Legend of Grimrock
Quick question…what’s the first dungeon crawler you remember playing? If anyone said the Diablo III beta…you may want to pay attention to the teacher instead of reading my blog. *Sigh* Youngins. Anyway, mine was Eye of the Beholder, released back in 1991 in the MS-DOS days. Some dungeon crawlers date back even further than that. It’s been over twenty years since I’ve played anything like those old school games…then Legend of Grimrock came along.
Legend of Grimrock is a new PC game that I’ve had the pleasure of playing recently. Updated graphics give a nice new look to dungeons while the gameplay captures the old school nostalgia of exploring hidden areas, one horizontal or vertical space at a time. Enemies and events happen in real-time, but the way everyone moves (including you) is a limited to going forwards, backwards, or to the side. You can drag the mouse to look around and explore things around you…you can also turn in this fashion. The younger generation may scoff at the idea that diagonal movement or attacks aren’t possible and jump back to Call of Duty to complain to their online friends…but those who are gaining in years might appreciate the simplicity and strategy that comes with that gameplay mechanic.
Players can pick up to four party members and assign them as a fighter, rogue, or mage. You’ll have a number of races to choose from and you’ll be able to assign points to skills based on how you want them to play. You will be able to assign more skill points as you level up. Your core attributes like strength or willpower are augmented by the gear you collect and equip. Each party member will require food, which you’ll pick up along the way, and at least one should have a torch in their hand to light the way. Torches run out so it is important to have some in reserve so that you’re not suddenly plunged into darkness. You’ll have two characters up front who are able to do any kind of damage they wish (melee, ranged, etc) while you’ll have two in the back that can only do ranged or magic attacks. It makes sense to have your meatshields up front and your ranged characters in the back.
Combat is fairly fluid. You’ll be strafing a lot to avoid attacks while right clicking on your party members’ weapons to get them to attack. There is a brief cooldown after attacking, the length of which is based on various stats. Experienced dungeon crawler players know the importance of not just standing there or allow themselves to be backed into a corner…they’ll find a relatively open area (if possible) to where they can attack once or twice and move to an adjacent square before the enemy can attack.
Not only are there things to fight, but loot to pick up and equip along with puzzles that must be solved to advance. Some puzzles are optional in that they might open a secret room that contains loot. Puzzles can be as simple as finding a semi-hidden button on a stone wall or as difficult as timing a rock throw so that it lands on a pressure plate before a rotating magical transporter picks you up and deposits you back to the puzzle’s starting area. Some involve placing torches on the wall based on subtle clues you might receive.
If you like dungeon crawlers and don’t have an issue with a limited movement mechanic (the same mechanic that was revolutionary back in the day) you might enjoy this. As always, check your PC specs and the game requirements before purchasing!
The game is currently going for $13.49 as of 4/13/12 and its full price is $14.99…which isn’t bad compared to the likes of other sixty dollar games that only offer a three-hour campaign.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can see video play sessions here: