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Grim Fandango (PC)

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  • a little variation of the gameplay wouldn’t have gone amiss
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      27.11.2010 20:37

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      Grim Fandango is a personal computer game in the graphic adventure genre

      The Grim Fandango follows the adventures of Manuel Manny Calavera a travel agent for the department of death. The game is split into four acts which take place on the 2nd of November spanning four consecutive years. The first act starts in El Marrow where Manny is working as a travel agent for the department of death in order to pay off some debt "to the powers that be". Manny's job involves selling his clients travel solutions in order to reach the Ninth Underworld, the packages they qualify for is dependant on how good they have been in they're previous life's. Manny is constantly getting bad clients that must make the four year journey, and is told by his boss, Don Copal that if he doesn't find some better clients he will be fired. In order to avoid losing his job Manny with help from Glottis a speed demon who Manny befriends and recruit to be his driver steals a client from his work colleague Domino Hurley, however to his surprise when he puts her details into the system she only qualifies for the four year journey, when she should have qualified for tickets on the number 9, a luxury express train which takes passengers to the Ninth Underworld in four minutes rather than four years. Manny goes to confront his boss as he believes this is a mistake and is told that it is his fault and that he is fired from his job, then he goes back to his office to find her she has gone. Manny investigates further and finds out that his boss has been denying people tickets and giving them to Hector LeMans , a boss in the criminal underworld so he can sell them on the black market at extortionate prices to those who can afford it. He also meets Salvador Sal Limones the leader of a small underground group called the Lost Souls Alliance who knows about Hector LeMans plans and recruits Manny in order to help their cause. Knowing that he is powerless to stop Hector at present he decides to try and find Mercedes on her four year journey so he can make things right. With help from Salvador Manny reaches the Petrified Forest where he meets Glottis again who has also been fired from the department of death. The first act ends with Manny arriving at the small port town of Rubacava and discovering that he has beaten her there so he decides to wait until she shows up. The second act takes place in Rubacava exactly a year after the end of the first act, the town has grown a lot in a year and Manny is now owner of a nightclub/casino. In this act Manny discovers that his old boss has been sprouted, and when Mercedes finally shows up she is instantly kidnapped by Domino, who takes her away on a boat. Manny then gets a job aboard a ship so that he can follow them. Another year passes and you move on to the third act, Manny is now captain of the ship which he got the job on at the end of the second act. In this act Manny tracks Domino to a mining plant at the edge of the earth where he and Mercedes are held hostage by Domino along with all the other clients that they have stolen tickets from. At the end of this act they escape and Domino is killed trying to stop them. Act four starts at the terminus for the number nine train. However the gatekeeper to the ninth underworld won't let them pass without their tickets believing wrongly that they had sold them. They then travel back to Rubacava and then on to El Marrow which is now fully under Hectors control and have now been renamed to Nuevo Marrow. Manny then regroups with the Lost Soul Alliance and finds out about Hectors current activity. He also discovers that Hector is not only stealing tickets but making counterfeit tickets. Manny is able to defeat Hector and then return all the tickets to their rightful owners and in return receives his own ticket. The game ends with Manny and Mercedes boarding the number nine train for their trip to the ninth underworld. The main strengths this game has is the excellent characterisation; despite the large number of characters in the game they are all extremely well presented. The story is also very well written, this is not a game that you play through purely for the satisfaction of beating it rather it's because the story keeps you engaged and you are actually interested in what happens to these characters. Another big strength this game has is its unusual blend of styles. It has a plot and characters straight out of the film noir genre twinned with Aztec beliefs about the afterlife

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      06.09.2010 17:20

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      One of the best adventure games out there

      Grim Fandango is one of the classic Lucas arts adventure game titles. As one of the first 3-d titles of the genre, Grim Fandango has been a huge influence on modern adventure games. As ever, the story is fantastic. You play as Manny Calavera who works as an 'agent' to assist newly dead people through the land of the dead. Kind of a commercial grim reaper. Manny soon uncovers corruption and falls for a newly dead woman. The story unfolds nicely and there are plenty of twists and turns. The art direction in the game is outstanding. It takes inspiration from noir films such as Casablanca. Although the characters look somewhat blocky now, they still retain their charm. The same can be said of the controls. They take some getting used to as the movement is a bit clunky. This is to be expected of a game this age though, and it doesn't detract from the game. Grim Fandango is well worth playing if you are a fan of the adventure genre.

