Video Game: Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock
is a 2012 indie RPG developed by Almost Human Ltd and available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Played from a First-Person Perspective
with a party of four Player Characters
, the game is a throwback to Dungeon Crawling
classics like Dungeon Master
and Eye of the Beholder
The game begins when four prisoners, created by the player
, are accused of vile acts of treason by the court, but by the "mercy" of the king, the prisoners are given a chance to atone for their crimes via the ancient prison of Mount Grimrock. If the prisoners can make their way through the prison and escape it via the mountain's base, their crimes will be forgiven and they will be free to go. There is just one problem: Mount Grimrock is a den of evil and mystery, home to countless monsters, traps and other dangers. Will you survive?
The game is played in real-time, and provides the players with many puzzles to solve, harkening back to the RPGs
of yore. A sizable amount of fan-made campaigns
for the first game (created with its built-in Dungeon Editor) are available through Steam Workshop and Nexusmods.
Due to the positive reception of the first game, a sequel titled Legend of Grimrock II
was announced. It was released on October 15, 2014.
Legend of Grimrock provides examples of:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: Reaching the level cap of 50 requires several billion experience points, with monsters giving around a thousand at most.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: If you get caught by the Final Boss, it's an instant game over. It's a giant metal cube whose only "attack" is to roll on and crush you.
- The Alcatraz: The eponymous Mount Grimrock, at least the higher levels with numerous jail cells and shackles hanging on the walls. Near the end of the game it's revealed that the real threat imprisoned within is the Undying One.
- All There in the Manual: The "Ramblings of an Old Sage" found in the manual fleshes out the backstory of the game, detailing Lord Perel's ill-fated expedition into the dungeon and the reason the king is sending prisoners into its depths.
- A Load of Bull: One of the races you can choose in character creation.
- Already Undone for You: At least Toorum and no doubt other convicts have gone through the dungeon before, but all the traps, treasures and monsters are still there. Lampshaded by one of Toorum's notes.
Toorum: There have been people in these hallways before me but when I went through this place here it seems like I was the first to open all the doors and press all the buttons. There has to be some people who oversee the dungeons.
- Always Accurate Attack: While melee attacks have a chance to miss every time, ranged attacks such as spells and throwing weapons have a 100% accuracy. Since accuracy is based on Dexterity and damage on Strength, this actually makes the strong but clumsy minotaurs the most effective archers.
- Amplifier Artifact: Shaman Staff and Zhandul's Orb boost the damage of Earth and Fire spells respectively.
- Ancient Artifact: The Weapon of Power
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Sword skill Thrust.
- Arrows on Fire: Fire Arrows and Fire Quarrels. Every spell school can enchant projectiles with that school's element.
- Artifact of Doom: The Undying One.
- Awesome but Impractical: Many of the final perks in skill trees. For example the final perk of Spellcraft reduces all spell costs by 50% which is great on paper - but getting it also means your mage won't have any real spells, making them dead weight for most of the game and the perk itself practically pointless.
- Back Stab: Rogues specializing in Assassination deal extra damage when attacking enemies from behind, and the final perk of the skill tree makes all backstabs lethal!
- Badass: There are notes scattered around by one Toorum, who basically solo'd the entire dungeon. The dungeon which you are currently having difficulty with a party of four. Toorum is also a SecretCharacter if you manage to unlock him, his stats truly are Badass.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: You can create a character specializing in hand-to-hand combat with the Unarmed skill tree. Adding the "Fist Fighter" trait pre-game is always helpful too.
- Big Bad: A sentient mechanical cube known as the Undying One imprisoned in Mount Grimrock a long time ago. Exactly why is left unclear, as in-game the only things it can do is communicate through dreams and... roll around.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Gets worse the deeper you get.
- Bilingual Bonus: The name of the unique axe Norja means Norway in the Finnish language, and its Flavor Text speaks of the "fjord-dwellers", fjords being a well-known landmark of the country.
- In addition, one of the locations shown on the world map found in the game extras is called Kalevala.
- Black Mage: The game has no healing spells and most of the Mage spells are damaging ones.
