Legend of Grimrock review
“Sometimes, it’s the sound that does it. A snatch of half-recalled chorus can suddenly whisk you back to a lazy summer afternoon lounging in the park, the murmur of conversations overheard and the shouts of foot-to-ball enthusiasts wafting through the air.
Legend of Grimrock, the new PC dungeon crawler from Finnish indie developers Almost Human, achieved something very similar for me. That special blend of feet slapping on flagstone floors, the clank of chainmail and the rumble of nameless horrors echoing through labyrinthine corridors transported me away from my living room in gray, dripping London.
In my head, it’s 1995. I’m twelve years old, and being subjected to one of those interminable holidays to visit family friends that seem to be handed out with the first child’s birth certificate. Not young enough to remain oblivious to everything around me, but hardly old enough to be interested in anyone over the age of about fourteen, I’m saved from tedium by a fortuitous discovery: an Amiga 1200, with a massive stack of games on disk.
Ultima Underworld isn’t the first one I tried; it is, however, the one that leads to the most arguments about failing to play outside sufficiently. I’ve never played anything quite like it — the massive, sprawling dungeon, the relative autonomy to play the way you want, and the sense of entering unprepared a complex world, full of things that would be more than willing to snack on your eyeballs. By today’s standards, it may have been a crude attempt at exploring the first person mechanic, but what it did have, dripping from every pore, was a finely crafted sense of atmosphere.
That’s something that Legend of Grimrock shares with its spiritual forebear, along with many other aspects that will be familiar to a generation reared on classics like Dungeon Master or the Wizardry series. Indeed, the developers aren’t shy about the association, claiming to have created an “old-school dungeon crawling game inspired by Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Ultima Underworld”.”