I had screwed up and killed him.


But no, this is the intended solution. So far we've knocked out teeth, suffocated, ripped straight through, and drowned our foes. Koopo is a little monster.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
  Koopo, being trapped underneath the
subterranian caves under the laboratory,
races back towards level 13 to pick
up the Scuba gear he had missed.
  Hastily, he pulls it on just as a huge
torrent of water slashes down upon
him and he's trapped in the water...
  Unfortunately, Koopo only has around 40
minutes of air left...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

It might have been cool to have actually had Koopo's trek backwards be done through gameplay, replaying the previous few levels but backwards and with the threat of water catching up to him, but the game's been running long enough now that it's a bit of a relief to just get the scuba gear.


Time for a new gimmick! Well, two really. Firstly, is that the next set of levels is underwater, which means Koopo will be swimming through them, no more bashing. Far scarier is the time limit changing from being per level to being shared for the entire segment! Koopo's air is limited so time matters more than ever since a delay in one level will mean less time for the rest.


All the fish make for a pretty looking level. It's a shame that brushing against one results in a bite. This level also has a few air bubbles that can be collected to each add another 15 torches to the timer. I don't think it'd be possible to complete this segment without grabbing all of these.

Koopo slowly sinks, and still moves forward endlessly like the lemming he is, but the swim command can be used to give him a brief horizontal boost. To gain height, jumping will let Koopo move up faster than he moves down.


Collecting the bubbles is tough, and I wound up leaving one behind rather than trying to climb back up to it.

In order to exit, Koopo needs to hit a switch on the wall to open up a gate and proceed to the next part.


There's still another intro to the level, but it's identical to the previous other than being "SPLUSH II".

This one replaces fish with underwater mines that explode when touched. There was one such mine here that I hit before taking the screenshot, along with a few more air bubbles. Again, it's all about hitting a lever before going through a gate, but this time health is much more of a concern as well. Several of the mines require Koopo to come in contact with them to proceed, and it's a matter of getting a good cycle count to pass them safely. They do animate, but are harmful in either state. This one would be improved a lot if it wasn't left up to chance.


This level's gimmick is avoiding pollution from some weird mining platform things, which in practice means dodging streams of bullets. It's honestly easier to get though them than the mines.


And instead of a lever, there's a helium tank that's used to launch itself towards the grate and knock it down.


This final SPLUSH adds a new tip about falling rocks, so it's obvious what's coming.


I'm not sure if it's supposed to be warning you about the rocks, or a bug, but the moment the level starts there's a rumble and then the vast majority of rocks fall instantly and harmlessly away from Koopo.


Maybe this level was too hard with the time limit otherwise?


Still, not all the rocks fall right away, and there's a nasty part here where they'll block the passage or crush Koopo if he doesn't swim to the upper right corner fast enough.


There's one last rock up ahead, but the timer it's on is extremely slow so it's not going to fall anytime soon. The really worry is the 30 torches remaining.


Clearly I should've gotten that single air bubble I missed. I just cheated for more torches before drowning. There was no way I'd have any enjoyment in trying to do this sequence a second time. This segment, is kind of rough.


Also thankfully Koopo miscounted and there are only four boards with the torch time limit. This level doesn't have anything of the sort to worry about.

In fact, it's nothing more than a cinematic. This lemming eater isn't going to bother with fighting Koopo, and instead just transports him through space to keep him away from his village for that much longer.


So is that it for Koopo? Not quite. In fact, we're only halfway through the game! The game has a second file with another 20 levels that put this one to shame with how outlandish it gets, so stay tuned!

Not So Final Thoughts

Koopo The Lemming's first file puts the game off to a strong start. The difficulty can be a bit of a pain, (I strongly suggest naming your save so it shows up on top of the list,) but this one has a lot of creativity put into it! The ZZT Lemmings games all had to implement the major concession of there just being a single "lemming" to control, but the others all tried to stick with the same style of level design of the source material, which just doesn't work. With only one point to interact from, puzzles just turn into finding the exact spot to dig or build. Meanwhile Koopo here plays with the rules to better suit ZZT. Koopo the lemming can't do as much as Zem or Scooter can in their games, but instead focuses on making the levels stand out via unique mechanics: moving platforms, falling rocks, slime to evade, and so on. The game could end right here and I'd say it was the best of these games, but the second half really mixes things up and breaks free of the limitations imposed by being Lemmings and turns itself into something that feels far more unique and designed for ZZT.

The first file has some tedium with its stretch of "just use bash" and that kind of lousy underwater sequence, yet the good outweighs the bad. The basic levels have enough variety and attention to detail that they out-compete the more dull competition, plus the boss sequences feel really innovative. Things could be a little less punishing, suffering from a lack of a safe way to practice Koopo's abilities instead of plunging off the nearest cliff a second into the level, but despite the rough edges here and there, Koopo The Lemming is a title that still impresses today!

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