11 Things I’m Looking Forward To In Legend Of Grimrock

By John Walker on March 27th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

Oh god, my phobia. I'm genuinely curling up into a ball when I fight this thing.

Legend Of Grimrock is out in a couple of weeks, via Steam and GOG.com, and anticipation is building. A game that harks back to the glory days of FTL’s Dungeon Master is something many would like to get their hands on. Get my hands on it I have, and after spending a little time with some pre-release code, I’m excited to confirm it really does seem to be capturing that era, with tile-based movement, a quartet of characters, and the terrifying moments when you’re trying to mix a potion in the middle of a fight. Below you can read the top 11 things that I think make it a game worth taking an interest in. (I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone who didn’t play Dungeon Master is going to find this post a touch confusing.)

Well, look, I’m breaking this to you now: It doesn’t have a portrait gallery at the start. Yes, but we can get over this, because it does have…

1) removeable torches!

2) And a party of four characters you create at the start!

3) Evil skellingtons!

4) Sleeping in risky places where monsters may eat you!

5) Horrible creatures that make me want to hide behind my dad!

6) Teleport fields that are suitably fuzzy!

7) Giant chunks of food made out of beasts (although here a snail rather than a worm)!

8) A simple inventory, with room for cloaks!

9) Angular made up languages on the walls!

10) Pits to fall down!

11) And very best of all, hidden switches on the walls!

Honestly, hidden switches on the walls are all I could ask for. So here’s hoping that by the time we’ve finished the game we’ll still have the same enthusiasm. And while it’s very faithful to Dungeon Master, it’s also clearly a game made for the modern lady and man, with the ability to freely look around despite the tile moves and 90 degree turns, and some swishy lighting effects, etc. I should stress, after my little fangasm above, this isn’t just a DM tribute band – they’re playing their own songs too. And knowing the original – so far – I don’t think is important at all. Whether it can all hold together, and provide a rewarding experience twenty-five years since its inspiration, is something we’ll find out on April 11th when it’s released.

Legend Of Grimrock can currently be pre-ordered on the freshly relaunched GOG.com for $11.99.

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129 Comments »

  1. Swabbleflange says:

    It just seems like: If Dungeon Master Was Made Today. Which, of course, is absolutely fine.

    Edit: Is image 2 you casting a fireball at point blank range into a wall?

    • 100sr says:

      looks more like the fireball had been casted on him.

      • John Walker says:

        Yes, that’s a wall casting a fireball at point blank range into me.

        • 100sr says:

          i’ve registered just to write this very post above and the honorable Author of the Article himself happened to reply on my reply (though it looks like he answered on somebody else’s question).
          the happiest day of my entire life, dear sirs!

          • John Walker says:

            Cuddles for everyone!

          • deke913 says:

            One of my single favorite parts about RPS is the interaction with the guys who write the articles. Keeps me coming back for more. But you haven’t really lived until you participate in a pun thread.

        • Phantoon says:

          No, that’s clearly a point blank range casting a wall onto “me” at fireball.

    • Dingler says:

      I think he activated some kind of firetrap by walking over it, or perhaps failed at lockpicking a magic chest.

      • Tuor says:

        Shooting a fireball into a wall at point blank range was a good way to kill all of your characters at once in DM. :P (Not that I ever did that. No sirree. I would *never* do that, on purpose or by accident, let alone both. Nope. Not me…)

        (BTW: Fireball was probably the spell I cast the most in DM.)

        • Fumarole says:

          And punching/kicking said wall was one way to improve your ninja skill.

          • Phantoon says:

            Nothing says “stealth warrior” like “OW MY HANDS!”

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      Looks to me like he’s attacking the giant enemy crab’s weak point for maximum damage (PS3 version only)

  2. Torgen says:

    Dammit, it’s Dungeon MASTER people are comparing this to, not Dungeon KEEPER.

    I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realize that. I had my hopes up so high. :(

    • Swabbleflange says:

      What’s up? Dungeon Master is the best game ever made, so you have nothing to fear.

    • tanith says:

      I made the same mistake and I never even played eithero f these two games. :D

    • Wizardry says:

      Sometimes I feel so out of touch with modern gamers.

      • Spider Jerusalem says:

        but just sometimes.

      • Torgen says:

        Sorry to rain on your hipster self-love, but I was gaming when you had to type the code in BASIC from a magazine, and save it to cassette drive.

