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Say the name Mike Singleton and what instantly springs to mind? Well, in my case it was nothing (what's new?) but to many people the name is synonymous with a strategy/ adventure game called The Lords of Midnight: an innovative and highly successful game that's still remembered by many with a sense of awe. And more recently there was the epic arcade/ strategy game Midwinter. In fact, innovation seems to be Singleton's forte as Grimblood is definitely not of your run-of-the-mill game design.
There you are minding your own business, wondering how you were going to fill another day amid the cold corridors of castle Grimblood when a scream echoes through the hallways. Someone has been murdered and it's your job to find the killer before he strikes again. Cue music.
Grimblood opens by showing you its Castle screen through which the interrogation and exploration screens are accessed – clicking on castle windows identifies the rooms behind them and gives you the option to travel there. While travelling to a chosen location you may stop at any time to explore other areas along the way or to interrogate anyone you meet.
Function keys are assigned to particular questions you may ask of people, instructions you may give and accusations you can make – but don't go accusing someone of the murders unless you have positive proof of their guilt: they soon become unfriendly. You can also assign people to go to particular locations to observe happenings and report back to you. Not everybody will co-operate though.
Objects found can be examined and adjacent rooms described with the pointing of the cursor and click of the mouse. Secret passages abound, making it easy to get lost if you don't keep track of your whereabouts.
To win you need to accuse the right person of the murders – and with characters such as Ironbrain and Lockjaw to deal with your choice of suspects is vast. He/ she will confess eventually but don't forget to get a witness. Neither should you dawdle as the murderer will carry on with his/ her devilish doings until everyone is dead. And while the murders will whittle down the number of suspects, you never know when you'll be the next victim.
David Whittaker (another famous name) created the music in Grimblood, but while it's fairly effective it's also quite repetitive. Sound effects are ok but the speech (thankfully accompanied by text) is not very good.
Gameplay alters each time you play Grimblood in that different people get murdered with different weapons and the guilty party is never the same guy/ girl twice (well, not very often). While there's not a lot to get excited about in Grimblood, it will make you think and it's an interesting concept.