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      14.12.2009 06:28
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      I would recommend this game above all others for the PC

      GRIM FANDANGO I'm a big fan of Lucas Arts games. I used to love Monkey Island and Loom when I had an old Atari ST computer. As soon as I got my first PC I bought Monkey Island as I loved the humour and the puzzles. Unfortunately I wasn't on the internet back then so I rarely got to the end of a game as I'm not the world's best game player -but I had loads of fun trying to move on to the next level. I saw the Grim Fandango game second hand at a carboot. It looked in good condition and I only paid £4 for it so I wasn't going to be upset if it was crappy. Little did I know that I'd just happened upon the best game of all time! The graphics were stunning. There aren't lots of fancy visual effects but the actual scenes are fantastic. The humour in Grim Fandango has got to be experienced to be believed. It's not just the funnyiest game I've ever played, it's one of the funnyiest things full stop! The puzzles are feindishly difficult at times, but I cheat and look on the net in the tricky bits. There's a really good sound track to the game -I'm not exactly sure what you'd call it -somewhere between boogie and jazz. Grim Fandango is not an action game, you don't run round and shoot stuff. You can't easily be killed (because your character is already dead). What happens is that you guide this reaper, skeleton character round called Manny in a quest to get to the afterlife while solving a brilliant mystery along the way -that I'm not going to spoil. The whole thing is based around the Mexican/South American Day Of The Dead beliefs that after you die you go through various stages before reaching heaven. In places Grim Fandango is like a film noir - there's nothing bad about this game. It's funny, it's entertaining it's exciting, the characters are brilliant and the interface is simple - you just click on items, talk to other characters and save things in your inventory -so it's all fairly run of the mill to operate. But for some reason Grim Fandango is more than the sum of it's parts, I doubt it would interest the Playstaion/X box crowd -but if you own a PC and don't own this game you don't know what your missing. Thank you for reading my review. Mike

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      12.12.2009 20:04
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      Sheer perfection

      Grim Fandango is one of the best and most aggressively unique games of the 1990s. It has never been a huge commercial hit but has a large cult fanbase, thanks to its stunning artistic design, as well as its hilariously morbid sense of humour and wonderful characters. Manny Calavera works for the Department of the Dead, offering special deals to those who die, deals which are based on how good the life they've led is. However, he soon discovers that the DoD is in fact corrupt, and all of his business is diverted away from him, towards the tyrannical honcho Domino, who is rolling in dough as a result. Grim Fandango relies on excellent puzzles and a stunning sense of adventure to get by. It isn't a game about epic battles or challenging tasks; it is mostly quite easy, but what makes it so magnificent is the quality of the storytelling, which remains among the best that the medium has ever seen. Despite being over a decade old, Fandango is a visual feast; the world we see is stunningly rendered, and shows plenty of imaginative touches, making it a clever allegory of our own world. The visuals are also quite dynamic, meaning that there's plenty to interactive with, and there's also considerable variety, meaning you don't get tired of the same drab backdrops over and over again. Sound-wise, it's also brilliant, with a soothing soundtrack that combines several eclectic styles. With its 30+ hour length and immersive, hilarious storyline, Grim Fandango has been prime film adaptation potential for a long time. Sadly, it never sold enough copies to be considered a bankable franchise despite huge critical acclaim, so the story will have to live on through a game that isn't done justice by reviews or by sales.

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        11.09.2009 16:58
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        An epic in story-driven gameplay. The definitive adventure game.

        Grim Fandango is a 1998 LucasArts PC graphic adventure game which takes place in The Land of The Dead. Its mechanics are in a similar vain to that of Monkey Island, in that the player must converse with NPCs through simple conversation trees, collect items, and utilize items in their inventory in conjunction with their environment in order to progress. The player assumes the role of Manuel Calavera, a man who has long passed on, and now eeks out a living in one of the many afterlifes, The Ninth Underworld, working as a Grim Reaper for the Department of Death. Sound interesting? The game is incredibly stylish, drawing heavily on such classic noir movies as Casablanca and On The Waterfront, whilst simultaneously including a great deal of influence from ancient Aztec and Mexican art, much of which is highly reminiscent of the later work of Russian artist Frida Kahlo. Manny's job is essentially an after-death travel agent. Almost everyone in the game has died some time ago, and the newly-dead are delivered to Manny, who checks up their information in a database and assigns each "client" with a travel deal package in order to reach the NEXT afterlife, a place which nobody knows anything about. The travel packages are based on whether or not the souls have led a worthwhile life, and can include anything from a simple walking-stick with a compass attached, to a golden ticket on the Number Nine, an express train headed for the Tenth Underworld, reserved only for the most moral and true of heart. Manny just can't seem to get his big break, always getting stuck with deadbeat clients, but why? Something smells rotten in The Land of The Dead... It is only when Manny begins to question this that he uncovers a Worldwide conspiracy, and with his missing client Mercedes Colomar, so begins an epic tale of love, crime and corruption. The game takes place over four years, each day on The Land of The Dead, a real Mexican festival. Manny really travels the World, seeing all kinds of places, all teeming with originality and brilliance of concept. Never have I seen a game with such flawless style, the beautiful environments are all perfectly rendered and brilliantly conceived. Looking at the game, with its simple (but still amazingly playable) mechanics and ever-so-slightly pixelly character models, its easy to tell that its not new, but thats not what matters. The game is very much carried by its myriad characters, all of which are superbly written and well-voiced with SO many highly memorable quips! This is not a game that takes itself seriously, with its crazy elaborate puzzles and unlikely situations, it has a huge amount of humour injected in it, but nonetheless, any player would still feel an enormous amount of investment in every one of the characters. It also has a truly tremendous score, one of the best I have ever seen. 31 tracks, fusing latin-jazz, mexican parade music, noir, atmospheric and bepop. The soundtrack is also available for purchase, but isn't really worth it, as they can be manually ripped from the game's .pak file if you're clever, albeit in slightly lower quality. Sound effects, rendering, replayability, writing, longevity, style and plot are all nothing short of brilliant. Although puzzles can very occasionally be somewhat montonous and complicated, and its impossible to actually lose the game, (without just giving up on it altogether.) its impossible to find yourself bored whilst playing this truly superb game, due to the amazing design and fantastic overall feel and atmosphere. It runs perfectly well on XP, and will run on pretty much every modern computer. Its suitable for all ages, despite its adult themes, but kids might find the puzzles a little too tricky. It has received a great number of awards and critical acclaim. If you're into adventure\puzzle games, noir film, or even just games in general, you simply must play Grim Fandango. Its available at Amazon, Play, and second hand in many game shops. Well worth paying up to £15 for, but you can probably get it much cheaper on eBay.