        • Wizardry says:

          You don’t even know how old I am. Seems a silly thing to say.

          EDIT: Oh wait, you’re the guy I was replying to.

          • Torgen says:

            No, only how old you act. You aren’t unique, or interesting. Only self-effecting and annoying, and the act grew old long ago.

          • Premium User Badge

            Llewyn says:

            How amusing. Your response applies equally well to your preceding comment.

          • John Walker says:

            Give it a rest. Good grief, if you’re in a bad mood, go kick the neighbour, not other readers who’ve done nothing wrong.

          • Phantoon says:

            What if my neighbor is insane and screams at 2AM from his porch in gibberish?

            Is fear a valid reason to pick on people here instead?

          • John Walker says:

            Yes, then it’s fine.

        • atticus says:

          Well I was gaming when you had to write the code in a magazine, then flick the pages really fast to beat the dungeon.

          As far as primitive gaming goes, I don’t think anyone can beat me.

          • Wizardry says:

            I’ve been PC Gaming since 1873.

          • atticus says:

            I’ve been gaming since ‘the screen’ was the wall of a cave, and ‘gaming peripherals’ was a piece of charcoal and a torch.

          • Wizardry says:

            Upon completion of my first game, the big bang happened as a bonus at the end of the credits.

          • brulleks says:

            I remember that game. I wrote it.

          • Brun says:

            Upon completion of my first game, the big bang happened as a bonus at the end of the credits.

            At the start of this comment thread I expected everything that followed to be a bunch of Wizardy crabby old geezery. Thank you for proving me wrong and making me laugh.

          • PodX140 says:

            Yeah well… I had to do the worst thing of all!

            I had to use… my imagination!

            *Insert dramatic 3 note sound*

          • Phantoon says:

            In my day we didn’t have sounds or drama!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      CURSE YOU PETER MOLYNEUX!

  3. alms says:

    Agree on everything, except… the slots in the walls and hidden switches scream of EoB to me. Then again I remember almost zilch of DM, it didn’t leave a lasting memory like the Westwood games.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      For what it’s worth, Eye of the Beholder was nearly a wholesale clone down the font. Of course, they missed some key ingredients that I think made the original great. But almost anything “notable” in Eye of the Beholder was lifted straight out of Dungeon Master.

      The main changes it brought were an in-game introduction, and D&D style character classes. The rest were pretty much lifted.

    • Werthead says:

      Yeah, EotB possibly had a slightly stronger background and sense of place than DM, but that was more down to EotB being set in a pre-existing, well-described fantasy world. The other big difference I remember between them was that EotB didn’t let you trap monsters in doorways and allow you to crush them with the door for bonus damage.

  4. sinister agent says:

    But can you talk to theaAARGHH NOT THE FACE

    • Phantoon says:

      The real question is, can you romance the monsters?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Unless you can apply for a small business loan with the monsters so as to open up a sidewalk sandwich and fries cart, I am OUT.

      That’s when we can finally call games art.

  5. psychoconductor says:

    I’ve never played Dungeon Master, but I did play Shining in the Darkness for Genesis (MegaDrive). I look forward to trying this one out.

    • killias2 says:

      While both are dungeon crawlers, Shining in the Darkness is turn-based, while this is real-time. That’s why people talk about Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder a lot.

  6. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Now I don’t know for sure, but those “made up” symbols look a lot like futhark runes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futhark Ignorant brits! I thought we taught you those letters well and good a thousand years ago!

    • pkdawson says:

      It looks a bit like a variant of futhark, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually not.

      • dogsolitude_uk says:

        Not sure. I’ve got a couple of crappy little books on runes, and they did vary a bit from place to place apparently. Anyway, unable to resist I checked the Wikipedia link like a real expert and looking at the Elder Futhark translation chart, it appears that the first word is:

        “IUIHG”

        …then there’s a word beginning with an ‘N’ or something (not a rune? I don’t know, there may be an ‘N’ shaped Rune somewhere), followed by ‘GTI’, and three other weird ones that aren’t in my Ladybird Book Of Runes, or the Wikipedia pages for that matter. So I’m giving up now.

        IIRC Tolkein nicked the Elder Futhark for the basis of the Runes in Lord of the Rings, as well as a load of other stuff from Norse myths (check out the names of the dwarves in Voluspa, in the Poetic Edda), and if Tolkein can do it I’m sure we can let the Grimrock guys off the hook on this one.