- Bonus Material: The game comes with a separate world map and printable graph paper for map drawing, amongst other things.
- Boss Banter: For a mechanical cube, the Undying One is quite vocal.
- Boss Vulnerability: While initially unkillable, finding the Weapon of Power will allow you to momentarily stop the Big Bad in place which in turn allows you to remove the parts you previously fixed it with, making it vulnerable.
- Bottomless Pits: Averted, none of the pits in the game are bottomless and in fact often have valuable items and secrets in them.
- Brutal Bonus Level: The slime dungeon and the Fighter's Challenge are far more difficult than the levels they're hidden on.
- Combat Tentacles
- Commonplace Rare: There's a single piece of pie in the game, and finding it is even worth an achievement.
- Cosmetic Award: Finding the six well-hidden treasures scattered around the dungeon doesn't reward you with anything except an achievement and a nice "7/7 treasures found" in your statistics page.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: Every wall tile on a floor looks the same; however this works to your advantage as looking for hidden switches would otherwise be very frustrating.
- Creator Cameo: The four names written on the walls of the aptly named Tomb of Designers are the names of the four game developers, spelled backwards.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure: Averted, getting close to your carry limit will slow you down but only if you go above it will you stop moving completely.
- Critical Existence Failure: Played straight, however.
- Critical Hit: All physical attacks have a chance to be critical hits. Improved Critical doubles this chance for melee and Master Archer/Throwing Master for ranged attacks.
- Damage Over Time: The classic poison, a common hazard in the dungeons of Mount Grimrock, particularly Level 3.
- Deadly Gas: Available as a spell, released as an attack by certain enemies and used in a number of traps as well.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Unlike others in this genre. If party members die, they may easily be brought back to life at no cost at a Healing Checkpoint. The worst that may happen is they'll miss out on experience points while they are dead.
- Death Trap
- Difficulty Levels: The most noticeable difference between Easy, Normal and Hard is the monsters' movement and turning speed, making them a lot trickier to avoid if playing on the highest difficulty.
- Door to Before: Handy shortcuts tend to open up back to the savepoint after you go through something strenuous.
- Dungeon Crawling: A genre that was missed by many old-school gamers returned.
- Elaborate Equals Effective
- Empty Room Until The Trap: "Enter thy grave"
- Everything Fades: Or, more specifically, explodes in a shower of sparks on death.
- Faux First-Person 3D: This is part of what makes the game special; it has a Dungeon Master style UI and gameplay that was used when 3D rendering in video games wasn't a cheap or easy-to-make option. This is done partly to instill nostalgia in "gaming veterans" of this genre.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief
- Fire Balls: Probably the most powerful spell in the game in terms of damage.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: and Earth
- Flaming Sword: The Fire Blade, which actually shoots Fire Balls when swung.
- Foreshadowing: You get rampant dreams with a being who is supposedly in the bottom of the dungeon. The background of the dream is surrounded by cogs, which hint at its mechanical nature.
- Also, in the first level, you can activate a switch which leads into a secret area which has an ominous statue and some loot. It's an illithid like being, which you will fight deeper down the dungeon.
- The foreshadowing starts even before then. The introduction movie at the start of the game shows much larger versions of the ominous statues standing around the entrance hole to the dungeon.
- Fragile Speedster: The Shrakk Torr are extremely fast insects but fall to a couple of blows. Also any character wearing the purely evasion-based Lurker armor. Rogues, especially Lizardman rogues, generally end up as this.
- Friendly Fireproof: Averted; while you can't directly hit yourself, casting a spell while facing a wall or actions like throwing a dagger through a portal which sends it back will hurt your own party members.
- Genre Throwback: To pseudo-3D tile-based dungeon crawlers that existed in various consoles and home computers during 1980s.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Surprisingly dangerous.
- Gladiator Subquest: The Fighter's Challenge
- Glass Cannon: Mages, which is why their place is in the back row. Watch out for ambushes or traps and spells that damage the whole group, though.