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          15.05.2009 01:01
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          get this now.

          Grim Fandango, set in the land of the dead provides us with one of the best adventure games ever. Grim Fandango incorporates an excellent storyline, with laugh out loud humour, with characters that by the end you'll feel sorry to leave. A simply amazing combination that leaves the player desperate for more. The game characters, rather than being the typical point and click are controlled by using the keyboard. This while for the majority of the game works well, there are several instances that it just causes total frustration. Most of the problems in the game are not too difficult with only one or two exceptions that I can remember. There are many guides freely available on the net if you are getting stuck so this isn't really a problem. Most people play adventure games for the challenge of the problems and to become involved in a good story. This games has this in aces. The storyline is outlined in several other reviews here but what I need to stress is that when you finish this game you will wish you hadn't. I finished this game three years ago and it still ranks amongst the best games I have ever played for sheer enjoyment. I simply fell in love with the characters and their world. The humour will have you laughing so much that other people living with you will wonder what you are doing. I am jealous of anyone starting this game for the first time.

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            20.08.2008 00:18
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            Amazing game - buy it now!

            Grim Fandango, made by LucasArts (the people who bought you Star Wars) is a point n' click adventure but without the point n' clicking. If you've played the Broken Sword Title 'Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon' then it's very similar to that in the way you control your character, rather than clicking where you want your character to move. If you've never tried a point n' click game, you may think it sounds REALLY boring, but they are some of the best games out there, including this one. Grim Fandango, sees you playing as a Meixan Skeleton called 'Manny' and it's your job to sell 'transport options' to dead people so they can pass through to the after life in style. These range from a nice walking stick to a luxury train. I won't say anymore about the story as it may ruin it for you, but try and you will love it. PLUS it's dirt cheap now so what have you got to lose eh?

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              01.05.2006 15:36
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              Another great adventure game from LucasArts.