        And besides, a cursive alphabet would be a royal PITA to etch into a stone wall…

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      Such runes only make me think of Ultima, but that runic language is a bit different. Shame really, since I still have a decent knowledge of those runes, thanks mainly to having to read in-game signs (and for casting spells).

    • Skabooga says:

      I’m pretty sure the runes in that screenshot are telling the reader to ‘Vote Nixon’.

  7. Dozer says:

    John, if you’ll let me implant a little RFID chip into your forearm, we can put RFID readers behind the plaster in your house and you can turn the lights on and off by waving your arms at random bits of wall.

    Would you like that? I think you’d like that.

  8. lzaffuto says:

    Reason #5 = CRAB BATTLE!

  9. RogB says:

    12) punching a snail IN THE FACE

  10. Tuor says:

    That crab made me think of the Scorpions in Dungeon Master. Dang those things were scary!

    After hearing how this is like a remake of DM, I’m going to have to buy it. DM and Chaos Strikes Back were both pretty amazing games.

  11. Mattrex says:

    My personal comparison has always been “Eye of the Beholder” rather than “Dungeon Master”, since I played the former as a kid but didn’t even know the latter existed. It’s certainly got all of the elements, gussied up in a pretty package.

    • menderslan says:

      Agreed, I never played DM as a kid, but I did play the hell out of Eye of the Beholder, and watching gameplay of this game reminds me so much of EoB, which is a wonderful thing.

  12. Nick says:

    Wish it was step grid based, I never liked RT dungeon crawlers in that style.

  13. Enikuo says:

    I don’t find crab monsters scary, but then I really like seafood. MMMmmm crab legs…..

  14. Blackcompany says:

    At $11.99 and DRM free, can this game not be worth it? It certainly looks like a game one would expect to cost much more.
    .
    I think I shall look into this, and very soon.

  15. Khemm says:

    The funniest thing is, this goes back to RPGs which had more role-playing than all Oblivions and Skyrims combined.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Ugly as it is, that’s the, um, Khemm truth behind modern RPG’s. As RPG’s go, they just…aren’t.
      .
      With the possible exception of the Witcher 2. I know you didn’t build your own man, but the choices and consequences were very real, and very relevant to both the world you saw, and the story itself. I just finished the Roche play through thanks to some sage advice on this site, and from what I understand, having never done the Iorveth play through…i have only seen half the game, or thereabouts.
      .
      But yeah, for the most part…RPG’s today have dropped both the R and P, replacing them with ‘action.’

    • Wizardry says:

      Yes, this does go back to those times, but Dungeon Master and its clones aren’t included. Have you actually played those games?

  16. dogsolitude_uk says:

    Wow, I’m definitely buying this. Just the other week I got Dosbox working on an old copy of Dungeon Master. Took me right back to the days of my Atari ST.

    Edit: May have to rethink this if it has giant snails in it. I hate s****s. I mean, I *really* hate s****s. Even looking at the word makes me feel ill, hence the asterisks. :’(

  17. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    Promisinger and promisinger.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Academic curiosity: At what point does it reach the ‘promisingest’ it can positively promise?

      • Premium User Badge

        Colthor says:

        I suppose it’s at its most promisingest after you’ve seen the trailers, read the (p)reviews, installed the game and are just about to click on the icon for the very first time.

        Will it be all you hope? Maybe it will be even better?

  18. Tei says:

    τηις ις ςηυ ςε ψαντ ηαωε νιψε τηινγς

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      Ох, не по-русски накалякал. Не разобрать же.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        நான் அதை பற்றி இவ்வளவு நிச்சயமாக இல்லை.

    • MajesticXII says:

      Τηισ γαμε ισ α ωερυ νιψε τηινγ βτς.

  19. fish99 says:

    Reason #13, it only cost £7.75

    Btw I’d recommend getting this through their own website since they’ll get more money and you still get a steam key-

    http://www.grimrock.net

    • Torn says:

      Yep ordered this today, more money for the devs, it activates on steam and I get a bunch of pre-order goodness (manual, artwork, etc) to fawn over.

      I’ve added it to my steam already. Narf.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Actually, the good thing when buying from them is that they give a link to the standalone version. Personally I still prefer GOG, because I want standalone version (trading achievements for freedom is a no-brainer to me), and I believe that GOG will be more trustworthy when I need to redownload.

