Legend of Grimrock

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Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock DVD cover.jpg
Developer(s) Almost Human
Publisher(s) Almost Human
Designer(s) Petri Häkkinen
Antti Tiihonen
Programmer(s) Petri Häkkinen
Artist(s) Juho Salila
Writer(s) Petri Häkkinen
Antti Tiihonen
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • WW: 11 April 2012
OS X, Linux
  • WW: 19 December 2012
  • WW: 7 May 2015
Genre(s) Action role-playing, dungeon crawl
Mode(s) Single-player

Legend of Grimrock is an action role-playing game video game developed and published by Almost Human. The title is a 3D grid-based, real-time dungeon crawler based on the 1987 game Dungeon Master . [1] It was originally released for Microsoft Windows in April 2012, and later ported for OS X and Linux in December 2012 and iOS in May 2015.[ citation needed ]

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Dungeon crawl video game genre

A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find. Because of its simplicity, a dungeon crawl can be easier for a gamemaster to run than more complex adventures, and the "hack and slash" style of play is appreciated by players who focus on action and combat. However dungeon crawls often lack meaningful plot or logical consistency.


Legend of Grimrock was the debut game of Almost Human, a four-man Finnish indie development team formed in February 2011, which self-financed the title's development. [2] A sequel, Legend of Grimrock II , was released in October 2014.

<i>Legend of Grimrock II</i> 2015 video game

Legend of Grimrock II is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Almost Human. It is the sequel to the 2012 title Legend of Grimrock, and was released for Microsoft Windows in October 2014, and later for OS X in March 2015.


An in-game screenshot with the open inventory of a party member Legend of Grimrock screenshot 01.jpg
An in-game screenshot with the open inventory of a party member

Legend of Grimrock is a first-person action role-playing game with tile-based movement and realtime game mechanics. Players control a party of one to four characters which they move through a 3D rendered grid-based dungeon, a style of gameplay popular in RPG games from the 1990s such as Dungeon Master [3] and Eye of the Beholder , from which Legend of Grimrock draws heavy inspiration.

Tile-based video game video game where the playing area consists of tiles

A tile-based video game is a type of video or video game where the playing area consists of small square graphic images referred to as tiles laid out in a grid. That the screen is made of such tiles is a technical distinction, and may not be obvious to people playing the game. The complete set of tiles available for use in a playing area is called a tileset. Tile-based games usually simulate a top-down, side view, or 2.5D view of the playing area, and are almost always two-dimensional.

Party (role-playing games) group of characters adventuring together in a role-playing game

A party is a group of characters adventuring together in a role-playing game. In tabletop role-playing, a party is composed of a group of players, occasionally with the addition of non-player character allies controlled by those players or by the gamemaster. In computer games, the relationship between the party and the players varies considerably. Online role-playing games or MMORPG parties are often, in the above sense, of the same constituency as tabletop parties, except that the allies are always controlled to a lesser or greater extent by the computer AI. In single-player computer games, the player generally controls all party members to a varying degree.

<i>Dungeon Master</i> (video game) 1987 video game

Dungeon Master is a realtime role-playing video game featuring a pseudo-3D first-person perspective. It was developed and published by FTL Games for the Atari ST in 1987, almost identical Amiga and PC (DOS) ports following in 1988 and 1992.

Gameplay consists of a combination of puzzle solving and combat. Characters within the party gain experience for slaying creatures and beasts within the dungeon, allowing them to increase in level and progress skills which enhance combat abilities and allow the casting of new spells, and equipment is obtained through exploration and solving of puzzles throughout the dungeon. Many of the harder puzzles throughout the game are designed as bonuses, being optional to the progression through the dungeon but granting superior items and equipment for solving them.

In reference to its classic roots, the player has the option to switch on "old-school mode" when beginning a new game. In this mode the game's map system is deactivated, leaving navigation through the dungeon's grid down to the player alone; this references the 1990s games which Grimrock is based on, which left remembering routes and paths through the dungeon completely down to the player. The game's digital manual contains a printable grid sheet which encourages players to chart their course through the game to this end.


Screenshot of Legend of Grimrock showing an altar room Legend of Grimrock screenshot 05.jpg
Screenshot of Legend of Grimrock showing an altar room

On top of Mount Grimrock, an airship carries a group of prisoners escorted by armed knights. The prisoners, sentenced by "the court" for crimes against the King, have been sentenced to be thrown into the pit of Mount Grimrock, at which point their crimes will be absolved. However, no prisoner pardoned in this manner has ever returned.

Airship type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft

An airship or dirigible balloon is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft that can navigate through the air under its own power. Aerostats gain their lift from large gasbags filled with a lifting gas that is less dense than the surrounding air.

On being sealed within the mountain, the prisoners make their way downwards through the levels of Grimrock Dungeon, guided by a disembodied voice which comes to them in their sleep promising that a way of escape for both it and the party awaits at the bottom of the dungeon. The party also occasionally finds notes from a previous wanderer of the dungeon named Toorum, who aside from offering clues to certain puzzles and hidden stashes of equipment, talks about his experiences of the dungeon's periodic tremors and the dungeon's design seemingly meant to be "traversed from the top down".