              Something’s afoot in the land of the dead… You play Manuel (Manny) Calevera, someone working his time before his soul can be atoned for – something like that, anyway – your character doesn’t actually know what he’s done wrong. Manny works for the agency that provide the transport package for the newly dead on their 4-year journey to wherever they’re going… the more good they did in their lives, the better the package they can “buy”… Things aren’t going his way, and at first he thinks it’s simply a bad clientele – but he soon learn that there’s a far more sinister reason… Coming from LucasArts, Grim Fandango is a 3D graphical adventure game. I’d heard many good things about it, and having enjoyed so many of their previous adventure games (particularly Zak McKraken and the Monkey Island series), I have very high hopes for this game. The question was, would I be disappointed? Read on to find out… First Impressions The game begins with a fairly long cut-scene (animated sequence that advances the story but during which the player does not play the game, just watches), which gives a good impression of the humour used in the game. It’s a good plot, interesting and surreal, and the humour comes across as a mixture of the surreal and noir. It’s very funny stuff. The interface is a little tricky at first, but not too hard to get into. More of which below… Interface The interface is keyboard-controlled, a la Escape from Monkey Island. Cursor keys to move your character, insert to bring up the inventory, enter to interact etc etc. Personally I still prefer mouse-control but this works okay. Instead of the usual method of the name of an object being displayed if you can interact with it, or the hugely frustrating (just let the player click on everything to see what he can interact with and what is simply scenery), Grim Fandango takes a novel approach: when you walk past an object that can be interacted with, your character’s head turns towards the object. This takes a bit of getting used to and can be quite frustrating at first as you hit enter just after your head’s turned away from what you were intended to look at / use, but after a while it works very well. Difficulty Some of the puzzles are a tad on the obscure side, and even some of the early ones vexed me to the point of looking up a hint guide on the net. I hate having to do that, particularly when all I can find is a walkthrough and have to try only to see the answer to what I’m stuck on without seeing anything else that might spoil later parts of the game! Well this only happened once to me (so far at least!), but then I am a fan of the genre and would hope that my puzzle-solving abilities are above average – and of course the wife normally works out the ones I can’t… :-O I feel it’s maybe a little too difficult – especially for those not used to this type of game (you have to develop a certain mindset) - you don’t want to complete a game within a few days (unless of course you’re playing it non-stop during the waking hours – well you can’t have everything!), but on the other hand being unable to progress due to one troublesome puzzle isn’t any fun. But, I have to admit, you always see the logic in a puzzle once you’ve seen the answer – no matter how impossible it was for you to work it out for yourself!! Aesthetics The graphics are “art-d飯r and Aztec-inspired”. This describes it pretty well – the graphics are suitably surreal and very colourful, and are nicely detailed. They can occasionally get slightly blocky in close-up mode, but this doesn’t detract from the gameplay. Some of the backgrounds are truly beautiful – more so than in any other game I’ve seen. The animation is generally excellent, with the lip-synching among the most impressive I’ve ever seen. When cut-scenes end the animation completely and abruptly stops, somewhat disconcertingly – I kept thinking the computer’s crashed! These are minor points, though – there’s a real atmosphere to the game, and in a large part this is due to the graphical style, music (there’s just occasionally a real whiff of Monkey Island about the music, but it’s all in its own style), sound effects, and the typically brilliant voice-acting. Options As you would expect, everything is fully customisable – characters’ speech can be text only, speech only, and text speech, hardware acceleration can be turned on or off, multiple save slots, in-game help mode for when you forget the controls, etc etc. All you could possibly want. Compatibility Though it’s fairly old and thus has quite low system requirements, it works fine on Windows XP. It only requires a 2Mb graphics card and supports numerous cards. It works fine on my GE Force 4 even though it doesn’t specifically state the it supports Nvidia cards. The version I played was packaged in the typical “er, just why did they use this large a box?” box, but it’ll be out on budget now, which means a smaller box. But never mind all that, it’s not the box you’ll be playing… Will You Still Be Playing it in 6 Months’ Time? Hard to say. If you’ve used a walkthrough then no, but then that’s your own outlook. If you struggle through the game yourself then probably, but if you absolutely refuse to use any hints then you may find yourself giving up out of sheer frustration, especially if you’re not used to this sort of game. Overall the longevity is quite good, and even if you complete it you may go back to it later for the humour. Is it Worth the Money? Yep. I don’t think it’s the absolute epitome of adventure gaming, but it’s pretty darn close. If you like this sort of game you’ll like this, although the interface may take a while to get used to. If you’re new to the genre, this would be a nice introduction to it. A five star game because of its originality, inventiveness, and wittiness of the game make it one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played for a long time. ***************** Final Ratings Graphics: – 88% - not perfect, but generally good, always atmospheric, and excellent animation, beautiful backgrounds Sound: – 95% - excellent in all departments, and the voice-acting is particularly good Playability: - 82% - not really enamoured of the interface but it does its job reasonably well. A bit too difficult in places. Longevity: - 78% - depends on your patience to a large extent. Replay Value: - 81% - better than most adventure games as it’s so funny and atmospheric. Value For Money: - 88% - if you like adventure games, this one will keep you playing for long enough and enjoyably enough to be well worth the money. Overall Rating: - 88% - An excellent game, if you like adventure games it should be in your collection. Availability ------------ The only problem with LucasArts games is that they don't tend to be re-released as budget titles. Amazon have it second hand on the Marketplace from £13.40, Play.com don't seem to stock it at all, nor do SentIt.com. LucasArts themselves don't seem to be selling it (so why no budget release, guys??!?!) so you may have to do a bit of digging to track this title down - however, if you like graphical adventure games, it's definitely worth the effort.

