Hehe, Legend of Grimrock abbreviates to LOG. Ok, enough childish innuendo. Maybe.
This week I’ve managed to drag myself away for fleeting moments to scribble down notes to form a masterfully written coherent article about Grimrock! (I keep wanting to say Grimlock…)
Here we go? Keep in mind, as my usual warning, there may be potential minor spoilers as I explain certain things. You’ve been warned.
Four Mages never goes badly right?…Right? Sword and board = overrated yeah?
First off, that was sarcasm. Please don’t do four mages and then ask what you did wrong. I’m assuming everyone reading this is going to be familiar with how the combat works. It’s a square grid with 2×2 units per square. Fairly straightforward principle: enemies can only attack the two characters that they are directly opposite, and only on a cardinal point of the compass. Essentially forwards, both sides and behind you.
None of this crazy diagonal business. Important thing to note is that while this holds true for ranged and melee attacks, magic hits everyone in your party at once. This makes it extremely deadly, but the same also holds true for enemies. Capice?
So the sensible option here, is put two warriors in the front row. Don’t be too overly concerned about their damage output, as they essentially are going to be your meat shields. Make them unkillable and you can win by attrition. A win is still a win folks.
Your back role are going to be your main damage dealers. If this is your first time playing, you are unfamiliar with these style of games; or if you’ve already tried playing and got owned really badly, never fear. The simple solution is take one character as a rogue and the other a mage.
“Hang on! That’s the normal party!” I hear you cry. And while it is, I have a few suggestions to make it easier up until that point when you should have things under control. First up, the two warriors. Give them the perks for defensive bonuses, you know, things like Constitution, which is basically Vitality. Pretty much all your skill points for them should be put into maxing out Armour first and then Athletics. More durable tanks is never a bad thing. As for race, I like lizard-men. They have lower intellect, but who cares? They are warriors.
High Constitution and higher base Dexterity are optimal. Do this. Also to further this point, Armour is great but Evasion is also just as important. Not getting hit at all is better than reducing the hit damage. Keep in mind that nothing except Resist Spells affects magic hence why the Constitution for a high health pool is important. So in summary, warriors want high Constitution for health and Dexterity for dodge. Strength isn’t as important as its purely a damage stat.
Being sneaky and spell-slinging, is being smart.
Rogues have two options. One of which is to go the path of melee weapons and skill into Assassination. I don’t recommend this, simply because the other is so much better. Get some throwing weapons, shurikens or knives, or ranged weapons, like a crossbow. All thrown or missile weapons/ammunition can be picked up again off slain enemies and better yet, they do not have a hit calculation like melee weapons do.
So essentially, they cannot miss. So all you then need to do it maximise your strength for more damage output. Skill points should be spent maxing out throwing or missile weapons, and then the remainder placed where ever you get the best stat benefits from.
Magi are simple, get damage items and skill purely towards getting more energy. I recommend only skilling in one or two magic trees, otherwise you’ll be spread too thin to get any really effectiveness out of your spells. I highly recommend going the path of Ice and Air.
I say Air because it gives all the best lightning spells, and theres also the least resistance to them, and Ice because it eventually gives you Frost Bolt – this has a chance to freeze, and as stuns are rare, it’s definitely worth having and abusing. If you’ve played a little into the game, you’ll find the Poison Resist is helpful to get for level three and onward, but doesn’t exactly scale as well late game due to the lack of strong offensive abilities. This is where Ice and Air go really well; a stun coupled with strong offensive spells with not many resistant enemies makes for them as the best choices to go for in terms of spell schools.
Something also worth remembering, is that spells hit all enemies on a tile, and spells such as Ice Spikes, ripple out in a line and travel through multiple tiles. Careful positioning can make for extremely simple fights.
1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3… It’s like doing the Waltz!
Ok, to clarify that title. It’s going to become something you’ll get really familiar. It’s what I call “circle-strafing”, and essentially it’s constantly moving around the square grid, striking enemies on the sides and back to avoid damage and also deal more yourself. It’s a fairly simple idea but astounding how many people don’t even consider it.
Too many RPGs and MMOs, where you just rely on the stats, and forget about how this has a literal physical element to it. So the movement is made up of one sidestep, one move forward and then then turning to face the enemy. Hit all your attacks and then repeat the “dance”. With a bit of practice you can have it so you won’t get hit by enemies virtually at all, making it almost a necessity by the later levels, when enemies start to hurt. Master it early, use it often.
The other big thing that I’ve seen people fail at, both players in person and posts on YouTube, is that people don’t seem to abuse and manipulate the environment enough and I would have thought this was an obvious one.
If there are objects that shoot fire, or pitfalls everywhere, exploit them. Bait enemies into them for easy kills and disposals. Every time you can win without fighting is a true victory. The other simple trick, is to exploit doorways, especially starting at level three onward.
Most doors will have a push button or pull chain next to them. The method is simple; just open the door and throw everything at the enemies, without leaving the doorway, and then simply close the door and wait for cool-downs to reset. Rinse and repeat and you can clear out hugely problematic rooms with very little effort.
Hopefully all these tips will ease your efforts and make the game a little more forgiving. Good luck with escaping the dungeons, if you have any further questions or clarifications, feel free to leave a comment or message me on Twitter.
For more ManBeast and the game, get some advice on DarkSouls here.