Grimrock links - ARTICLES and REVIEWS

Talk about anything Legend of Grimrock 1 related here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Marmotte
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:58 pm

25 first minutes gameplay

Post by Marmotte » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:53 am

Hi,

If you want to see the first 25 minutes of the LOG gameplay you can show this video :shock:
Me i prefers waiting :)

User avatar
PSY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Grimrock links

Post by PSY » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:36 pm

http://psy-labs.com
Coders don't die, they just gosub without return

User avatar
Darklord
Posts: 2001
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:44 pm
Location: England

Re: Grimrock links

Post by Darklord » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:02 pm

Aww there's no English Eurogamer review...

Daniel.
A gently fried snail slice is absolutely delicious with a pat of butter...

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:18 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Grimrock links

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:13 pm

Time to hone my translation skills, I guess :lol: .

So here you are:

The last torch is burning down. Rations and potions have been exhausted long since. And now, to make matters worse, my pencil broke.

Let's just recall the past 20 years of role play gaming and try to pinpoint where things, more and more, got the short end of the stick. The short answer would be: Manifold. The answer we're looking for - and comprehending the history behind would probably go beyond the scope of this text and, honestly, be quite boring and also highly speculative - looks like this: It's the design and, consequently, the reception of the traditional dungeon in games. Simply put, the dungeon just isn't what it used to be. Take Skyrim, or The Witcher 2, or Amalur; even adaptations of pen & paper RPGs treat dungeons as something that has to be passed through and done with in 20 to 50 minutes, decorated with a slightly larger enemy at the end.

The 80s and 90s were nothing like that. Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, finally lead to perfection by Ultima Underworld (the first one, that is): All of them had a very unique concept of the dungeon. A dark, maze-like place, filled with treasure and fraught with danger. A whole adventure of its own, without the fundamental need for an outside world, which in turn becomes the ultimate reward: Laden with booty, rich with experience, leveled to the max, after days or even weeks of marching through endless subterranean tunnels, the heroes emerge to see the light of day again. That was a real dungeon - and its kind seems very much extinct.

True at least in the mainstream world - And while the side streets of indie gaming won't falter in throwing out one randomly generated Rogue-like after another, they cannot make up for a properly planned and designed dungeon. Each trap has to be a puzzle, and each puzzle must hold a reward, which at best turns out a part of the solution to an even greater riddle. And the space in between is populated by monsters of all sorts and species. Welcome to Legend of Grimrock. Such a task can hardly be taken on by a single hero - unless he happens to be the bloody Avatar himself. A party of four is needed. A party, of course, that isn't thrown at you without rhyme or reason, but one that has been meticulously balanced by the player. For at least two hours.

The introduction won't tell you any back-story on the individual characters. Either you wait and see if and how they grow to you over the course of the game, or you take out a pen and the block of graph paper (or even better, a maths exercise book) you bought the day before, and write down the identities of whoever you're about to accompany within the coming days - That's role play gaming as it ought to be. The graph paper will be your most important ally in Grimrock, at least if you are courageous enough to start the game with automap deactivated. Pen, paper and patience are ingredients to a personal document on the conquest of virtual space, as it has been done ever since the creation of mankind and P&P. Well, at least in the cartographical hell that is the Temple of Horrendous Doom. It is those little touches that make Legend of Grimrock a real dungeon adventure. A crawler of the oldest of schools, which comes with only a single (and, unfortunately, not optional) concession to modern gaming in the form of quick and fluid scrolling at every step. Abruptly changing between still frames would probably prove a tad much for a game in the year 2012.

So you slide along, square by square, through a vast, multi-tiered dungeon, working off one puzzle, one trap, one monster by one. In the beginning, your inventory is empty. You have nothing, not even a loincloth. No torch you pass will be left on the wall, as you never know when the one you're carrying will go out, and you certainly don't want to fumble about in the dark. A scattered rock on the ground can be used as a throwing weapon, to weight down pressure switches, or for an entirely different purpose. Whenever the dungeon offers you something, you take it. Throughout the first few hours, you'll be dealing with shorteage economy in a most literal sense. After a while, your heroes are clad in armour and equipped with powerful weapons, many worth a little song of praise, on how you wrested them from the hands of the dungeon, and what an effort it was. Merchants? You won't find any. Healers or harbourage? Negative. If you want some potions, you better learn how to use that little alchemical formula. Not being able to merely buy everything, but having to use whatever you can get your hands on; all that is part of the experience and Grimrock knows to turn that aspect into an adventure.

During the initial stages of Grimrock, you'll hardly encounter plot elements, either. You're four prisoners, thrown into the kingdom's super-max dungeon. You make it out alive, you're forgiven all your sins whatsoever. Of course, no one ever made it before. And that's it for a while. Now the focus is on survival, garnering basic equipment, grabbing some food - an empty stomach won't regenerate hit points - and simply edging your way. Through the breaks, which you can take anywhere as long as there are no creatures around, dreams are starting to creep into your collective consciousness, calling you deeper into the dungeon. And after a while, the environment begins to tell more stories, and a plot emerges, which isn't bad at all. The prevalent motive is always the dungeon itself, but it shows that the developers went a lot further than just scribbling a few lines on their graph paper and be done with it.

Calm is of the order when it comes to exposition, dramatic turns come as rare as quick accomplishments in any way. The genre is called crawler for a reason. Magic, based on a simple rune table, has to be expored slowly, too. Scrolls give you a combination of runes, your level decides if you can perform a spell, and then every cast must be done with a few clicks. Hotkeys would have certainly proved a welcome convenience, but the applied limitations, following the classic Dungeon Master formula, are fair enough. Only towards the end spells get overly complex, but the effect trumps the effort.

