By R.F. Mariano
The nostalgia has set in.. as I perused the screeners of Grimrock. I thought of Dungeon Master, Wayne Holder and the crew at FTL. I would say "those were the days"
if they were true but the fact is we have much better computer-wise nowadays.
I spent countless hours in DM and loved every second of it on my Atari ST.
Speaking of which, we recently lost a good friend, Jack Tramiel. Jack who survived Auschwitz, put Commodore and Atari computers on the map in the early 80's. Jack was 83.
Back to the present and Legend of Grimrock.
The developer "Almost Human" have done a wonderful job bringing the dungeon genre up to speed. In fact, this game is gorgeous. The animations are smooth as silk, the graphics and shadowing effects are simply put, stunning and the challenges and combat is second to none.
Grimrock will run fine on most any machine built within the last 5 years.
The overall appearance of LoG is outstanding even when compared to today's high dollar studio productions coming out of California..
This program's hardware compatibility is remarkable. The intricate planning that had to go into Legend of Grimrock (LoG) is more than evidenced in the release version 220.127.116.11 The vivid graphics and detailed textures are outstanding.As I began to play, I found myself wondering how I would do. After all, I remembered you had to be "finger nimble" with DM and that was twenty five years ago for me. I would soon learn just how engrossing this game was going to be. Aside form the various monsters in this Dungeon, the imaginative creativity to the overall game is excellent.
I cannot begin to recall how many times I jumped when surprise attacked by the "baddies". From the Ugguardians (pictured on the left) to the green blobs, poison spewing monsters and of course the formidable Ogre, who can heard all over the Dungeon. Truly the best points of satisfaction in this game are realized not after defeating a baddie, but when a difficult puzzle is solved and the rewards collected.
While you saw no immediate rewards when defeating a monster, except for the occasional key or in the case of nailing the Ogre, (pictured below), you gain a powerful weapon. The sighs of relief came quite often. As you moved along in the dungeon. Throughout your journey in the Dungeon you must keep your party well fed. While food is readily obtainable, its wise to store some for the times when it is scarce. The magical spells at your disposal are not only powerful but well thought out. The mage in your party will soon be relied upon to provide more and more solutions of survival as your progress deeper and deeper into the dungeon.
Tools for the mage are throughout the dungeon. As each of your party "levels up" they develop stronger attributes that are assigned by you with each "level up". The increases are necessities. As I progress through the dungeon, I'll continually update this review.
Please consider it to be a "Work in Progress".
Myself, I found it was easy to blow an entire day in the Dungeon. In fact, I know you will too. Right now, we see this game is in the top ten on Steam. I predict Legends of Grimrock will become one of the most popular games this year.
On a scale of one to ten I'll rate this puppy a 9.0 across the boards. Why not a solid ten? Because of certain puzzles in the game requiring uber "finger dexterity" not many older folks possess.
Hopefully, in an update that narrowing of accessibility is overcome. The developers, Almost Human, have announced a soon to be released update V 18.104.22.168 and a level editor.
The Review Part II
Here we are, on Level 10 with three levels to go and I must admit this game is so captivating and fully immersive, I've often been startled by monster attacks while fully engrossed in the game. The game is very well done.
My characters have gotten stronger, their spells are more powerful and the newly discovered goodies; Armor, weapons and potion ingredients all have increased attributes. Now, to the best part... The Ogres have returned in force
. They're in pairs now. Of course, with the enhanced character strengths the battles have become a bit more manageable. As noted previously, I will not go into details about the new monsters or the puzzles in the levels. I'll leave that to the spoilsports.
I will tell you about one very impressive Dungeon Creature though, Gormorgs
- Large flying hooded Mages
- You've seen statues of them throughout the the Dungeon.
The silent, hooded, tentacle-faced guardians of Mount Grimrock, the Goromorg are both deadly and frightening. As powerful magic-users, they favor ranged spells over all else.
While not especially tough in melee, their nimbleness and spell casting ability make them difficult to defeat. They are able to project magic shields around themselves, which minimize your initial attacks against them.
High health, very high damage, medium attack speed, fast movement speed, shield absorbs damage, flying abilities.
Shields don't last very long.
None (That I have seen thus far
Gormorgs are about the toughest enemy in the Dungeon I've faced so far. First encountered around Level 9 and seen until the end of the game, you'll likely have a lot of trouble dealing with even one, let alone four or five. Any resistance spells you know will be useful, especially Ice Shield and Shock Shield. Expect to die many times. Use tactics, run around use entrances to thwart their ganging up on you. Their weakness is their lack of close-quarters strength, but getting up-close to them can be difficult. Their own shields are tough, but can be destroyed with a few solid attacks - doing so will expose them to your full fury, and once those shields are gone they aren't quite so tough.
