Legend of Grimrock

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Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock DVD cover.jpg
Developer(s) Almost Human Ltd.
Publisher(s) Almost Human Ltd.
Engine Proprietary Engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows,[1] Mac, Linux
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows
11 April 2012
Mac
19 December 2012
Linux
19 December 2012
Genre(s) Action role-playing, dungeon crawl
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Download

Legend of Grimrock (short: LoG) is a fantasy themed action role-playing game from Finnish indie video game developer "Almost Human". The video game is a 3D grid-based, real-time dungeon crawler inspired by classic 1980s and 1990s action role-playing games Dungeon Master,[2] Eye of the Beholder and Ultima Underworld.[3] It was released on 11 April 2012 for Microsoft Windows, and later for Mac and Linux in December.[1]

Legend of Grimrock is the debut game of Almost Human, a four-man indie development team formed in February 2011, which self-financed the title's development.[4] A sequel, Legend of Grimrock II, was released on the 15th of October 2014.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

In 2001 LoG began as Dungeon Master clone hobby project called Dungeon Master 2000 by a former Amiga demoscene coder.[5][6] Later it was renamed Escape from Dragon Mountain and released in its final version in 2004.[7][8] In early 2011 the developers decided to grow the project beyond being a simple clone and started aiming for commercial game quality.[9] The developers established an indie video game company called "Almost Human" located at Matinkylä, Espoo in Finland.[10] The four founding developers left the Finnish video game industry (Remedy Entertainment, Futuremark[10]) and started working on the game full time, now named Legend of Grimrock.[11] A forum and development blog was set up and updated frequently.

Release[edit]

The game was first released for the Windows platform on 11 April 2012 in DRM-free versions on the developer's website, gog.com and Steam. On 4 October 2012, with the release of patch 1.3.1, an editor was included which allowed the creation of user generated dungeons & content and lead to the development of a vivid modding community.[12] On 19 December 2012 the game was released a part of the Humble Indie Bundle 7[13] including newly developed ports of the game for Mac OS and Linux. While the announced Mac port was released, an also announced iOS port did not materialized up to now.[14]

In 2014 a live-action series, located in the Grimrock universe, from Wayside Creations (the makers of Fallout: Nuka Break) was funded through Kickstarter.[15]

Sequel[edit]

An announced sequel, Legend of Grimrock II, was released on the 15th of October 2014 for the Windows platform, again DRM-free on the developer's website, gog.com and Steam.

Gameplay[edit]

An in-game screenshot with the open inventory of a party member

Legend of Grimrock is a first-person action role-playing game with tile-based movement and realtime game mechanics. Players control a party of one to four characters which they move through a 3D rendered grid-based dungeon, a style of gameplay popular in RPG games from the 1990s such as Dungeon Master[9] and Eye of the Beholder, from which Legend of Grimrock draws heavy inspiration.

Gameplay consists of a combination of puzzle solving and combat. Characters within the party gain experience for slaying creatures and beasts within the dungeon, allowing them to increase in level and progress skills which enhance combat abilities and allow the casting of new spells, and equipment is obtained through exploration and solving of puzzles throughout the dungeon. Many of the harder puzzles throughout the game are designed as bonuses, being optional to the progression through the dungeon but granting superior items and equipment for solving them.

In reference to its classic roots, the player has the option to switch on "old-school mode" when beginning a new game. In this mode the game's map system is deactivated, leaving navigation through the dungeon's grid down to the player alone; this references the 1990s games which Grimrock is based on, which left remembering routes and paths through the dungeon completely down to the player. The game's digital manual contains a printable grid sheet which encourages players to chart their course through the game to this end.

Plot[edit]

On top of Mount Grimrock, an airship carries a group of prisoners escorted by armed knights. The prisoners, sentenced by "the court" for crimes against the King, have been sentenced to be thrown into the pit of Mount Grimrock, at which point their crimes will be absolved. However, no prisoner pardoned in this manner has ever returned.

On being sealed within the mountain, the prisoners make their way downwards through the levels of Grimrock Dungeon, guided by a disembodied voice which comes to them in their sleep promising that a way of escape for both it and the party awaits at the bottom of the dungeon. The party also occasionally finds notes from a previous wanderer of the dungeon named Toorum, who aside from offering clues to certain puzzles and hidden stashes of equipment, talks about his experiences of the dungeon's periodic tremors and the dungeon's design seemingly meant to be "traversed from the top down".

Eventually the party reaches the bottom level, signposted as "Prison". Inside, the source of the voice guides the player to reconstruct a broken machine which will activate a portal out of the dungeon, however upon assembling the parts and repairing it, the voice is revealed to be the machine itself, which manifests as a giant mechanical clockwork cube which attempts to crush the party. Escaping through a portal, the party locates the tomb of the creators of Grimrock Dungeon, who left behind scrolls explaining the dungeon's purpose of containing the machine, which they refer to as "the Undying One", until "the gears of time finally come to rest". The tomb also contains a weapon designed to be used in the event of the Undying One's escape from confinement.