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                03.06.2003 02:41
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                Grim Fandango is a 3D graphic adventure game brought to us by Lucas Arts, those lovely people of Star Wars fame. It was released upon an unsuspecting public back in 1998 in PC version (which is the one I am going to be rambling on about) and later made an appearance on the Playstation1 (which I have yet to find a copy of to play, so sorry, no comparisons here). It is a game I came to quite by accident, being lent a copy of it after expressing a liking for this genre of game - as ever a master of impeccable timing, I had only discovered them when they were beginning to die out. I am aware that many people will have something of a blank expression on their faces at this point, so I shall start by covering.... - What is a graphic adventure? A graphic adventure is a third person game - that is, you are watching the character you are playing rather than seeing the world through their eyes - that evolved from the old text adventure games that some of you may recall from the 1980s. In a graphic adventure game, you have a rich storyline that your character can only progress through by collecting items and gathering information to solve puzzles. So, rather than running around and shooting people as so many current games demand, you are instead presented with the opportunity to think your way through a game, linking disparate pieces of data together to find the solution to a mystery. Graphic adventure games look quite different to modern games, rather primitive and basic to some eyes, I am sure. In your typical game, you have a series of locations that you can visit, but one location does not "scroll" or merge into the next; that is, the camera does not follow you as you walk through the door or pass from one location to another. Rather, they are presented as a series of "stills" that you can explore individually (e.g. within a house, you may have a bedroom and a kitchen to explore, and each of these rooms will have one, o r at the most, two static shots for you to move within). Within each location, you might have characters to talk to, who can help you or give you information if you ask the right questions. There may also be items to pick up and important points to notice. Some links in these games may be easy to make (such as using a key on a locked door), but others require quite a bit of thought and detective work to crack. Good examples in the graphic adventure genre (other than Grim Fandango) are the Monkey Island series, the Discworld games and Broken Sword. - The setting for Grim Fandango Our hero throughout Grim Fandango is Manny Calavera, a grim reaper working in the Department of Death in the Land of the Dead. The Land of the Dead is populated, well, by dead people who have yet to make it through to the bliss of Ninth Underworld. It is Manny's job to collect the newly departed from the land of the living and act as a travel agent of the afterlife to guide them on their journey to eternal rest - those clients who were good in life can take a short train journey directly to the Ninth Underworld, while the ?poorer? ones must undertake a four year journey of redemption on foot to gain admittance. But something is rotten in the Land of the Dead. Manny can never seem to get the most virtuous souls, so he is struggling to pay off his debts to the Department...and cannot embark on his journey to the Ninth Underworld until he has done so. It is your job to help Manny untangle the conspiracy that threatens his very salvation. - System requirements To play the PC version of Grim Fandango, you will need: - Windows 95 or 98 - Pentium 133 or faster - 4 speed or faster CD ROM drive - 32 MB RAM of memory - Microsoft Direct X 6.0 must be installed It has been noted that with Grim Fandango being a few years old, it struggles to work on fast PCs (by which I mean better than Pentium 2 - 400....no sniggering at the back, please). If you find this a problem, there is a patch than be downloaded from: www.lucasarts.com/products/grim/grim_spotlight.htm - Gameplay The gameplay for Grim Fandango is pretty typical for a graphic adventure game. The appearance on screen is deceptively simple - all you get is Manny standing in the location, with no toolbars, life indicators or gauges of any kind cluttering up the screen. This is mainly because you cannot die in this game...you are already dead, remember? You move Manny around the location with the arrow keys on your keyboard (which takes quite some practice if you are used to new fangled PS2 controllers, I can tell you), and give instructions using the following keys: - I to look at the inventory of items you have collected - E to examine an object Manny is holding or looking at - Enter to pick up or use an object - F1 to bring up a list of options such as saving or viewing recent dialogue To play then, you need to slowly walk Manny around his location - when he passes something he can interact with, his head will turn to look at it. You can then examine this point or object, and try to use it or pick it up by pressing "enter". Manny will give you a commentary on what he sees, passing on information and descriptions of objects to you for your information. If you find a new object it will go into your inventory when you pick it up, and you can try to use it on any point that Manny can interact with, by getting the object out and pressing enter whilst Manny is looking at whatever it is you want him to try and use it on. If there are characters in your location, you can talk to them by approaching them and pressing "enter". A list of things Manny can talk to them about will then appear on your screen, and you can guide the conversation as you choose. Thus, you gather information and objects and use them to progress the storyline onwards by solving puzzles. Grim Fandango eases the new player in gently, with Manny only having access to a couple of locations and objects in the opening section of the game. This means the information you have to process is limited - and the clues to your first actions are easy to spot. This is effectively your training for the rest of the game, which does get quite a bit harder from then on. Later clues vary from mildly taxing to downright fiendish! - My opinion Visuals - Grim Fandango looks like a cartoon, but a rather stylish cartoon. It is an eclectic mixture of Mexican themes (drawing heavily on the Day of the Dead for inspiration) and film noir. So while the graphics appear "blocky" and unsophisticated in parts to those of us more used to playing up to the minute games, the sheer ingenuity of the visuals means you hardly notice it. 8/10 Sound - The sound in Grim Fandango amounts pretty much to the dialogue between characters (which is shown in text on screen as well) and the background music. It neither needs nor uses sound effects, and keeps things simple. Most of the speech is easy to hear and understand, and music where used is relevant (e.g. Mexican pipe music, film noir style piano) and adds to the atmosphere of the game. 7/10 Lifespan - For all its apparent simplicity, Grim Fandango is a huge game and you can expect to be playing for a long time if you want to complete it. This is partly due to the large number of locations to explore and the impressive list of characters to interview. But mostly because some of the puzzles take so damn long to figure out! It took about 3 weeks of regular play to reach the half way point, and it is not going to get any easier now. So I would say several weeks to months depending on how often you play it and how many times you cheat by using Google to find a walkthrough. Grim Fandango can be a highly addictive game if you enjoy solving mysteries. 9/10 Playability - Very easy to pick up the controls, making it suitable for gamers of all ages and experience: even those who find they are not quick enough with the controls to get anything out of action games. Absorbing and frustrating in equal measures! 8/10 Originality - How many times have you played a Mexican film noir style game in the Land of the Dead? 10/10. Overall, I love Grim Fandango - I don't know how I missed it when it first came out, but I am very glad I have found a copy now. As a genre I enjoy graphic adventure games because they are so refreshingly different from what has become standard game material these days. You can?t die or fail. Nothing you can do will screw up the game and force you to play and reply one bit sixty times before you can make progress. There is no blood, gore or violence. And you get something that really gets the grey matter working. Some people may find Grim Fandango and its kind slow and frustrating, but personally I enjoy being able to take my time and love being challenged by the puzzles. And you know what else? You get a thoroughly original and often hilarious storyline, good character development and a generous serving of wit as well. Over the past couple of years you would have struggled to get that from a film, let alone a PC game. What about disadvantages, then? Well, kiddies of the broadband generation may well dismiss Grim Fandango as being primitive in graphics and awkward to control with a keyboard. But my technical advisor informs me that this was cutting edge stuff for this kind of game at the time of release - and I can tell you that it was certainly an improvement on the controls of the earlier Broken Sword games. The only real niggle I have is that in places it is awkward to navigate Manny through a doorway because of little glitches in programming. But this is more of a nuisance than a real problem, and the patch I referred to earlier sorts out most of these little errors. Overall, recommended to gamers of all ages who like to think. - Details Grim Fandango was produced in 1998 by Lucas Arts (www.lucasarts.com) and is available on PC and also on PS1. I am unsure if the PS1 version is still available (unless you find it second hand somewhere), but the PC version can be bought from the manufacturers for $14 at: www.lucasarts.com/companystore/grim/ You may also like to visit... For more about graphic adventure games: http://dc.mobygames.com/featured_article/section,58/feature,13/ For more on Grim Fandango: www.grimfandango.net For a walkthrough and FAQs: http://www.game-revolution.com/games/codes/pc/grim_fandango.htm

