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As anyone who is familiar with the sixth century Norse epic poem will know, Grendel is an evil smelling, evil tempered and pretty much all around evil creature who nightly descends upon Heorot hall to snack on the finest Viking warriors. In the game Grendel's cave, you get the chance to do as Beowulf did in the epic and try to rid the world of Grendel, all from the comfort of your favourite web browser.
Unfortunately, your job will be made rather harder by the fact that Grendel shares his titula cave with a host of other unpleasant creatures including skeletons, ghouls, goblins and even animated trees. Fortunately, these creatures are slightly easier to slay than the unstoppable Grendel, so you will be able to practice your fighting skills, gather magical items and earn gold rings in loot which can be used to purchice more weapons or magical aide, all of which will be needed if your eventually going to take on Grendel himself, sinse the monster can only be slane by the holder of the legendary amulet Yggdrasil, an amulet which must be earned by journeying to the nine worlds of norse cosmology such as Asgard, home of the gods as well as the hellish Niflheim and the depths of the firy Muspelheim to complete various quests. Also, just as in the Norse epic, even if you vanquish the foul Grendel his vengeful mother is waiting in the wings to take on where her son left off, and even if you deal with her, ---- well as Bilbo famously said "It is not wise to leave a dragon out of your calculations"
Though having various elements you would expect from a typical Rpg, lots of combat, experience, questing, there are many things which make Grendel's cave extremely unique. Firstly, comnbat in the game is a little more complicated than the dull old attack and hit mechanics you might have seen elsewhere. Your Thane has two hands, each of which can hold a weapon, weapons with which you can perform various actions. When you enter a room, a monster will be at a distance and will only close with you over time, thus meaning tactics such as using a long spear to jab at your enemy from a distance, throwing a knife to soften your foe up before you close, or even burning your enemy with a torch are all options open to you. Additionally, there are a huge range of abilities and different attacks to keep you on your toes, both from enemies who will pelt you with poison, magic, gas or other unpleasantness, or on your own behalf, sinse you might find yourself able to tame monsters to fight for you, cause earthquakes or even fly. In addition, Grendel's cave features a complex and detailed world to explore sinse though much of your time will be spent traversing said cave there are many other locations to visit as well, and of course no thane can call themselves a true viking warrior without learning how to sale to distant shores. Even your progress through the game is not certain, sinse many improvements must be gained from a capricious witch who is as likely to curse you as to help you, while hints about runes and other puzzles need to be obtained from a less than even tempppered dragon.
One extremely nice thing about the game however, is that the difficulty andd parameters of your quest can vary. Beginning you can start in the "kind" kingdom which does not feature perminant death of your thane, and has a generally easier setup, although you cannot slay Grendel and complete the game in this kingdom. More advanced Kingdoms will of course let you complete the ultimate quest, though will be subsequently harder, or if you wish will let you attack other thanes or join a tribe to compete for prestige.
The developer of the game has been extremely committed towards the game's accessibility. You can play the game in two modes, "text" or "command" (you can set these in the options for your account or type "change ui to text/command" during the game.
In text mode, things operate much as many other browser games do, with you being able to click on various objects to interact with them by using your screen reader to click on the appropriate bit of in game text. For example, at the beginning of the game, when you start in Heorot hall, click on "door" to leave, or click on any item you see lying around (such as a weapon or a rune), to interact with it. Also note the two dropdown combo boxes on screen which can change your action and which will be different according to the circumstance and your area, for example to inspect an item, monster or other object select "inspect" from the dropdown and then click, or to improve one of your characters core attributes select "improve" from the correct dropdown and click on your thane. Attacking and combat is similar, When holding a dagger in one hand the options "throw dagger" and "stab with dagger" will appear in the "items" dropdown, so to throw a dagger at a goblin you would select "throw dagger" and then click on the goblin, (this is likely far more complex to explain than it is in practice).
In command mode, the game plays like a mud or an interactive fiction game. Though the same essential information is shown on screen, you would need to type commands such as "Inspect feast" or "throw dagger at goblin"
One other important element to remember, is that the game uses the concept of facing. Thus when traversing the dark and twisty passages of "grendel's cave" unless you have a cumpas, clicking on "passage left" will not only enter that passage but turn your character to the left, so you'd then need to use "passage forward" to continue in the same direction. Alternatively, if your character has a compass, you will always face north, thus "passage forward" will always take you to the north, while "passage right" will be east no matter what direction you were going.
Grendel's cave is entirely free to play, you just need to create an account and begin, and you can create as many thanes as you wish in different kingdoms on your account, (or indeed sale your thanes to another, more advanced kingdom). However the game does have an in game currency known as lives which cost 0.5 usd each, (that's about 30 Uk Pence or roughly 40 Euroe Cents). Lives may be used for various bennifits, one of which (as you would guess), is purchicing protection from death for all your thanes, as well as a private room to rest and recover in safe from Grendel, these bennifits may also be bought on a dayly, weekly or monthly basis. Additionally, lives may be used to buy extra abilities when creating your thane to give them a better start off, everything from shape shifting to teleportation, some of which might even change your thane's races, (choosing the flight ability for example will create a faery thane), though some at least of these powers may also be found during the game if your thane is lucky enough (and if the witch is in a good temper). Lives may also be used at a magical shop in the game itself to gain various bennifits for your thane, though this is a place you'll need to find.
You can even use lives purchice your own private kingdom who's parameters you may set yourself at a monthly cost of lives.
Donating to the game is also not the only way to obtain lives, sinse lives may also be gained through competitions and events run during the game as well.
Though there is a deal to learn in Grendel's cave, fortunately there is also a comprehensive help section which may be Found here, which it's recommended people have a skim through.
Grendel's cave, due to it's long standing reputation has even got it's own entry on Wikipedia, which can be Found here
If you've been waiting for a big, complex, and detailed rpg with a huge world to explore, a grand over all quest to strive for, lots of monsters to slay and combat that takes more brains than repetitive action, it's highly recommended you step into Grendel's cave for a spot of nordic spelunking.
Updates: entry 25 Jan 17 and description 25 Jan 17