Using the weapon, which temporarily stuns the machine, the party disassemble the parts which they used to repair the Undying One and deal a fatal blow to it using spells of lightning. The Undying One eventually explodes and falls apart, triggering another tremor which shakes the dungeon apart. The last scenes show the party running down a stone hallway of the dungeon, before a beam of pale blue light explodes from Mount Grimrock, ascending to the sky. A gigantic crater is shown to be all that remains of Mount Grimrock, the final fate of the prisoners seemingly unknown.

Reception[edit]

Legend of Grimrock
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.50%[16] (PC)
Metacritic 82/100[17] (PC)
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[2]
Game Informer 7.25/10[21]
GameSpy 90/100[20]
IGN 8.5/10[18]

Legend of Grimrock was generally well received by both critics and gamers upon release, garnering an average critic score of 82 from 49 reviews on Metacritic.[17] Reviewers generally praised the game for faithfully recreating the gameplay of old-school action-RPGs into the modern era.

GameSpy gave the game a 4.5/5 "Great" rating, saying that "the best aspect of Grimrock is its puzzles, which have been largely abandoned by RPG developers in this age of Internet hints and walkthroughs."[20] Destructoid's Patrick Hancock awarded the game a score of 95/100, claiming "Grimrock takes an old-school feel and injects it seamlessly into the modern era."[22] The game was #5 on Indie Game Reviewer's Top 10 Indie Games of 2012.[23]

Some reviewers commented negatively on the game's combat system. Jon Blyth of PC Gamer praised the game's revival of Dungeon Master's classic gameplay, but commented on the "exploitability" of the enemy AI, as "any single enemy, no matter how tough, can be dominated by a series of cowardly stab-retreats and sidesteps".[24] In their 7.25/10 review, Game Informer also stated that while the game's modern presentation of an old-school game format was a "beautiful marriage", it failed in that "its lazy monster design encourages the worst kind of tedious, mechanically abusive player behavior, though, which is a grave offense in the world of party-based RPGs."[21]

In January 2013, Almost Human announced that the game had sold over 600,000 copies.[25]

In October 2014, Almost Human announced that the number of sold copies had reached 900,000.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Buy Legend of Grimrock". Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  2. ^ a b Edge Staff (2012-04-12). "Legend Of Grimrock review". Edge. Retrieved 2012-05-09. Legend Of Grimrock isn’t a love letter to Dungeon Master, the 1987 blend of subterranean exploration, survival, switches and traps. It’s a near-facsimile. But that’s not a fact Almost Human is trying to hide; it’s the selling point. Legend Of Grimrock replicates a classic faithfully enough to massage the nostalgia glands of anyone who played the original, and it’s a test of the timelessness of an almost universally loved game. 
  3. ^ "Legend of Grimrock - Welcome!". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  4. ^ Caoili, Eric (2012-04-25). "How Legend of Grimrock's dev rolled the dice and won". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  5. ^ Dungeon-Master.com forum - Escape from Dragon Mountain (2001)
  6. ^ Internet Archive - dm2k (2002)
  7. ^ Internet Archive - Escape from Dragon Mountain
  8. ^ Dungeon Master Encyclopedia - Escape from Dragon Mountain
  9. ^ a b Häkkinen, Petri (2011-04-16). "Escape from Dragon Mountain". dungeon-master.com. Retrieved 2014-11-09. [...] a game that we think is no longer a clone but an original game (strongly) inspired by DM. 
  10. ^ a b http://www.grimrock.net/2011/07/14/the-almost-human-team/
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Dungeon Editor Released + Special Sale
  13. ^ Humble Bundle 7 includes Dungeon Defenders, Legend of Grimrock on techspot
  14. ^ Tiihonen, Antti (2011-09-22). "Our release plans". Retrieved 2014-11-09. 
  15. ^ "Legend of Grimrock: The Series". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  16. ^ "GameRankings: Legend of Grimrock (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Metacritic: Legend of Grimrock (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Nathan Meunier (9 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". IGN. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  19. ^ Jason Jasicki (22 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". IGN. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Jason Wilson (4 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". GameSpy. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Adam Biessener (4 April 2012). "Old And New Meet With Mixed Results - Legend of Grimrock". Game Informer. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  22. ^ Devore, Jordan (4 December 2012). "Review: Legend of Grimrock". Destructoid. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "Top 10 Best Indie GAMES OF 2012, Honorable Mentions and IGR’S Most Anticipated Games for 2013". Indie Game Reviewer. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  24. ^ Blyth, Jon (17 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "Recap 2012, Hello 2013! » Legend of Grimrock". Grimrock.net. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  26. ^ "News: Legend of Grimrock Sold 900,000 Copies". gamershell.com. 2014-10-02. Retrieved 2014-10-05. 

External links[edit]