Guest Post by: Michael Early
You didn’t play Legend of Grimrock, or its sequel. Perhaps it flew under your radar, or you haven’t caught it during a steam sale, or maybe you just don’t like the style of the game. Whatever your reason was, I think it’s time to reconsider. The game was released quietly through digital-only channels by an indie studio from Finland named “Almost Human,” who self financed the game with a team of four people. An impressive feat given the size and the scope of the game. Legend of Grimrock reminds me most of games like Might and Magic or Eye of the Beholder as it’s a first-person, party based RPG filled with puzzles and deathtraps around every corner. You didn’t play Legend of Grimrock, so I’m going to tell you why you should.
Legend of Grimrock and its sequel, the appropriately named Legend of Grimrock II, are real-time, tile based RPGs, which means that everything in the game fits onto a single uniform square tile. When you move, you can move in any direction. It takes you one full tile and turning is done 90° at a time. This holds true for the enemies as well, which makes combat an interesting experience. Enemies all have patterns in movements and attacks, which are not terribly hard to learn, but also means that where you have the fight is just as important as what you’re fighting. After all, you wouldn’t want to fight a ranged opponent without the ability to sidestep projectiles. Enemies will also work to surround your party, thus jamming up your movement and then hacking you and your party to death.
The subject of party is an important one in these games. You’ll have to build a party of four people across four races and three classes (five races and seven classes in the second game). Each race has their strength and weaknesses. Minotaurs would be great fighters, due to their high HP pool, and a skill that grants them bonus strength by looting skulls. Insectoid characters have a high bonus to magic which makes them ideal mages. Placement in the party matters as well. Keeping mages in the back protects them from front line damage, but makes them vulnerable to being attacked from behind. Make sure to keep your head on a swivel.
Enemies aren’t the only danger in Legend of Grimrock. The dungeon itself is just as harsh as the monsters inside of it. Traps and pitfalls are numerous. Walking up to a switch could open the door at the end of the hall or cause the ceiling to open and drop a giant grab onto your party’s collective heads. That button you press on the wall might just cause the ground underneath you to fall out. Of course, that means that with some clever thinking, turning those traps against the monsters in the dungeon isn’t too difficult. Just as there are traps and pitfalls, there are also hidden walls and secret passages littered throughout the great dungeon.
Legend of Grimrock and Legend of Grimrock II are both fantastic games that offer a whole lot to the player. LoG II has a larger cast of races and more classes, making its combat and game play a bit more dynamic. But LoG itself stands strong on its own and is now available for the iPad, which makes it a great game to check out and play on the go. If you’re playing on the PC, know that there is endless community content available for the game. Re-skins for monsters and new adventures are all easily accessible through the steam marketplace. What are you waiting for? Get out there and play Legend of Grimrock.