I had this idea to write a spoiler-free storied review of Legend of Grimrock, using the characters I made within the game as a means of explaining the game. I thought it would work because there’s not much to the game, but I’m not so sure I achieved the goal.
I’ll let you be the judge.
The Storied Review of Legend of Grimrock
Bartax was a pacifistic Minotaur, an outcast among his war-loving people. He knew he would be exiled if he continued to refuse to join the military and opted to just enjoy what little time he had left among friends and family while he could. Bartax didn’t know the military was bleeding recruits left and right, and the General Council decided to make an example of him. Charged with treason, he was sentenced to death by Grimrock.
Senator Paxul was a distinguished member of the Reptilian Senate. A war hero from the Insectoid Cullings of 1333, he quickly rose up the political ladder and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of decadence and debauchery. When he was caught with his hand in the Treasury, he was given leeway due to his past accomplishments under the banner of the Reptilian government. However after the fifth time, his embezzlement couldn’t be ignored. Knowing his execution or imprisonment would just cause more problems, The Tribunal chose to sentence Paxul to Trial by Grimrock.
Locke was a nomadic soul who joined the circus after being orphaned at a young age. Each night he would wow and amaze audiences with incredulous feats of dexterity, using everything from bows and arrows to pocket knives he borrowed from the audience. Each night he boasted, “Give me any object and any target! I’ll never miss!” When the mayor of the circus’ most recent stop wound up dead from an inexplicably accurate arrow, Locke was immediately taken into custody. With only circumstantial evidence the judge chose to leave Locke’s guilt in the “hands of fate”, sentencing him to pits of Grimrock.
Rex knew he was different quickly after he hatched, when his hands spontaneously erupted into fire. He concealed his differences as best he could while rapidly aging alongside his pod brothers, knowing that anything less than conformity meant death. Still reeling twenty years after the Insectoid Cullings, Rex and his brothers were conscripted into the military upon their first signs of maturity.
During his first night in the barracks, Rex awoke to find the hole engulfed in flames. He ran out in a panic, not noticing the lack of heat and harm he should’ve sustained from the blaze. Unfortunately the onlookers did notice. Rex was immediately taken into custody upon emerging from the flames unscathed. Upon hearing how he mystically burnt his brothers to a crisp in their sleep, the Queen sentenced Rex to a fate bestowed only to the lowest of criminals – he was to be squashed by the almighty Grimrock.
And so we find our four convicts chained together atop Mount Grimrock, a massive mountain with a large hole at its peak. As all four men stare into the pit’s abyss, their jailor explains, “Your crimes shall be forgiven as you descend into the belly of the mountain. Should you find a way out, you may consider yourself free to do as you please.”
“Fat chance of that! No one gets out of Grimrock,” snarls the jailor’s lieutenant. Before any of the convicts can respond, Bartax is shoved into the pit, pulling the other three in along with him.
* * *
Locke awoke in what looked like an expansive prison cell with the other three convicts sitting around him. Surprised to be alive, he sat up, saying, “Nothing feels broken.”
“We need to work together if we’re going to escape this place,” said Bartax.
“We ‘need’ to cut lose the ant and meatbag,” replied Paxul.
“Keep calling me a meatbag scale-for-brains,” Locke said between his teeth.
“Stop arguing and help me get this gate open,” Bartax said, waking over to the iron cell door. Paxul rolled his eyes and followed Bartax with the other two convicts close in tow. “It looks like it comes from above. Maybe we can pull it up.”
Reluctantly the group worked together, but the gate didn’t budge. “There has to be a way out of here,” said Locke.
“There aren’t any skeletons around and they’ve been throwing people down here for years,” agreed Bartax. “Maybe there’s a switch or something around the cell.”
“Here worker drone,” Paxul said, grabbing a lit torch that sat next to the gate, “Make yourself-“ As he pulled the torch out of its post, the iron gate rose out of the ground.
The group stared down the dark corridor in front of them. Paxul finished handing the torch to Rex, “Hold that high and don’t let it go out.”
Free of their cell, the group began exploring the dungeon in front of them.
After a while, Bartax broke the silence, “Pressure plates, hidden switches, trap doors… This labyrinth seems to be one massive puzzle.”
“Think we can get out if we solve it?” Locke asked.
“We don’t really have a choice,” Paxul spat.
“Exactly,” Bartax chimed in, “we either work together to keep moving or die here.”
