Diablo 3’s Release Gives Hope That One Dungeon Replaces Another

I play a multitude of games that focus on dungeon crawling. From Skyrim, with its plethora of dungeons scattered across its massive landscape, to the Legend of Grimrock, with one dungeon stacked on top of the other, I live to explore and pillage damp caverns of stone and rock. The great thing about dungeon crawlers there’s always the option to quit, there’s always an exit. For the last eight months though, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a dungeon with no option to quit and no exit.

Beautiful, but I want out.

I’ve been unemployed for the last eight months. My old company could no longer afford to pay me due to the decline of print, and the recession that is quickening its death. For the last eight months I’ve been crawling the same unemployment dungeon. In Skyrim, dungeons are littered with traps, monsters and magical rewards. The unemployment dungeon is littered with poor and few good job opportunites, a multitude of other (qualified) candidates and supposedly an exit… a job.

No exit, just stairs to another dungeon.

In the unemployment dungeon I have yet to find that exit. I’ve been close, a lot. With 15 plus first round and around five second round interviews under my adventure’s belt, I’ve seen the light that signifies my escape. Three times now I’ve been, what I like to call, a semifinalist for a position. I’ve been the companion that is left behind as the hero narrowly rolls under the falling wall. Now I feel a little remorse for all those hired hands that died during my adventures in Skyrim and Diablo 2.

You didn’t know Aliza but you did know she would die.

On the horizon is the release of one of my all time favorite dungeon crawlers. A dungeon crawler I used to go to computer cafes back in the 90s to play with my brother-in-law. A dungeon crawler that caused me to drag my step-dad and mom into the home office, to show them the in-game cinematics. A game I’ve been looking forward to since its second coming in 2000. Until recently. Blizzard’s Diablo series is set to release its third iteration (Diablo 3) on May 15th, 2012 and after my most recent near escape from my career dungeon, I was looking forward to it.

After receiving another letter in the mail this past weekend, informing me that my time in my personal employment crypt is not yet over, my anticipation for a virtual crypt took a hit. Diablo 3 lost some of its luster and importance to me as I read the HR letter filled with fluff. I’ve had this disease before but found the cure. This time around it’s different. My cofers are thinning and I’ve used all the potions available to me. As I write though my excitement for a game 12 years overdue rises, just like the games protagonist and namesake. My determination to leave my real world dungeon and enter a virtual one, is reastablished.

Lets hope the exit is just ahead.

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Legend Of Grimrock: A Bit Of D&D, Without All The Work.

I’ve never been more excited to find a loin clothe or a pair of sandals in a game before. When I found a cloak for my rogue styled lizard man, Lando Calizardian, I actually yelled out, “Holy sh*t, a cloak!”. That is the kind of atmosphere Legend of Grimrock creates; items are not littered throughout its narrow dungeon hallways like they are in Skyrim, dead monsters don’t regularly drop magical items as they do in Diablo 3. In Legend of Grimlock, scarcity is in abundance, as is tension.

What's around the corner or down the next flight of steps? Legend of Grimrock keeps you scared and guessing.


Legend of Grimrock pays homage to the grid based movement games of the DOS era, and it does it very well. Almost Human Ltd., who run their offices out of the bottom floor of an apartment building, are the small Finnish based developers behind Legend of Grimrock. Almost Human have perfectly captured the fun of games like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master, and sprinkled in the perfect amount of modern to make it appeal to today’s gamer.

Save often, not just at save crystal locations, because you will die often.

The grid based movement reminds me of another game that dictates movement via squares, Dungeons & Dragons. Many elements of the book based RPG game can be seen within Legend of Grimrock. The roles the four individuals, positioned in a 2×2 formation, are almost identical to the roles of my party members from past D&D encounters. The two individuals leading the way are boneheads with bats (swords, axes, or maces) who dish out punishment while acting as a shield for the more fragile individuals positioned behind them – they essentially act as tanks do in many MMO games or like warriors in D&D. Behind the meat shields is the aforementioned rogue Lando Calizardian, who is good with a bow and other projectile weapons (but can also be designed to be an effective assassin who is handy with a dagger). The final character type can almost be guessed is you have any experience with D&D. My green bipedal bug mage, Gandolf the Green, has the most potential for damage output, and the most potential to perish.

Gandolf the Green is my mage and potion master.

With these four individuals (preset or completely customizable), who are pardon of their crimes once they are dropped off at the top of Mount Grimrock, you must make your way through a maze of monsters and traps on your way to freedom. If you are in need of a dungeon crawler cure then Legend of Grimrock is the perfect potion, just watch your step.

Trap doors; get used to seeing them, and falling down them.