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                  22.01.2003 17:43
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                  This adventure game starts in El Marrow where Mexican Manny Calavera is a travel agent in the land of the dead. When people die he goes to the land of the living to collect their souls, brings them back to El Marrow and sells them tickets for their four year journey to eternal rest. The best tickets are for luxury packages and can only be bought by those who have led a good life. Manny needs to sell lots of luxury packages to earn his way to eternal rest. Something strange is happening. None of Manny's clients merit a luxury package - they have either led bad lives or somebody has fixed the computer to make it look like they have. Enter Mercedes Colomar (Meche), who Manny falls for *sigh*. She swears that she has lived a good and honest life and he believes her and not the computer. She leaves without the ticket for the luxury package that she is entitled to and Manny starts to become suspicious of his boss Don Copal and fellow travel agent Domino Hurley. He encounters Salvador Limones, the head of the resistance to the dodgy goings on; who recruits him to investigate for the cause. Manny needs to find Meche who has already left El Marrow. He can’t leave on foot and the only way for him to get out is to be driven by a demon in a bonewagon. He finds demon Glottis and off they go to search for Meche with lots of adventures on the way. Despite the title the game is not grim. It’s funny in parts and really interesting. There are 55 different characters and most of them have a human form but look like they have a paper bag on their heads with features drawn on them. You can see what Manny looks like on the picture above. Demon Glottis looks like the Honey Monster – remember those Sugar Puffs adverts a few years back. He’s big, friendly and cuddly and manages somehow to squeeze into the bonewagon that takes them on their journey. There are hundreds of puzzles that give clues to help Manny in his que st. The clues are usually in the dialogue that Manny has with Glottis and others that he meets. Phrases appear on the screen and you point your curser and click on the ones that you want to hear spoken and hear a reply to. There are always several choices including some funny one-liners. When you spot and work out the clues you know where to go and which items Manny needs to pick up to use or save in his inside jacket pocket until later. It's amazing just how many things he can get in that pocket without it bulging! The game is split into 4 years. The first year is set in a petrified forest and Manny and Glottis have to find their way through and past some beavers with flaming tails. The forest looks appropriately spooky but it was a little too dark in places for my liking. The second year is in Rubacava where you meet more of the characters and search for clues in bars, casinos an old boat, a lighthouse and a morgue. They meet the top man in the crime ring, mobster Hector Lemans who is one dodgy character. Manny and Glottis want to sail on a ship in the morning and need to find and overcome certain things before they can do that. I liked the Rubacava scenery, it was interesting moving from one location to another but I did get lost a few times. The third year sees them travelling to the Edge Of The world, on the sea and under the sea and encountering a huge octopus. They have more things to overcome before they can go on to the fourth level and end their journey at the Ninth Underworld with a few more adventures back at the others and some new locations first. The 3D graphics are great and according to the package Art Deco and Aztec inspired environments. I have never played a game like this before and certainly found the graphics and the whole idea impressive. I was captivated by the game but being honest I didn’t understand how to solve the clues at first and had to refer to a cheat site to help me. Once I got the han g of it the game ended all too quickly, but I still got several weeks of fun playing it. As the characters are already dead they couldn’t be killed again. The designer gets round that cleverly by providing guns that turn the characters into flowers. It sounds naff I know but in this game it works well. The background music is jazz and apparently swing era be bop. I was too enthralled in the game to notice it much but liked it when I did. Grim Fandango was released by LucasArts in 1998 and was selected the best game of the year by Cnet Gamecenter and Gamespot, I can’t say that I’m surprised. It’s typical good versus evil with lots of entertainment and atmosphere on the way. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Windows 95/98 DirectX-compatible computer Pentium 133 or faster 32MB or higher Quad speed or higher 2MB PCI Graphics card 100% Windows 95/98-compatible 16-bit sound card Optional support for joysticks and gamepads Microsoft DirectX 6.0 is available on the Grim Fandango CD and must be installed to play the game Your system may require the "latest" Windows 95/98 drivers for your particular hardware 3D Acceleration: Optional 3D graphics support requires a 4MB PCI or AGP 3D accelerator I bought my copy in a second hand gaming shop for £5 but would have been happy to pay more for it I’ve enjoyed playing so much. I wasn't too sure which to choose when filling in the difficulty slot below. For me it was very difficult at first but for players used to this type of game I would guess that it would be much easier but difficult enough to keep you playing for a while. Grim Fandango is available on Amazon for £13.99, or if you would like to download a playable demo visit www.lucasarts.com/products/grim/grim_spotlight.htm Obviously I can highly recommend it and will play it again in the future once I’ve forgotten what the cl ues mean. I just feel disappointed that there doesn’t appear to be a sequel, if there was I would be rushing to buy it.