  20. Kaira- says:

    A team of three skeletons? That is mighty eerie.

  21. jonfitt says:

    Personal story time. I played the demo (!) of DM and my younger brother was very into DM: Chaos Strikes Back (sequel), but I never got into these first person dungeon games until the Ishar series. Ishar was an eye opener to me as it even included things like NPCs with a day/night routine (you could only find the shopkeeper in the shop from 9-5 otherwise he walked home). That was in 1992, where most NPCs were little more than talking posts and games didn’t have daylight cycles.
    .
    They were brutal though, here is a repressed memory that I found on MobyGames:

    Ishar was probably the game with the most annoying savegame system ever: if you wanted to save, you needed to pay some gold for it (I believe it was 100 GP). And believe me – it was nearly impossible to get that much in the beginning of the game, so you could either leave your machine switched on for days, play until you got enough or – well, just quit :)

  22. superflat says:

    I can’t wait for this game. Was playing Dungeon Master, Captive and Black Crypt on my Amiga a few weeks back in preparation!

  23. ecbremner says:

    Will i need graph paper? (masochistically hope the answer is yes.)

    • Wizardry says:

      I would assume so. Mapping out dungeons was where the fun came from in these games.

    • apt says:

      Pre-orderers get instant access to game’s goodies including a beautifully crafted game manual, Legend of Grimrock world map, custom made grid paper to print out for all your mapping needs, Grimrock theme music, wallpapers, team photo and art sheets illustrating foul creatures of Mount Grimrock.

      :D

    • gritz says:

      I’m hoping it’s alt-tab or 2 monitor friendly so I can make my maps in excel

    • Fumarole says:

      I can confirm that the GOG version comes with a pdf of stylized graph paper, as seen here:

      http://i1250.photobucket.com/albums/hh538/Fumarole/gridpic.jpg

      But I have in my possession a bound lab notebook I shall be using for this purpose.

      I should also mention that the manual says you can opt for a hardcore mode that disables the automap feature.

  24. FunkyBadger3 says:

    5/ You, sir, are a giant crab.

  25. nimzy says:

    My god man, look at that crab thing with the face opening up and if you need me I’m going to be curled up in a ball under my desk for the next 15 minutes.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    I never played dungeon master, but I played hired guns, it’s the one where you can shoot lemmings with a mini gun.

  27. pusheax says:

    >10) Pits to fall down!
    Oh, believe me. You are not looking forward to it.

  28. Lemming says:

    NO SCREAMERS NO SALE.

    Seriously though, game looks fun.

  29. Nameless1 says:

    It’s mine! GoG gave it to me.

  30. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    I remember when magazines praised Ultima Underworld for liberating us from The Grid, so what is this devilry?

  31. brulleks says:

    Shouldn’t we be advising people to buy it from the developers’ own website, rather than GOG.com?

    Same price, but they get all the cash: http://www.grimrock.net/buy/

    • killias2 says:

      Some people prefer the DRM-free GoG version, as the developer version is basically just a Steam code.

      Edit: Nevermind. Apparently, the website itself also has a DRM-free standalone. Cool.

    • lunarplasma says:

      I agree.
      As per the article, I was going to buy it from GoG, but after reading through the comments here I decided to buy it direct from http://www.grimrock.net/.

      I vote that the article be edited.

  32. JackDandy says:

    This is freaking exciting!

  33. Gasmask Hero says:

    I liked Dungeon Master. I liked Captive so much I actually bought a copy. One of the two Atari ST games I actually owned.

    The other one wasn’t DM. Still…mm…my interest in this has been piqued. Only piqued, though. We’ll see.

  34. Navagon says:

    Pre-ordered. It didn’t require much consideration.

  35. Premium User Badge

    jaheira says:

    Right, I just checked and the word “skellington” is the funniest word available to humanity. Long may it reign.

  36. RyuRanX says:

    Wait!

    So there’re 11 reasons to but a game that costs $11 and will be released on April 11th, exactly 11 years after Wizardry 8, the last good game of the genre?

    • chesh says:

      If you’re willing to venture outside of the PC, give the Etrian Odyssey games on DS a try. They were my introduction to the genre, but they are beloved by many old fans as well.

    • Wizardry says:

      What does Wizardry 8 have to do with this game? They aren’t even in the same (sub-)genre.