Eventually the party reaches the bottom level, signposted as "Prison". Inside, the source of the voice guides the player to reconstruct a broken machine which will activate a portal out of the dungeon, however upon assembling the parts and repairing it, the voice is revealed to be the machine itself, which manifests as a giant mechanical clockwork cube which attempts to crush the party. Escaping through a portal, the party locates the tomb of the creators of Grimrock Dungeon, who left behind scrolls explaining the dungeon's purpose of containing the machine, which they refer to as "the Undying One", until "the gears of time finally come to rest". The tomb also contains a weapon designed to be used in the event of the Undying One's escape from confinement.

Using the weapon, which temporarily stuns the machine, the party disassemble the parts which they used to repair the Undying One and deal a fatal blow to it using spells of lightning. The Undying One eventually explodes and falls apart, triggering another tremor which shakes the dungeon apart. The last scenes show the party running down a stone hallway of the dungeon, before a beam of pale blue light explodes from Mount Grimrock, ascending to the sky. A gigantic crater is shown to be all that remains of Mount Grimrock, the final fate of the prisoners seemingly unknown.

Development and release

In 2001 LoG began as Dungeon Master [1] clone hobby project called Dungeon Master 2000 by a former Amiga demoscene coder. [4] [5] Later it was renamed Escape from Dragon Mountain and released in its final version in 2004. [6] [7] In early 2011 the developers decided to grow the project beyond being a simple clone and started aiming for commercial game quality. [3] The developers used also other games as inspiration for the game, including Eye of the Beholder and Ultima Underworld . [8] The developers established an indie video game company called "Almost Human" located at Matinkylä, Espoo in Finland. [9] The four founding developers left the Finnish video game industry (Remedy Entertainment, Futuremark [9] ) and started working on the game full-time, now named Legend of Grimrock. [10] A forum and development blog was set up and updated frequently.

Video game clone

A video game clone is either a video game similar to, or inspired, by a previous popular game or series. Usually the term is derogatory, implying a lack of originality and creativity; however, an intentional clone may be anything from a "ripoff" to an honorary homage to its exemplar. The accusation of a game being a clone carries the implication that its developers or publishers try to profit off of the exemplar's success. It may even take the form of an allegation of plagiarism or fraud, which could be taken to court.

Fangames are video games made by fans based on one or more established video games. Many fangames attempt to clone or remake the original game's design, gameplay and characters, but it is equally common for fans to develop a unique game using another only as a template. Though the quality of fangames has always been variable, recent advances in computer technology and in available tools, e.g. through open source software, have made creating high-quality games easier. Fangames can be seen as User generated content, as part of the retrogaming phenomena and as expression of the remix culture.

Amiga family of personal computers sold by Commodore

The Amiga is a family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985. The original model was part of a wave of 16- and 32-bit computers that featured 256 KB or more of RAM, mouse-based GUIs, and significantly improved graphics and audio over 8-bit systems. This wave included the Atari ST—released the same year—Apple's Macintosh, and later the Apple IIGS. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Amiga differed from its contemporaries through the inclusion of custom hardware to accelerate graphics and sound, including sprites and a blitter, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

The game was first released for the Windows platform on 11 April 2012 in DRM-free versions on the developer's website and GOG.com, and also a Steam version. On 4 October 2012, with the release of patch 1.3.1, an editor was included which allowed the creation of user generated dungeons & content and led to the development of a vivid modding community. [11] On 19 December 2012 the game was released as part of the Humble Indie Bundle 7 [12] including newly developed ports of the game for Mac OS and Linux. While the Mac and Linux port were released in December 2012, [13] the iOS port did not materialize until May 2015. [14] In 2014 a live-action series, located in the Grimrock universe, from Wayside Creations (the makers of Fallout: Nuka Break ) was funded through Kickstarter. [15]

A computing platform or digital platform is the environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or other underlying software, as long as the program code is executed with it. Computing platforms have different abstraction levels, including a computer architecture, an OS, or runtime libraries. A computing platform is the stage on which computer programs can run.

GOG.com computer game sale and distribution service

GOG.com is a digital distribution platform for video games and films. It is operated by GOG Sp. z o.o., a wholly owned subsidiary of CD Projekt based in Warsaw, Poland. GOG.com delivers DRM-free video games through its digital platform for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux. In March 2012, it began selling more recent titles such as Alan Wake, Assassin's Creed and the Metro Redux series, among many others.

Steam (software) digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform

Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation for purchasing and playing video games. Steam was first released in 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates to its first-party games, but grew out in features and offerings from third-party developers and publishers. Steam offers digital rights management (DRM), matchmaking servers, video streaming, and social networking services. Steam provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

An announced sequel, Legend of Grimrock II , was released on 15 October 2014.