A few pressure plate doors later, the group turned a corner and almost ran head first into a giant snail. “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?” Locke said. Letting out a high pitched screech, the snail tries to bite Bartax. “IT HAS TEETH!”
“Would you SHUT … THE … HELL … UP!” Paxul yells as he starts wailing on the snail’s head in response to its attack, beating its skull in with his bare hands until it crumbles to the ground.
“I think we just found out why no one has ever gotten out of here alive,” says Locke.
“It’d take more than these pathetic beasts to kill a Lizardman,” says a satisfied Paxul.
“I’m sure there are more than just snails in these corridors,” chimes in Bartax.
“Maybe one of you cowards will help on the next one then,” Paxul says as he continues into the dungeon.
The group follows in silence. Locke stoops down to pick up a large rock, holding up the group’s progression. Jarred from his stride, Paxul spins around to glare at Locke, “What the hell are you doing?”
“Picking up a weapon,” replies Locke.
“That’s hardly big enough to be considered a weapon.”
Paxul snorts and continues walking. After a few steps the group comes across two more giant snails. With resolve in his eyes Bartax engages one snail while Paxul beats on the other. A third snail comes crawling out of the shadows towards Paxul, mouth open and ready to take a big bite out of his scaly hide. Paxul sees the third snail about to chomp into him at the last second, just as a rock lands in-between its eye with enough force to knock it to the ground. Paxul turns to Locke and simply nods, his prejudice not allowing him to vocalize his thanks.
“Here,” Bartax says, handing Paxul a machete, “It was logged in one of the snails.”
“Looks militaristic.” Locke says.
Paxul shoots Locke an irritated look as Bartax explains, “When the hole above Grimrock was first discovered, the four factions sent multiple expeditionary teams to investigate the inside of the mountain. Volunteers quickly dried up as word got out that no one came back, so the factions started sending prisons down to investigate. We’ll probably find plenty of gear down here left over from those teams.”
Locke’s stomach grumbled. “Is anyone else hungry?” Paxul bent over one of the snails, cut a chunk from its carcass and threw it to Locke. “You can’t be serious.” Locke said in disgust.
“We either eat what we find or starve to death.” Paxul said matter-of-factly. To which Locke begrudgingly took a bite of giant snail and the group carried on their journey through Grimrocks depths.
* * *
“Click-Clik-Click,” said Rex.
“I don’t speak click-clack,” quipped Locke.
“It’s a mage scroll drone,” Paxul answered. Rex clicked out a response. “I’m a warrior. I don’t know how it works.”
Locke spoke up again, “Oh, that’s easy. You just make the rune mark in the air. I’ve seen Landarian battle mages do it during festivals.”
Rex clicked again, and Paxul laughed while handing the scroll to Rex, “Bugs can’t do magic, but go ahead and knock yourself out.” Rex looked at the scroll and mimicked the rune mark in the air.
Paxul jumped out the way as fire erupted from Rex’s claws. Everyone stared at Rex slack-jawed for a moment. “So this is what the ants do with their magic users,” Paxul said incredulously. “Guess you’re not as useless as you look after all.”
* * *
“The note we found said rest between the dragons. This would be between the dragons.” Bartax said as he sat down.
“We don’t have time for this,” argued Paxul.
“We’ve gone through six floors and hundreds of creatures. It’s definitely time for a nap.” Locke chimed in, sitting down on the dungeon’s stone floor.
“Click-clik.” Rex agreed.
Seeing as he had no choice in the matter, Paxul sat next to his chained companions. Within moments the group was fast asleep.
A few hours later they awoke. Yawning, Locke said, “I had the weirdest dream.”
“As did I.” Paxul said.
“Me too!” Locke said in surprise. Rex clicked, clearly in agreement. “We should’ve rested sooner.”
“There was no need to, and still no need even earlier. We don’t know what it wants. I don’t trust anything that can speak inside my head.” Paxul said.
“Neither do I, but we should still rest periodically to see if it has more to say. We don’t have any other leads out,” reasoned Bartax. The group agreed, Paxul reluctantly so, and started making their way further down the dungeon towards their telepathic acquaintance.
* * *
Hundreds of creatures and puzzles later they made it to the telepath within Mount Grimrock. The end.
… Wait, what?!
The end?! That’s it? Did they make it out? What the hell happened? You can’t just end shit abruptly, there’s already a sequel! How the hell is this supposed to lead to a sequel?!
They’re not related? Well screw you guys, I’m going home. Narrator out! *insert dropped mic sound bite here*