Having played the Legend of Grimrock a while back and having enjoyed it (although never completed it) I thought I’d play it again. And I find I still enjoy it but I also remembered why I stopped playing. The game is hard and frustrating. Not too hard! But you will be saving often. The puzzles as well can often take a few times to get right (the maze of madness is aptly named and taught me to always look out for secret buttons).
The game is an RPG with your standard rogue, mage, warrior set up and you have a party of four. You may only move forwards, left, right or back in a grid system but you are able to turn on the spot and face any direction. The fighting mechanics work in that the front two of your party (you are all chained up having been sent to prison) may fight hand to hand whilst those at the back need to use ranged, magic or weapons with “reach” (such as spears). The objective of the game is to escape “Grimrock” by moving your way further and further down through the prison.
At the end of each level (and at other points) you are greeted with stairs leading down to each level. The levels get progressively harder. Harder enemies (/smarter) and trickier puzzles.
Or to make the game trickier often they bunch enemies together into groups (see above). Instead of your usual 1 spear thrusted towards your face you are now greeted with four! The puzzles often involve teleporting yourself or a rock to open or access the next section. These often involve having to memorise a set of directions to make your way through (forwards, forwards, right, back, forwards, left etc.). And as before mentioned often the puzzles are unsolvable unless you push a button or later on some sections are only accessible if you have a certain item in your hand (hint hint for level 6).
Above the main quest is a storyline that develops. Every now and then you are met with notes from other prisoners, or the mountain shakes or cryptic messages are given to you by scrolls.
The game is designed to become more challenging. These helpful hints are often left out in the later levels and you are forced to guess / improvise. Level 6 (I’ve just completed it) for example requires the removal of a seemingly random torch to allow progress to access a secret. No hints anywhere that I found (excluding the forums…). Often you are met with bizarre creatures, spiders and odd mushroom magic creatures I can understand but giant crabs? The connection is less obvious and weirder still are the glowing blobs in level 7…
Many of the puzzles lead to the accessing of keys which allow you to access treasure rooms. These rooms are found often behind iron doors.
The only advice we can give when playing this gain is be sensible when levelling up. Your mage (or any character) works best when you level up a single magic type (/weapon type for others). Although there are often weapons that you may not be skilled with that may come in handy. I mean, who doesn’t like a sword that shoots fireballs?!
And when fighting always try and find a square room 2×2 or larger and fight your opponents 1 by 1. This gives you the chance to dodge all damage incoming if you are quick enough! We have yet to find a creature that hasn’t succumbed to this tactic (except perhaps the ogre…).
I look forward to continue playing this game and hopefully complete it! If I don’t get too frustrated like last time…