Revisiting Grimrock

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).

Legend of Grimrock: Mushroom Man(Woman?)

Legend of Grimrock: Mushroom Man(Woman?)

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.

Legend of Grimrock: Stairs

Legend of Grimrock: Stairs

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.

Legend of Grimrock: Quadruple the fun!

Legend of Grimrock: Quadruple the fun!

Legend of Grimrock: Teleportation Puzzles

Legend of Grimrock: Teleportation 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.

Legend of Grimrock: Helpful Hints

Legend of Grimrock: Helpful Hints

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…

Legend of Grimrock: Luminous Blob Monster

Legend of Grimrock: Luminous Blob Monster

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.

Legend of Grimrock: Iron Doors

Legend of Grimrock: 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?!

Legend of Grimrock: Fireball Sword

Legend of Grimrock: Fireball Sword

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…

Heroes & Generals: Issues and a Question of Strategy

The primary issue that many people were facing when playing (or trying) to play this game  was accessing the game servers. After countless time outs and other issues you could eventually get into the browser side of things. These issues are discussed more thoroughly here:

Heroes & Generals: A very brief glimpse

and here:

First Impressions: Heroes & Generals

Luckily many of these problems were solved when they started a queuing system and allowing only a few onto the servers at the time. Very sensible! If somewhat annoying and the game loses some of its casual nature seeming as you have to wait for up to an hour or more to work your way through the queue of 8000+ players!

Heroes & Generals Queue Position

Heroes & Generals Queue Position

Otherwise apart from the queuing boredom the game works a lot better! (Although one particular evening the random game system did continue to place us in servers that gave us 200+ ping. Usually this latency isn’t horrendous but let me tell you… in H&G it makes it almost unplayable).

There is an issue with the balancing of matches though. Having chosen the US for this particular war I found myself with a bunch of new players (each new “war” seems to reset your weapons… or perhaps my German counterpart is still well equipped, we will get back to you!) lacking anti-tank weaponry or tanks for themselves. After a few successful captures a handful of German tanks come rolling up the hill and annihilate EVERYONE. We lose every capture point and are driven back to our main base. Which we eventually lost.

This is frustrating in itself but it seemed that most people lacked even the most basic concepts of tactics, strategy or even common sense. We couldn’t kill the tanks so it is best to ignore them (the safest place is beside said tank as the turrets can’t reach you!) and we should do what we were sent to do. CAPTURE THE POINTS.
But for some reason the majority of soldiers decided it would be sensible to play a game of cat and mouse with the tanks or stay at base and snipe away with their unscoped rifles. Myself (and all credit to a couple of others who also tried) I tried to run or sneak to the next capture point and try and take it. This works charmingly well as the majority of Germans are too busy crashing about in their tanks to take notice. But it only works for so long and luck can be only in your favour for so long!

Having killed the handful of Germans trying to prevent me from neutralising the point my luck eventually ran out and I had a grenade thrown into my face. What puzzled and frustrated me is that if I, one man, and a not fantastic fps player at that could achieve this then why wasn’t anyone else trying? Or even a group of us! It boggled the mind.

It wasn’t as if it was difficult to get near the points! One map has our spawn directly in the line of sight of the next highly defensible capture point (walls and crows nests for snipers) and I casually sauntered my way in the open on a bicycle having no opposition! Even in the capture point there was only one defender. (Again luck was against me and 3 vs 1 later meant I was never going to come out on top of that!)

 

This game has massive potential once everything calms down server side I just hope that people with a reasonable amount of brain cells join me in the next few battles!

 

(P.S. There is also no points from an “assist kill” so only last hits count! Hmm!)