During combat, however, there won't be much time to look up spells on your noteboard. Monsters roam their terrirories in real-time and will follow your every move, if you run away. Losing them is still easy, though, unless a door slams shut right in your face and has you trapped. Pull back into explored areas, if you have to. Defeated creatures won't come back. Attacking is done by clicking on each hero's respective hand symbol, thus using whatever you're holding in your hands at the moment; weapons of all kind, bombs or spells. After each click, the hero needs one or two seconds to recover and be able to strike again. It's as simple and smart as 25 years ago, when planning ahead was the name of the game. There is no pause screen for rummaging about in your inventory; the battle keeps running, so you better clean up in advance in order to avoid having to search your bags for healing potions in the very last moment.

The tactical element of combat comes not with the lashing at enemies per se, but with preparing the battles and taking position. Two people up front, two in the rear. Logically, the heavily armed warriors stand in the vanguard and mages and archers follow behind. But what if the monsters manage to surround you? Being trapped, you have to move and position yourself decidedly in order to keep your vulnerable flank safe. Attacking the enemy's back or sides is not only beneficial to you, but, vice versa, also to the monsters. It is such moments where combat gets the most exciting and you'll most probably notice just how difficult Legend of Grimlock can be. While keeping things always fair, even on the hard level, it forces you to use every resource you can muster. There's one last element of chance, though, with hit ratio and attack damage being rolled. But that's part of the whole, and I for one wouldn't want it any other way. After all, the dice of a Pen & Paper game won't do your bidding, either. You can rant and rave all you want if it makes you feel better, but in the end, everything depends on how the die is cast.

And how does a realistic comparison between the charm of auld lang syne and the harsh reality of today stand? Giving old virtues a new livery could easily lead to a painful moment, where the intended retro vibe clashes hard with the here and now. In this key moment, Legend of Grimrock remarkably stands its ground. All mechanics are up to date and show no weakness. There's a jarring moment of delay when swapping open character menus, but otherwise, playability holds up flawlessly. Walking never feels slow, the fluent scrolling doesn't lag and since keys can be assigned freely, everyone should find a way to move through the corridors at leisure.

Graphically, the game turns out as to be expected and comes with a healthy dose of personality on top. By simple means, simple 3D effects, hardly more complex than its equivalents during the 90s, the aimed-at atmosphere is accurately created. The dungon seems mystical, dangerous - and yet inviting. Nice touches like mural reliefs, statues and the like aren't just there for the sake of variety, but also help navigate the areas. Sound effects... Well, the're alright. Very traditional, never obtrusive, but certainly not a selling point, either.

All that remains is a look at the future: The Grimrock dungeon alone will keep you walking and mapping for days. Even with the automap feature turned on, you'll be busy a while. But the option menu, right in the beginning, shows the bullet point "dungeon": Right now, there's only Grimrock to choose, but soon there'll be an editor ready for you to create new adventures. And certainly the developers at Almost Human might come up with one or another additional trip into the depths, too.

Want some old school? Here you go! Legend of Grimrock is an invaluable present to all those who simply once again want to battle their way through a genuine dungeon crawl experience. It's almost like FTL and Westwood left an unfinished joint project somewhere in a drawer at the height of their career, and now Almost Human finished it. Step-by-step movement, 90 degree rotation, pseudo real-time combat, magic and alchemy, micro-management and the sensation of building your own characters from zeroes to heroes. All the hardships of a vast dungeon included. Riddles. Traps. Monsters. Don't play this game. Enjoy it. Legend of Grimrock deserves candle light and graph paper. Who knows when the next bridge between unadulterated nostalgia and the reality of here and now will be built - and if things turn out again as uncompromising and functional at the same time, as with Legend of Grimrock.
Last edited by TΛPETRVE on Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:47 pm, edited 6 times in total.
YOU NOW PROSSESS DRACULA'S RIB!

User avatar
Jack Dandy
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:22 pm
Location: Haifa, Israel

Re: Grimrock links

Post by Jack Dandy » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:15 pm

Onwards, brave translator!

Jesugandalf
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:17 pm

Re: Grimrock links

Post by Jesugandalf » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:09 pm

TΛPETRVE wrote:Time to hone my translation skills, I guess :lol: .
You could also give us a quick and useful masterclass on the German language ;)

User avatar
PSY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Grimrock links

Post by PSY » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:25 pm

Darklord wrote:Aww there's no English Eurogamer review...

Daniel.
I'd do the translation, but my schedule is pretty much bursting at the seams :)
Nevertheless, I'll translate the introduction (first two lines), because they bring back good memories :)

It's the last torch, the last provisions and the healing potions have long gone. And to make matters worse, the pencil just broke :mrgreen:

PSY
http://psy-labs.com
Coders don't die, they just gosub without return

User avatar
TΛPETRVE
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:18 am
Location: Suevia

Re: Grimrock links

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:14 pm

Done. Look above.
YOU NOW PROSSESS DRACULA'S RIB!

User avatar
Jack Dandy
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:22 pm
Location: Haifa, Israel

Re: Grimrock links

Post by Jack Dandy » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:24 pm

Such a task can hardly be taken on by a single hero - unless he happens to be the bloody Avatar himself.
Love it. :)
Thanks for the translation, bro!

User avatar
PSY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Grimrock links

Post by PSY » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Nice work!!!
http://psy-labs.com
Coders don't die, they just gosub without return

Post Reply