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                    24.06.2002 23:01
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                    I am not a fan of adventure or role playing games. I usually play the action shoot em? up games and various sporting titles. In fact Grim Fandango, is probably the first game of it's kind I've ever played. The game comes on 2 CDs and is quite a journey. The claims listed on the back of the box are quite accurate. There is a huge amount of worlds to explore and characters to meet. The plot is complex and interesting. There are many twists and turns in the story that keep you involved. With every character you meet, you have a choice of what to say......and you'll come upon many different objects that will help you on your quest. At University my flat mate introduced me to the game, he?s studying computers at university and wants to move onto computer game developing, so I thought his recommendation would prove valid. Well, what?s going on? Grim Fandango has to be one of the best, and most challenging, games I have run into in quite some time. The games plot is built around a real life holiday called "The day of the dead". You play the role of Manny Calevera, a salesman who is responsible for selling travel packages to the newly departed for their journey across the "Land of the Dead". You have committed some sort of grave sin when you were alive, and must earn your redemption by reaping new souls. The better the life your recruitment?s led, the better your commission and the faster you will earn your way out. Keep in mind that the above is simply the starting plot and actually has very little to do with the play of the game. In your quest to free yourself from the bonds of salesmanship, you discover a web of corruption. People who have led a good life (Nuns, charity workers, etc) usually will receive a golden ticket. This ticket allows the departed to travel across the land of the dead in minutes instead of years. A criminal inside your sales department is stealing these tickets and selling them to the rich community, therefore depriving those whom would rightfully deserve them. It is your job to unveil the web of corruption and stop the wrongdoing. The cut scenes are great, the story they tell... it could be just one big movie. They are well blended with the game play; you literally cannot tell when it goes from cut scene to play mode. After a few though you can pretty much figure out when it will switch. The look of the game is stunning. The skeletal characters look great against the art deco backdrops, and a wonderfully rich palette of colors somehow makes the silly concept of the combination of those styles seem perfectly reasonable. The game use lots of moody music as well as some Spanish music. In fact, the music of this game was so good that a separate soundtrack was released for this game. Many of the puzzles are very, very challenging and if there weren't hint sites I wouldn't have gotten through the whole game. (Gamespot.com has a great game guide.) I recently lent it to a friend of mine and she is having a tough time figuring out the puzzles. The puzzles are very creative, but at a difficulty level that makes the game frustrating. I needed the game guide through the whole thing and am the walking game guide for my friend. In order to stop me whacking the computer on certain occasions, ( just wait for the sign in the petrified forest). I would recommend to anyone who likes adventure games or any game in fact to grab a copy of this when they can. The excellent graphics, sound, puzzles and plot make this one of the best - possibly the best - adventure game, even this long after release.

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                    07.10.2001 23:43
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                    • "a little variation of the gameplay wouldn’t have gone amiss"

