Legend of Grimrock Review

Legend of Grimrock

Grimrock imprisons players. Its legend intrigues them. Instinct drives them.

There’s something very primal about Legend of Grimrock. This simple, first-person dungeon crawler taps into basic human survival instinct and the will to escape captivity in such a way that players are compelled to conquer its formidable challenge, becoming captives of the game itself until the moment the credits roll. Parties may die and be resurrected dozens of times along the way, but no matter what, players must survive the experience. Grimrock tortures its human prisoners through play, and torments them during periods of rest.

Legend of Grimrock

I can’t leave the party there, six levels deep, in a state of limbo. What lies ahead? Will my rogue, mage, and pair of fighters reclaim freedom? This uncertainty is disturbing. I must return to Grimrock and lead them forward, downward, toward greater trials and fiercer foes.

Legend of Grimrock doesn’t demand, but inspires, commitment to ultimate success. The rare opportunity to hunt monsters for food and experience points — what would be called grinding in other games; a disgusting prospect — is leaped at in Grimrock. It’s a means to survive the dark rooms and unknown paths ahead. One carefully manages equipment, scrutinizing and comparing new finds, weighing the efficacy of different combinations among these prisoners-turned-warriors, and simply dumping whatever is no longer a useful option; any extra weight must be shed, and there’s no place to sell old shields in this labyrinthine would-be tomb.

Legend of Grimrock

Paying attention to detail becomes second nature. Check every wall; a secret switch that activates a hidden door may reveal a small cache of herbs or a new weapon. Read every scrap of parchment; a clue to a puzzle – ahead or behind – may be found in the ink. Rune combinations are memorized to cast elemental spells, and notes jotted on the map — virtual or sketched on graph paper on the player’s desk — identify points of interest or obstacles to be overcome. Nothing is taken lightly. There is concentration and purpose behind every movement.

And what awaits at the bottom? Why are the walls more refined as I go deeper? This is not just a cave, is it? There’s something more, and that mystery will be revealed if I push onward. Those who came before learned some of the answers, but I must know them all. I will.

I will survive. I will escape. I will conquer Grimrock.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

2 Comments on "Legend of Grimrock Review"

  1. Dan Crabtree May 11, 2012 at 1:43 am -

    I mean it looks nice. Sounds like a real gauntlet. I’d have to be in the committing mood, I wager.

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