- Rogues usually retire to the back row after picking up the Level 12 Assassination ability (melee attacks can be used from the back) or using missile weapons, after which attention to their protection and vitality usually wanes.
- Goomba Stomp: Falling into a pit and landing on an enemy will immediately kill it (and net the player an Achievement). However, you'll still take falling damage.
- Gradual Regeneration: Sleeping shortens the wait.
- Healing Checkpoint: Crystals of Life, usually found once per level.
- Healing Potion: The only way to restore health in the middle of combat, barring fighting near a Crystal of Life. You'll find a couple, but most you'll have to brew yourself.
- Herd Hitting Attack: The biggest advantage of spells over other attacks is their ability to damage every enemy on a single tile. For the same reason they're also one of the biggest threats against your group.
- Heroic Mime: Your group members never say a word, though their heroism is debatable since they're prisoners just trying to survive.
- He Was Right There All Along: The Big Bad in the middle of floor 12. And you just released it.
- Hint System: Various pieces of text written on the walls or scrolls often give hints for puzzle solutions, and in the case of at least one puzzle, several failures will open up a room with an additional tip written inside.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: By design the most effective combat strategy in the game, provided you have the space to do so and don't get surrounded by enemies.
- Indie Game: Legend of Grimrock was created by only four people.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Dismantler and Sword of Nex for swords, the Icefall Hammer for maces and the Ancient Axe for, well, axes.
- Invisibility: One of the spells in the Air school.
- Invisible Grid: As per genre tradition.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Humans during character creation, with them having average stats, unlike the other races that are meant for a particular class, but also having the most skill points starting off.
- Jump Scare: If you get attacked while resting, the black screen will smash back to life out of nowhere.
- Language of Magic: The spell system is based on runes presumably spoken by the caster and representing different concepts such as Fire, Balance and Spirituality.
- Last Lousy Point: On the last floor with two or three secrets missing? Hopefully you're not a completionist, or you'll be backtracking through the entire dungeon with a fine comb.
- Life Drain: The Assassin's Dagger does exactly this with every hit.
- Lightning Bruiser: Toorum
- Masters sword fighters are basically this, getting double attack speed with swords at 50 skill points in addition to health, strength, dexterity and evasion. Adepts of Maces and Axes fall into Mighty Glacier territory however.
- Lizard Folk: One of the races you can choose in character creation.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Destroying the Undying One causes the entire mountain to explode!
- Long-Range Fighter: Spellcasters and characters specializing in missile or throwing weapons specialize in weakening and destroying enemies from a safe distance.
- Magic Knight: Toorum has access to both physical and magical abilities.
- The Maze: Without the automap the game can easily become this.
- Monster Closet
- Mighty Glacier: Ogres and especially Wardens move and turn very slowly, but they can potentially kill a character in one hit and have a ton of health. They can, however, make a rushing charge, not stopping until they hit a wall... or you.
- Fighters, especially Minotaur fighters, with maces or axes, maces with accent on survivability and axes on damage. Both are quite slow compared to the rest of your party on high levels.
- Mushroom Man: Herders. They come in three kinds: one is a basic mook, another shoots poison projectiles, and the last spews poison clouds.
- Nintendo Hard: Par for the course.
- One-Man Army: Over the course of the game, you find the notes of Toorum who has been advancing through the dungeon entirely by himself.
- One Size Fits All: Huge minotaurs and fragile insectoids can wear the same armor, provided they have the proficiency to do so.
- Organ Drops: One of your primary sources of nutrition.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: You can get an achievement for killing one, good luck with that.
- No Experience Points for Medic: Characters who don't damage the enemies you kill will quickly fall behind in experience, which is especially a problem for your back row characters early on. Equipping them with spears is a good idea, allowing them to attack and be useful until ranged weapons and spells become available.
- Player Mooks: You control four prisoners, and that's as far as characterization goes.
- Point of No Return: While you can backtrack as many floors as you like at any time to search for treasure and secrets, you should do so before inserting the four mechanical parts on floor 12.
- Poison Mushroom: Poignant Potions have no other uses but to poison you should you brew and drink one.