  37. chesh says:

    Given the success of Etrian Odyssey on the DS, I think this is going to do just fine. I know I’m likely to play the hell out of it, and I have never played Dungeon Master.

  38. Vinraith says:

    I’m still a bit disappointed that it’s real time, but it looks great regardless. I’ll almost certainly pick it up from GOG sooner or later.

    • DK says:

      Ditto about the real time disappointment. If you go realtime, modernize the combat interface to not be shitty dungeon crawler devs. Clicking individual attacks in real time is *bad*. One of the very few plain bad pieces of design in those crawlers, and sadly one that gets reused when throwback games are made.

      • fish99 says:

        Dungeon Master was real time,.

        • DK says:

          Yes it was – and it’s attack mechanic was crappy. If it was JUST the attacks it’d be bad, but not horrible. But it’s not just attacks. You have to block in real time. You have to attack with 4 people in real time, clicking SEVERAL TIMES for each attack. You have to piece together spells from up to 4 casters in real time. And all of that at the same time.

          Again none of that would be that bad if it was tradeoffs – but it’s not. The phsyical combat is straight up busywork, there’s no thought in it at all. It’s starcraft style apm-generators with no point to them but click-speed. (don’t bother with “but time is a resource!” because if the old system is intentionally bad, it also invalidates several more interesting party mechanics)

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        It’s a pacing thing. It’s fine if the game doesn’t really require you to do that much per second.

  39. deke913 says:

    Just a quick heads up if anyone is interested. Free giveaway of Steam version for people who post on this guys Youtube video. I have no idea who he is or anything just ran across it a few minutes ago and thought I would let you guys know. I was first person to post as he only started it a few hours ago.

    • Demiath says:

      Since I’m “that guy” I would like to clarify that merely posting a comment on my channel is not what I’m interested in; I want to read cool stories about people’s relationship with the dungeon crawler subgenre as a whole. I deliberately avoided advertising my tiny little giveaway on RPS because it would come across as some kind of stupid YouTube channel promotion. The “contest” was primarily an excuse to spend more money on Legend of Grimrock which, irrespective of its presumably brief campaign, is not priced in such a way as to take full advantage of old school RPG nerds’ burning desire for new first-person dungeon crawlers (…or maybe the price tag has a “lack of turn-based combat” apology built into it).

  40. cryocore says:

    To me it seems more like a combination of Lands of Lore (brilliant) and Eye of the Beholder and thats pleases me greatly. I have bought the game from GOG.com and have just finished reading the manual. A real throwback to the days when manuals were informative and entertaining. Very high hopes for this.

  41. fish99 says:

    For the people who are confused, LoG is block based like Dungeon Master, and like Dungeon Master it’s real time (i.e you’re not safe standing still, an enemy can approach from many blocks away and kill you). Only difference is you move smoothly between the blocks (possible because it’s all 3D), smoothly turn 90 degrees, and the enemies also move smoothly from block to block.

  42. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    That poor crab was merely having a snooze, you went to cook it for food, no wonder the poor blighter is angry at you! See, we need more games where you talk to the monsters…

  43. Neurotic says:

    Re: Number 7. Never since have I ever eaten purple and green meat and really enjoyed it!

  44. phylum sinter says:

    I never played Dungeon Master… but i did play plenty of all 3 Eye of the Beholder games… And this looks fondly familiar to me.

    Preorder +1

  45. wouldestous says:

    evil skeletons, you say?
    surely this new development portends nothing less than a sea-change in the assumptions underlying the entire fantasy genre. is the world ready for such a revolutionary idea?

  46. Xaromir says:

    I hate hidden switches. About the other points: I just got visibly excited.

  47. Yor Fizzlebeef says:

    I am pumped! It’s dark, sexy and I can’t wait!

  48. Vurten says:

    Support the kind developers by buying it directly from their webby: http://www.grimrock.net/ .
    You get a steam-key, preorder goodies AND it’s more than half the price steam will charge at launch (for Denmark that is; silly steam regions). God bless the weak US-dollar.

  49. squareking says:

    I wish I hadn’t been so trigger-happy and preordered from the dev’s site and not GOG. I love GOG, but I love developers more. Ah well.

  50. hagnrn says:

    I agree about the hidden switches. seeing that reminds me of looking for hidden doors in ultima 6 or 7. or oddly enough kings field. no visual clues in that one though just guesswork or OCD.