Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Legend of Grimrock

Perhaps I am very bad at Legend of Grimrock. Even playing on normal difficulty my party of adventurers is tragically incapable of taking on any monster in the game in a straight up toe to toe fight. Hordes of spiders decimate my party with poison. Fiery undead warriors roast them and giant's squash them with one blow from  their mighty hammer. 

Yet despite my party's manifest lack of combat prowess we have managed to struggle on down to the eighth floor of the dungeon leaving a trail of dead monsters in our wake. My heroes may not be able to win a toe to toe fight but I have learned many ways to abuse the game mechanics to ensure that they never have one. Doors can be used to split up groups of mobs. Hiding behind a corner gives you a free hit at a mob who is chasing. Any open space may be used to perform the two step shuffle. The shuffle relies on the fact that players can strafe sideways on the games playing grid while monsters cannot.If you step sideways a monster must take a step and a turn to catch you allowing time for a free hit before you step away again.

Perhaps this is just the way the game is meant to be played. It is after all a homage to old school dungeon crawlers from the 1980's. Is that what happened in those games? I can't remember. I have spent too long playing games where enemies are just chaff to be swept aside by a min maxed hero, where one man with a machine gun can wipe out an entire army. Not so in Grimrock. In this glorious game your party of adventuers are just about the weakest creatures in the dungeon and you will need to avail of every small advantage if you are to survive.
The old school "hard" approach dooesn't just apply to combat. The game is miserly at doling out better gear and equipment and in most cases the good stuff is locked behind challenging puzzles. This is combined with a leveling system that requires you to specialise in certain weapons without even knowing whether or not you are going to find any good examples of that type to use. If you specialise in ranged weapons for example I certainly hope you find the bow hidden in level 3!

It sounds awful but somehow it all works wonderfully and Grimrock is a great great game. One big reason for this is that everything in the game has been polished to a high degree. The combat and the puzzles are challenging but not unfair even though it may seem that way at first. There may be a clue hidden somewhere. There may be a room you can run away into or a pillar you can run around. There is always a way to survive and progress.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Thallian said...

Thanks for the tip :)