Recollection 02 ch09 The Truth About Lemmings
The Truth about Lemmings
It all began back in '93, word had been out Lemmings was about to be converted. With quality releases drying up quickly and the few remaining big game companies turning their backs on the 64, it instantly became the most anticipated release for the future. The hunting season had started.
For Success, partly based in the same country as the producers, Lemmings obviously was now our holy grail. As competition for games was still fierce, we knew it would be a hard task. Even when you know the Remi Ebus-crew (E&E) personally.
The first real Lemmings preview (after a few fakes) was obtained quite easily, we faked the credits a bit to cover our tracks, but also to give a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to the godfather of Success (The Arrogance). So yes, we easily beat everybody on the preview, but things change. Producers hand out previews quite easily, it even helps their marketing, but to give out the full game, no fucking way. We had to broaden our horizon and get complete control of the dutch market to solve this. Problem was, we were not alone.
The Ruling Company was grabbing a big, steady piece of the dutch market at the time, and as we all already got along quite well (Action Jackson was one of my very first contacts back in the 80ies), joining up forces started to look like a win-win situation. Not only for Lemmings, but for everything. So in the bus back to .nl from The Party 3, we got together, SCS*TRC got formed. It's not so easy to form a cooperation between 2 well-respected groups. Neither wants to give up their identity, at first both groups try to absorb each other, but that only seems to work when the two are not really equal. With SCS and TRC, this was not the case, so a cooperation was the best for all of us.
We combined efforts at some expense, The Silver Surfer left as far as I can remember, because he didn't want the high-profile group pressure again, I'm not sure what it was. SCS*TRC started thriving, 1 + 1 can equal more than 2 people say, they are right. Supplying, cracking, fixing, hacking, modemtrading, it all fell right in its place, with both groups contributing on everything.
Lots of things going on, but of course we didn't stray, we tried everything to get The Game. As a cracking co-op, you don't want to rely on one source, you gotta have option b, c and d as well in case everything else fails. You try every option, anything to get closer. But the funny thing is, everything will fail and all you can do is order the game from a fast shop. Hoping not to get beaten.
Out of nowhere a parcel arrived at Nightshade's place, with a note from an old friend. He magically was able to copy 4 of the 5 disk sides of... The finished game! Apparently our old friend visited Remi Ebus and was able to copy the disks at night while Remi was asleep. The things crackers do. ;) NSD quickly forwarded the disks to me, so I could prepare everything. It turned out we got a very late beta-version that crashed like a cardhouse in a typhoon. I spent several weeks ironing out the bugs, while at the same time the rest of the group was occupied with packing the game (hi CBA), and obtaining all cheat codes (hi Moren).
In the mean time we got our friends from Empire, the group we should've sent Creatures 2 to instead of MO (but that's another story), to pre-ntsc-fix the game, especially cause Lemmings was a very hard fix. It turned out to be Booze's fairwell fix. A tribute to one of the best fixers, in my eyes rating equal to Horizon and Pudwerx just to name a few fixers I always had the utmost respect for.
So with almost everything sorted, we still had one problem... The Fucking Fifth Disk!
The waiting started, we exhausted all our usual points of entry, but maybe we also slacked a bit because we were so much ahead. We still did our best to get the 5th disk before anyone else, but other groups weren't wasting their time either. Basically, with a game like that, you know you'll lose on ordering as other groups put far more money and effort in ordering than us. Our other main supply-lines got cut off, and thus we were in limbo. We got busy solving those problems when...
- BAM* there it was, out on the boards, Lemmings/AFL! It turned out to be an intro-linked original. No fix, lousy trainers, just a rushed first release. Thank the lord, if they just had taken more time, they would've smacked the door in our face.
We did what every self-respecting release group would do, just fucking steal it. Anything for the last real full price first release.
You gotta do it as fast as lightning, so we got everybody together to work on it simultaneously. Well everybody? Not really! A certain member was spanking some phone-sex-dating-whore in Amsterdam, which obviously could be called for free (Meridian Mail, ah yeah).
So we downloaded the 5th disk, packed it and included it in our 3 diskside, fixed and trained release. Within a few hours we were storming all boards with our full and fixed version. Right before most people started noticing the AFL version. You gotta remember, PAL-only games didn't count at all at that time.
After we put it out there was a lot of gossip going round, Booze's fix apparently wasnt fully 100% (2 less than .25 sec glitches in the intro sequence), but while people made promisses all over, nobody ever got close to the fix Booze did. Groups with power in release magazines would deny us the points as 'it wasnt 100%'. But I guess that was part of the game too. AFL just rushed it too much to get it fixed or at least put a fingerprint in their release.
Years after, several people from AFL tried to get the truth of the 5th disk out of us, but it never seemed right to tell all. Until now. It's 12+ years later, we've all grown up and cherish those evil moments. Why not share it in a mag that shares that view.
This is what releasing was about. It wasn't about being able to crack the hardest protection ever, intro linking or whatever, it was about being the first, beat the competition at all costs. Things you can never do alone, you need to be able to call for free, have friends on boards, know good fixers and have a great group to support eachother at all times on all levels.
For me, SCS*TRC was just that.
I have to show at least some respect to Alpha Flight and all the other competitive groups, it was a shitload of fun competing with you guys. We'll never be able to do it again, but at least we still have our memories until Alzheimer's kicks in.