Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Legend of Grimrock

Go To
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 produced and released on October 15, 2014. Set on an Island of Mystery instead of inside a single dungeon complex, it adds a new race (the cheese-loving, mutation-prone Ratlings) and several new classes, along with an overworld connecting various dungeons.

Legend of Grimrock I and II provides examples of:

  • 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. Once you unlock Toorum mode, you get to find out how he managed it: he can move twice as fast as other party members.
  • One Size Fits All: Huge minotaurs and fragile insectoids can wear the same armor, provided they have the proficiency to do so.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Reaching the skill cap of 50 requires over 100,000 experience points, with monsters giving around a thousand at most. It's reachable with normal endgame stats, but only if you put every level-up into a single skill.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Arrows on Fire: Fire Arrows and Fire Quarrels. Every spell school can enchant projectiles with that school's element.
  • Artifact Title: The sequel. While the original game is named after its location in the dungeons of Mount Grimrock, the sequel takes place in an entirely different setting, the Isle of Nex.
  • 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.
    • The Ogre Hammer. It hits as hard as the Icefall Hammer and you obtain it 5 floors earlier, but the cost for that damage is an even greater accuracy penalty than most maces have.
  • 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!
  • 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.
    • In the sequel, the Island Master is also prone to taunting you from atop his Lindworm.
  • 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.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Keelbreach Bog in the sequel.
  • Chained Heat: Why are the four prisoners walking in such a tight 2x2 formation in the first place? As the manual states and the intro shows you, the four are literally shackled together at the legs. The manual explains further that this is because the King who sentences prisoners to Mount Grimrock believes they would have no choice but to work together this way.
  • Challenge Run: There is an Old School Mode, wherein the player doesn't have the luxury of the automap. The sequel goes further, giving you the option to make all save crystals single-use should you feel so inclined.
  • Cherry Tapping: The sequel encourages this with an achievement for killing an enemy with a thrown set of leg armor. In short, they want you to beat something to death with a pair of pants.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Unseen One of the first game is never fought directly. You only ever see its tentacles emerging from sewer gratings.
  • Commonplace Rare: There's a single piece of pie in the game, and finding it is even worth an achievement.
  • Cosmetic Award: Finding the seven 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Degraded Boss: The sequel's first bosses, the Viper Roots, make several more appearances past Shipwreck Beach.
  • 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.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: The sequel adds a number of them, which affect a character's starting health and energy (and determines their growth per level), and confer a few unique traits.
  • Faux First-Person 3D: The appearance of this is part of what makes the game special; it has a Dungeon Master style UI and gameplay, like what 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. The trope is ultimately subverted, however. Although it is not possible to move, except on the game's square grid, it is actually possible to look in any direction, and doing so reveals that the maps are actually rendered in full 3D.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: In the first game. The second adds more classes.
  • 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. It's also possible to outrun your own projectile spells (fireball, etc), and thus get hit by them.
  • Genre Throwback: To pseudo-3D tile-based dungeon crawlers that existed in various consoles and home computers during the 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.
  • He Was Right There All Along: The Big Bad in the middle of floor 12. And you just released it.
  • 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.
  • 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. A rather humorous consequence of this is getting an enemy parked on the other side of a door or gate, raise it, immediately pound it with an attack by your entire party and then close the gate before they get a chance to fight back. You can even rest between killing enemies while doing this, basically forcing the monsters to just sit there and watch the prisoners fall asleep right in the middle of combat.
  • I Need You Stronger: In Legend of Grimrock 2, the Island Master has been putting these shipwrecked innocents through hell, testing their minds and bodies to the utmost because he’s trying to find and train his replacement.
  • 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.
  • Island of Mystery: The setting of the second game. It has a full set of ancient ruins (including a pyramid), talking statues, extremely dangerous wildlife, a vicious band of Ratmen pirat(e)s and the mysterious Island Master who likes to leave taunting messages to anybody unfortunate enough to wash up on its shores.
  • It's Personal: Some time after beating the Ratling Boss in the sewers, players can enter the Hamlet of Stormbreach to find it crawling with Ratlings and a Boss. When killed, he drops a letter from the Island Master inviting him to the island to deal with the people who killed his twin brother.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of X
  • Lethal Joke Character: The farmer class in the sequel starts off with rather weak stats and about as useful in combat as one would expect an actual farmer to be compared to career warriors and wizards. However, farmers have one advantage that, if properly taken advantage of, makes them surprisingly effective: they gain XP from eating food rather than fighting enemies. With the right combination of XP-boosting items (see Sequence Breaking below) and constant binging, a farmer can over-level and outstrip the rest of the party.