The Review Part III
(The Beginning of the End)
Part three finds me with a new set of Characters and a fresh start from level one. (Why? Because the new version permits custom player portraits.
) The update was indeed save game compatible but I wanted custom portraits for my characters.
Which now brings us to the deeper, more elaborate dungeons with greater challenges and niftier puzzles. From level Seven to the Temple levels the action is intense. More than once either the frustration levels or the surprises had me on the edge of my seat wanting revenge. I'll purposely avoid going into detail because I most certainly do not want to ruin the fun for anyone. I will however, show a few screeners while alluding to the marvels of Grimrock that await you.
You've already met the Gormorgs so let's look at another of the beasties. Giant stinging flies deep in Mount Grimrock, Shrakk Torr are not very deadly on their own, but are still dangerous enough to be cause for concern. Their extremely fast flying and tenacious bites can disorient even seasoned adventurers, as can the sickness those bites often cause.
They often appear with other baddies attempting to do you in. They succeed quite often. Their accomplices, aside from those you've already met, include scavengers, wardens, ice lizards and others I'll leave for you to discover.
It seems like it takes ages to get your "crew" to where you'd like them to be powerful enough to face the unknown. That's the real problem, judging the potential of the unknown adversaries, situations and puzzles that await you. Believe this; What you've seen up to now is the minor leagues compared to what's ahead.
You are in the "big leagues" now. No more fooling around. Your crew - like mine had better be ready for real troubles with the beasties and baddies.
No, I'll tell you nothing about how my crew is equipped or what the weapons and their attributes are. That's for you to discover and enjoy while doing so. All I'll tell you is "Every minute in Grimrock is absolutely engrossing fun that's filled with excitement you'll not soon forget."
My crew consists of two human fighters, a rogue and a mage. Their portraits are from user supplied portraits that I imported at the time of their creation.
My own experience is the fighters are indeed your frontline assault specialists. The rogue provides much needed support in the form of ranged weapons and specialty combat.
The strong fourth member is of course, the mage. I cannot stress the importance of paying particular attention to the mage's development and progress. The mage handles the "ICMBs" in the form of magical missiles like fireballs and other quite potent missiles at his disposal. It is very important to ensure his arsenal is not only well developed but that you are by now an expert at casting the spells. (you should be by now as you've had plenty of experience)
The Review Part IV
All I'll say is the final levels are "something to behold - something very special"
. From the moment you advance past the temple levels, the intensity of Grimrock elevates to such heights of immersion that you really do not want to stop until you have succeeded in your mission.
I will however, show you two screeners related to the ending of the game.....
As Mount Grimrock Implodes
The great crater left for all time....
I'm going to go thru again as Toorum!! Want to know how? Ask me in the forums.
Look for The Legend of Grimrock in the games section. I'll tell you this.... now, the fun really begins!
Get this game and enjoy the genre that started it all.. its more than worth the price - much more.
more to follow...
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Dual Core 2GHz Intel or 2.8GHz AMD
ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or better (512MB graphics memory or more. Shader Model 3.0 needs to be supported). Minimum supported resolutions 1280×720 and 1024×768.
Windows Vista or Windows 7
Quad Core 2.66GHz Intel or 3.2GHz AMD
ATI Radeon HD 2900 or NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or better (512MB graphics memory or more. Shader Model 3.0 needs to be supported)
About Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock is a dungeon crawling game with an old-school heart but with a modern execution. The game features survival, combat, magic, puzzles and role-playing elements. The player is a prisoner sentenced to death and exiled to the secluded Mount Grimrock for vile crimes he may or may not have committed. Unbeknownst to his captivators, the mountain is riddled with ancient tunnels and dungeons. The player's mission is to form a team and escape by descending through the mountain, level by level. During the journey the player encounters mysterious puzzles, deadly traps, ancient tombs and murderous monsters left behind by crumbled civilizations long perished now. Find out more at http://www.grimrock.net
About Almost Human
Almost Human Ltd. is a privately-held, independent Finnish game development studio founded in 2011 by four game industry veterans. Almost Human's mission is to combine the fun and coolness of games of the past with high-end production values and modern gameplay innovations. The founders strongly believe that a good recipe for making truly appealing games is to listen to and work closely in co-operation with the gamers. The studio's first title, Legend of Grimrock, a dungeon crawling game with an old-school heart, is to be released in April 11th 2012 for PC. Almost Human is based in Espoo, Finland. For more information visit http://www.grimrock.net
or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy Legend of Grimrock now for $14.99