- Power Equals Rarity: Many of the best items are one-of-a-kind and often hidden behind a puzzle or in a secret room.
- Player Party
- Pressure Plate: There are plates which remain active as long as something is on them, be it a player, a rock or something else.
- Promoted to Playable: Toorum
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Male and female party members have no statistical differences, and any bonuses or penalties depend on a character's race.
- Quad Damage: Speed Potions and Sulphurous Potions.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your group consists of four prisoners who are promised freedom should they survive through the dungeon alive.
- Rare Candy: There are three hidden magical tomes in the game, each giving permanent bonuses to the character who reads it.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: In the game's universe, lizardmen are generally mistrusted and treated as outcasts. But luckily, you can play as one!
- Respawning Enemies: While most monsters never respawn, there are a few exceptions, generally either for a puzzle or to prevent making the game Unwinnable due to running out of food sources.
- Secret Character: If you find Toorum's remains, use them on a Crystal of Life, start a new game, enter the name "Toorum" and press enter, you start the game with Toorum who is alone but has access to a unique combination of skills and the ability to move twice as fast as normal party members.
- Secret Level: Spoiled if you look at the achievements in the steam version.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: There is an Old School Mode, wherein the player doesn't have the luxury of the automap.
- Shiny Sense: The various keys you'll find usually shine to make them easier to detect.
- Solo-Character Run: Forced in Toorum mode.
- Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Since you can hear monsters' movement through doors and walls, memorizing the sounds they make will give you an idea of what you're about to face.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dungeon Master and the old-school dungeon crawling genre in general.
- Squishy Wizard: Your Mage will probably drop in a few hits should he become exposed to enemy attacks.
- Unless you invest in Staff Defense and give the Natural Armor trait to your Insectoid mage.
- Stat Sticks: Mage weapons such as Whitewood Wand enhance spellcasting but can't be used to actually hit things.
- Stock Video Game Puzzle: Puzzles are one of key elements found in the dungeon.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Just before the 3rd level, you come across a sack which contains the items necessary to create potions. The antidote comes especially useful in the 3rd level, since it is full of poisonous spiders.
- Techno Wreckage: The final levels of the dungeon.
- Tele-Frag: Teleport to a tile occupied by an enemy for a free kill.
- Telepathy: Throughout the game, a mysterious voice communicates with the party through collective dreams.
- Temple of Doom: The Goromorg Temple, which spans two entire levels.
- Trap Door: These can be found throughout the dungeon and have to be closed to be crossed over.
- Or you could fall down them, since they all lead to isolated areas in the floor below you, with teleports leading back up, and sometimes containing secrets!
- Sometimes you find nothing, and this too is lampshaded in one of Toorum's notes found after falling down a particular pit:
Toorum: I know, I was disappointed too when I took the jump just to discover that there was nothing useful here.
- Trauma Inn: While there obviously are no inns, sleeping on the cold dungeon floor will heal even the worst wounds or poisonous spider bites. Napping won't revive a dead character, however.
- Treacherous Quest Giver: The voice in your dreams.
- Trickster Mentor: The Island Master in the second game.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted with weapons and shields, played straight with clothing and armor.
- Useless Useful Spell: Pretty much every spell in the Earth school due to their reliance on poison, which deals damage very slowly and doesn't work on the undead.
- You Will Not Evade Me: The Final Boss will try to crush you relentlessly, making the fight against it quite hectic since failing to dodge leads to an immediate Total Party Kill.
- Wall Master: The first encounter with the Tentacles will probably leave you paranoid for the rest of the game.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Like the Dungeon Crawlers of old, your party members need to be fed regularly. However, food isn't that scarce, and starved party members will simply stop regenerating health whilst resting.
- With This Herring: You don't even have basic clothing at the beginning.
- Zerg Rush: Scavengers◊ are some of the weakest enemies in the game, but they tend to appear in such overwhelming numbers that the few times you encounter them are some of the most dangerous situations you'll find yourself in.
- Zip Mode: To make up for the lack of party members, Toorum has the unique Thunderstruck trait which doubles his movement speed.