Aggregate scores
GameRankings 81.50% [16] (PC)
Metacritic 82/100 [17] (PC)
Review scores
Edge 7/10 [1]
Game Informer 7.25/10 [18]
GameSpy 90/100 [19]
IGN 8.5/10 [20]
Inside Gaming 80/100 [21]

Legend of Grimrock was generally well received by both critics and gamers upon release, garnering an average critic score of 82 from 49 reviews on Metacritic. [17] Reviewers generally praised the game for faithfully recreating the gameplay of old-school action RPGs into the modern era.

GameSpy gave the game a 4.5/5 "Great" rating, saying that "the best aspect of Grimrock is its puzzles, which have been largely abandoned by RPG developers in this age of Internet hints and walkthroughs." [19] Destructoid's Patrick Hancock awarded the game a score of 95/100, claiming "Grimrock takes an old-school feel and injects it seamlessly into the modern era." [22] Edge said that the game wasn't "a love letter to Dungeon Master" but "a near-facsimile", saying that "Legend Of Grimrock replicates a classic faithfully enough to massage the nostalgia glands of anyone who played the original, and it's a test of the timelessness of an almost universally loved game." [1]

Some reviewers commented negatively on the game's combat system. Jon Blyth of PC Gamer praised the game's revival of Dungeon Master's classic gameplay, but commented on the "exploitability" of the enemy AI, as "any single enemy, no matter how tough, can be dominated by a series of cowardly stab-retreats and sidesteps". [23] In their 7.25/10 review, Game Informer also stated that while the game's modern presentation of an old-school game format was a "beautiful marriage", it failed in that "its lazy monster design encourages the worst kind of tedious, mechanically abusive player behavior, though, which is a grave offense in the world of party-based RPGs." [18]

In January 2013, Almost Human announced that the game had sold over 600,000 copies. [24] In October 2014, Almost Human announced that the number of sold copies had reached 900,000. [25]

In 2017, the game was selected for a collection of 100 Finnish games, which were presented on the opening of the Finnish Museum of Games in Tampere. [26]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Edge Staff (12 April 2012). "Legend Of Grimrock review". Edge . Retrieved 9 May 2012. Legend Of Grimrock isn’t a love letter to Dungeon Master, the 1987 blend of subterranean exploration, survival, switches and traps. It’s a near-facsimile. But that’s not a fact Almost Human is trying to hide; it’s the selling point. Legend Of Grimrock replicates a classic faithfully enough to massage the nostalgia glands of anyone who played the original, and it’s a test of the timelessness of an almost universally loved game.
  2. Caoili, Eric (25 April 2012). "How Legend of Grimrock's dev rolled the dice and won". Gamasutra . Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  3. 1 2 Häkkinen, Petri (16 April 2011). "Escape from Dragon Mountain". dungeon-master.com. Retrieved 9 November 2014. [...] a game that we think is no longer a clone but an original game (strongly) inspired by DM.
  4. Dungeon-Master.com forum - Escape from Dragon Mountain (2001)
  5. Internet Archive - dm2k (2002)
  6. Internet Archive - Escape from Dragon Mountain
  7. Dungeon Master Encyclopedia - Escape from Dragon Mountain
  8. "Legend of Grimrock - Welcome!". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
  9. 1 2 http://www.grimrock.net/2011/07/14/the-almost-human-team/
  10. Announcement by PetriH "Ok, time to reveal some secrets... We have started an indie game company and we're now working on this full time (4 devs).[...] at http://www.grimrock.net/"(30-Jun-2011)
  11. Dungeon Editor Released + Special Sale
  12. Humble Bundle 7 includes Dungeon Defenders, Legend of Grimrock on techspot
  13. Tiihonen, Antti (22 September 2011). "Our release plans" . Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  14. http://www.grimrock.net/2015/05/07/legend-of-grimrock-ipad-launches-in-app-stores-worldwide/
  15. "Legend of Grimrock: The Series". Kickstarter . Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  16. "GameRankings: Legend of Grimrock (PC)". GameRankings . Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  17. 1 2 "Metacritic: Legend of Grimrock (PC)". Metacritic . Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  18. 1 2 Biessener, Adam (4 April 2012). "Old And New Meet With Mixed Results - Legend of Grimrock". Game Informer . Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  19. 1 2 Wilson, Jason (4 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". GameSpy . Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  20. Meunier, Nathan (9 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". IGN. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  21. Jasicki, Jason (22 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock Review". IGN. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  22. Devore, Jordan (4 December 2012). "Review: Legend of Grimrock". Destructoid . Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  23. Blyth, Jon (17 April 2012). "Legend of Grimrock review". PC Gamer . Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  24. "Recap 2012, Hello 2013! » Legend of Grimrock". Grimrock.net. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  25. "News: Legend of Grimrock Sold 900,000 Copies". gamershell.com. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  26. Muistatko vielä nämä suomalaiset klassikkopelit? Nämä 100 pääsevät Tampereen pelimuseoon on Aamulehti (15.12.2016)