Legend Of Grimrock is out today, and we enormously recommend you get it. In fact, John was so fondly reminded of playing Dungeon Master with his dad, 25 years ago, that he decided to get his dad to play it too.
Hugh Walker, dentist and life-long gamer, begins the diary of his experiences below.
I was invited to play Legend of Grimrock. “It is like Dungeon Master," I was told. Hmmm? How many times had I heard that since FTL unleashed that ground-shattering gem on my Atari ST in 1987? Now that was a game! No! It was more than “a game”… it was a way of life. I remember being so scared fighting the dragon at the end... Oh, how my hands shook.
So, with some excitement, some curiosity and not a little trepidation I approached Legend of Grimrock. I fully expected to be disappointed by the latest offering to claim FTL's mantle, yet again. Reaching the Legend of Grimrock Character Creation screen, I impatiently cried, “Yes! I'll take your preloaded party!" I clicked my way through the opening sequences to JUST LET ME INTO THE GAME!
So, there we were, just four guys... well, two guys, some rather bullish fellah and one girlie. No equipment, no clothes just a screen full of brickwork and an empty keyboard. The time honoured method of random key-pressing revealed the finer points of navigation, and moving was a bit of a shock.
You must consider that I had left the Land of Skyrim to enter this dungeon. After gliding around stupendously breathtaking landscapes, here I was moving one square, surrounded by bricks! “Ah!” I thought, “this is like Dungeon Master." But do I really want Dungeon Master having experienced Skyrim?
So, we found some clothes, and some rocks for my Roguish Popsy to chuck. I bumbled about a bit, opened a few doors, met a snail... and died.
At this point, hardened adventurers may cast scorn, for I - gasp - read the manual. Unforgivable! While it didn't explicitly teach me how to aggress on whatever low-life denizens we ("we" - you can tell I was beginning to identify with this gang, rather than being just a somewhat perplexed spectator - I was being sucked in) might encounter, but it did give a clue and it did tell me how spells worked in the Mystic Realm of Grimrock.
But, I thought, is this how it feels to buy a vintage motor car? I like having synchromesh on first gear, and air conditioning, and a satnav. For years I was a whizz at mapping on squared paper. I still have pads of it on the shelf in my study, totally redundant until now - perhaps. I could turn off on-screen mapping. But once turned off it can never be turned on again! So, how much more sensible to leave it on but just not use it, or maybe only a little! Just a bit, now and again, when I'm stuck...
I loaded the saved position just before we became snail fodder and this time we trounced the bounder. Hack! Slash! Fireballs! Rocks! Triumphant, on we go. I found a loose brick in wall. Pressing it opened a secret panel. Off to find more. Suddenly, this was fun! Pulling levers, pressing bricks, aha! A trapdoor, a lever, a Snail... Oh? What if I wait until the snail is on the trapdoor and I pull the lever?
Now I'm stuck, no idea how to progress, but I don't care! Checking walls, pulling chains, taking torches out of sconces, putting them in... I'm home.
A Dad In A Dungeon will continue as soon as John can get Hugh to stop complaining about pit puzzles.