  • Life Drain: The Assassin's Dagger does exactly this with every hit.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Master sword fighters get double attack speed with swords at 50 skill points in addition to health, strength, dexterity and evasion.
  • 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!
  • A Load of Bull: One of the races you can choose in character creation.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: The Wormbound family, who acted as ambassadors for dragons. It gains a second meaning for the members you meet.
  • Mega Dungeon: The first game is set in the interior of Mount Grimrock, which has been hollowed out into a thirteen-level dungeon. Criminals, including the player party, are thrown in at the top and can earn their freedom if they make it to the bottom.
  • Metroidvania: The sequel has some Metroidvania elements, with a non-linear world and early closed paths that will become openable later. However, the means to open them are usually through puzzle solutions rather than new abilities.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • Ogres and especially Wardens move and turn very slowly, but they can potentially kill a character in one hit.
    • 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.
  • Monster Closet
  • Multiple Endings: In the second game, there are two.
  • 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.
  • No Body Left Behind: Enemies disappear in a flash of sparks.
  • 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.
    • Averted in the sequel: the entire party gains experience whenever anyone kills monsters.
  • Not Completely Useless: 2 has "Dispel", which is a low-damage spell with an awkward casting sequence (the only spell in the game that requires all nine runes). The only time you will ever use it is against Air Elementals — because it's the only spell that can damage them.
  • Not the Intended Use: Minotaurs were designed to be powerful but potentially inaccurate front line warriors with high health, strength, and defense, but low stats in other areas (like accuracy). Logically they'd be best fit to be a front line tank right? In the first game, they actually work best as rogue-ish archers due to bow damage scaling off strength rather than dexterity. This is due to the fact that in the first game projectiles never miss, so minotaurs' low accuracy doesn't matter with a bow, but their high strength certainly does. In 2, even projectiles can miss, making dexterity much more important for an archer, making Minotaurs not as suited for the role anymore.
  • 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.
  • Player Mooks: You control four prisoners, and that's as far as characterization goes.
  • Player Party
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ratmen: In the sequel, Ratlings exist both as NPC enemies (with a distinct piratical theme) and as a playable race. They start out with fewer total stat points than other races, but they can gain random permanent stat bonuses from eating cheese and can take a trait that will grant them a random stat increase at each levelup.
  • 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.
  • Sequence Breaking: In the sequel, Sleet Island and the back half of Cemetery are locked behind puzzles whose solutions are found in the Archives, requiring completion of the Ruins of Desarune dungeon to reach them. Once you know the puzzle solutions, on a second playthrough you can access these areas in the first hour of the game, which lets you get a very early Spirit Mirror Pendant (which increases XP gain by 25%, and so is worth more the earlier it's found).
  • Shiny Sense: The various keys you'll find usually shine to make them easier to detect.
  • Shout-Out: In the second game you can find the "Orb of Vilson" on a beach. It's an extremely weak throwing weapon described in-game as "A spherical object made of a strange, elastic substance." Yep, it's a volleyball decorated with a red handprint.
  • Solo-Character Run: Forced in Toorum mode, but available in regular playthroughs as well.
  • 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 third level, you come across a sack which contains the items necessary to create potions. The antidote comes especially useful in the third level, since it is full of poisonous spiders.
    • Ceremonial Chamber in the sequel. It's the top level of the Pyramid of Umas, reached after getting through extremely gruelling combat and puzzles on the lower levels. It contains several herbs and potions, some great equipment upgrades, and no enemies whatever. It also contains a teleporter... which dumps you in the middle of Barren Desert, a zone swarming with mummies. You will have to, at the very least, fight your way through dozens to claim a safe corner for your party.
  • Techno Wreckage: The final levels of the dungeon.
  • Tele-Frag: Teleport to a tile occupied by an enemy for a free kill. The sequel even has an achievement for this!
  • 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.
  • Weight and Switch: One recurring trap is an important item weighing down a pedestal in an alcove, which opens walls filled with enemies when released. Placing something unneeded in the alcove before taking the item can keep them from opening.
  • With This Herring: You don't even have basic clothing at the beginning.
  • 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.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The true ending of the second game. Upon defeating the Island Master, you find his last letter, explaining the history of the island and his true purpose in bringing you to it-he was the guardian of Nexus (home to the words of creation, the incantations used to shape the world), and sought to test your suitability as his replacement. For defeating him, your party inherits his title of Island Master, ownership of Castle Nex, and his role as guardian, and you can now enter Nexus.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by the Fighter's Challenge, which teleports you into the middle of a 7x7 grid filled with Scavengers and is one of the hardest battles in the game.
  • Zip Mode: To make up for the lack of party members, Toorum has the unique Thunderstruck trait which doubles his movement speed.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: