Game Over Online ~ Grim Fandango

GameOver Game Reviews - Grim Fandango (c) Lucasarts, Reviewed by - cyrus

Game & Publisher Grim Fandango (c) Lucasarts
System Requirements P200 32mb RAM 3d Accelerator
Overall Rating 94%
Date Published Saturday, November 7th, 1998 at 03:32 PM

Divider Left By: cyrus Divider Right

Lucasarts has a proud adventure game tradition: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Monkey Island, Sam and Max, Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle. The list is long and distinguished. Grim Fandango is the newest addition to the Lucasarts adventure tradition and not only does it live up to its ancestors but it surpasses them in every way. With this title Lucasarts has completely revolutionized the adventure game genre much like Sierra did when it invented the clickable mouse interface. In Grim Fandango you play the role of Manny Calevara, a travel agent for the dead. Something is amiss and souls are not getting the right passage across the land of the dead that they deserve. As an honest travel agent (I guess they exist) it is your job to find out exactly what is happening.


Amazing! The graphics are incredible for an adventure game. Instead of having 2D sprites, all the characters are rendered in real-time 3d. Not only do the characters look good but so do the backgrounds. Everything fits perfectly into the theme of the game. 3D acceleration is supported through Direct3D and the graphics are very smooth on my Voodoo2. The movies are very well put together and animated and although a strong death theme predominates there are still some visual cues, which caused me to laugh. This game doesn't have tons of eye candy and 3d explosions but the backgrounds and characters are so perfect and well rendered that I honestly didn't think about it until I started to write this review.


Once again, amazing! Every sound effect is crystal clear and the music is incredible. All voice effects were matched perfectly with the character's animation and the sound never stuttered. All of the sounds were affected by the environments, which I found incredible; I loved it when I was walking down an alley and could hear my footsteps echo. I am not sure if this game supports 3d positional audio but it definitely seemed like it. I would like to note one scene where I was sitting talking at a table and I could hear my sidekick from the other room. It sounded like he was actually in the other room on my left side and behind me.


The puzzles in this game are of the perfect difficulty. They are not easy by any means but I have never been stuck more than forty-five minutes in a location. I liked this because I remember playing Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and being stuck for an entire week until I broke down and read the walkthrough. With Grim, it seemed every time that I wanted to give up I would make a breakthrough and move on to the next puzzle which I find to be excellent game design by the developers. Control was a different matter however and I found it a bit clunky and hard to get used to. When I was playing with the keyboard I was continually walking past where I wanted to go and always pressing the wrong key. Once I woke up and started using my gamepad the game became much more playable. I like the new style of gameplay that Grim brings to the adventure genre and I can't wait until other companies start catching on to this exciting new approach.

Fun Factor:

If you don't mind the frustration that adventure games cause then this game is for you. I am having a great time playing this game and the jokes are very funny, in a dark sort of way. For instance, the introduction portrays the main character as a ominous looking "travel agent of the dead" but when you see him go back to his office you find he was using stilts, a black mantle and a fold-in scythe. Subtle humor is abundant and there is the occasional prat fall. People of all ages should enjoy this game but it is seems to be aimed for a more mature crowd then Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle was.


Right on par with the graphics and sound. The story in this game is original and I found it to pull me in. Grim's story can not be defined as one specific genre as it draws from all different areas of storytelling including a strong Mexican influence. A strong death theme presides over the game and much of the humour is very black with death puns being numerous. You take control of a "travel agent" for the dead called Manny Calevara and your goal is to find a rich client in order to pay off a debt of yours. The story diverges into more interesting directions as you progress through the game and converse with the many superbly designed characters of Grim Fandango. I would tell you more about the story but I don't want to spoil any of it. Let me just leave it as being excellent.

Overall Impression:

In almost every way Grim Fandango has proven itself to me as a breakthrough title. The graphics, sound, story are all incredible, the movies are amazing and I really can't find anything wrong with this game other than the somewhat annoying control system. Thankfully it is not as short as Full Throttle and it is definitely worth BUYING! I just wish games like this had some replay value. In one final note, if you don't like adventure games you should consider trying this title as its unique and refreshing approach might give you a new appreciation of the adventure genre.


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