                    Lucas Arts are synonymous with the fantastic Monkey Island games and with awful Star Wars tie-ins, however that isn’t all they’re good for. Grim Fandango represented a return to the norm, and yet a breakthrough as well. The Curse of Monkey Island, while great, remained in lacklustre 3D and saw realistic graphics in the same way that a tramp views a widescreen TV, he’d like one but can get by quite well without it. The plotline is a distinctly dark one when compared with the light-hearted Monkey Island games. You play a Manny Calavera, a dead man, who’s trying to work off his debt to the world and pass onto the next by selling on travel packages to the good and virtuous, who are also on their way to heaven. However, only the righteous earn the right to get to heaven fast and earn Manny a whole pile of credit in commission payments and Manny just seems to be ending up with every lowlife capable of death. Meanwhile, Manny’s associate, Domino Hurley, is landing nun after nun, and giving them all tickets on the premium number 9 bullet train. However, one of your first acts in the game is to steal a premium client, Mercedes Colomar from Domino. From there on in a web of deception and lies is uncovered, reaching all the way to the top of the Department of Death. The gameplay is the same throughout the game, and relies on you finding objects which can be used in combination with a character or another objects. Sadly, there is only one way through the game, which leaves the temptation for using a walkthrough tantalisingly close. Each section of the game is neatly linked with a nicely animated FMV (Full Motion Videos), and this usually serves to advance the plot. As with the Monkey Island series, with which it is inevitably tied, humour is a vital part and comes in the shape of cleverly written conversations and subtle jibes at itself. The conversational aspect of the game comes in a form that any Monkey Island play wi ll recognise, as the player is given 4 possible replies to any character, and only one of them is usually any good. The controls were an aspect of the game that Lucas Arts were obsessing about pre-release, as with the standard 2D point ‘n’ click adventure game, controls are incredibly simple to program and to perfect, that isn’t the case when you’re working in 3D. I’m happy to say that, for the most part, the controls have been well done, and Mr Calavera is very easily manoeuvred around the screen. He is controlled using the four arrow keys on the keyboard, will run when the shift key is held in conjunction with an arrow key, and will interact with objects when the enter key is pressed. To ensure you know exactly what you can and can’t interact with, Manny will follow any object of note with his head and you angle his eyes, or rather sockets, towards that object. However, some movements are difficult to perfect and some mistakes can be made with doors in particular, when you try to walk around a room and end up exiting it. The complete lack of any noteworthy load times are a great bonus for the game and, providing you have a half-decent PC, Grim Fandango will keep never keep you waiting for more than two or three seconds. Having said that, the minimum statistics are very low, and any PC bought post-1997 should handle it with no problems. Just in case your PC is pre-1997, it may be wise to check the minimum requirements, handily listed below… OS (Operating System): Windows 95/95/ME/2000/XP Processor: 133 MHz + RAM (Random Access Memory): 16 MB Graphics Card: 2 MB DirectX: 6.0 Graphically, as you’d expect from a fixed camera angle game, Grim Fandango is very good, with the backdrops well drawn and convincingly shadowed. The water effects in the game are astounding and very pretty, with the calm ocean currents making the water undulate and dance in a fantastic exhibitio n of animation. The characters look good and move around in a credible and lifelike, or not as the case may be, way. There a few glitches with character speech where the character will suffer from spasms while speaking every so often, but this is a minor gripe and is nothing to worry about. Lucas Arts hit the virtual jackpot in terms of difficulty with the first Monkey Island game, with the puzzles brain-taxing, but still achievable with logical and lateral thinking, as well as the occasional case of dumb luck. Grim Fandango’s puzzles are of that standard, although some can be a little obtuse and can leave you screaming for a few minutes. One particular example is when I restarted the game after several hours play and redid all of it because I thought I had done something in the wrong order, when, in fact, I had merely missed a turning to another room! Still, it did at least give me an opportunity to try and see everything I might have missed the first time around. And that rather neatly brings me onto the subject of longetivity (not strictly a word, but who really cares). Grim comes on two discs, and is split into four one-year sections (two on each disc) and this should give most people upwards of 20 hours gaming at the very least. The way in which puzzles are solved follows a set path, with no room for diversification, this reduces the replay factor but a good reason for a repeat is the opportunity to follow all the conversation paths that you dared not utter on the first time around. The voices also bear all the hallmarks of a Lucas Arts adventure, with the voices fitting each of the characters to a tee. While all voice acting is a superb standard, the part of Glottis, Manny’s automobileaphile friend, is superbly done and fits the part wonderfully. Manny himself speaks with an Hispanic air, as do several of his counterparts, while the rest of the 50 strong cast speak with American twang. Well, nearly all. One character, Ni ck the lawyer, seems to have picked up a Liverpudlian accent on his journey through the Land of the Dead for some bizarre reason! The music varies with each area, and usually fits the part very well. Manny’s casino, Calavera’s Café, is a clear rip-off of Casablanca and even features the rigged Roulette tables and a mock-up of Sam on piano, aptly done by the eight-foot orange demon, Glottis. Tinkling piano music echoes around the inside, while the town plays home to clichéd detective soundtracks. It’s also changed frequently enough for you to resist the urge to play a few CDs in place of the background music. Grim Fandango was a great game on release a few years back and has made a welcome return on the Lucas Arts Classics label, at the handy price of £12.99. It makes an excellent addition to any gamer’s collection, not including dedicated Quake and Half-life players, whose brain cells are quite possibly a little too, ahem, ‘fragged’ to make playing the game worthwhile. For all others, let Manny Calavera be your travel agent of choice in the afterlife and for now you can settle for just playing his inspired game.

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                    24.06.2001 22:41
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                    Death It’s a funny old thing and no mistaking. The Pharaohs crippled the world’s most remarkable civilisation trying to appease it, thousands of Americans cryogenically freeze their decapitated bonces trying to cheat it, and misguided Goths spend their time attempting to simulate it. Never fear, it comes to us all... Some of the world’s favourite tales of pestilence, famine and war involve propping up the daisies, and we can all recount one tale of woe which, while unquestionably more tragic than comical, reduces us to insecure hysterics. But LucasArts’ Grim Fandango manages to top all such musings. It’s a sublime art-house experience, rich in black humour, post-death conundrums and crises. To comprehend what is about to follow, a little background might prove helpful. Grim Fandango deals with Manuel Calavera, travel agent of death, agent provocateur, night club owner, scythe-wielding hero, dashing swindler and, erm, skeleton. Manuel is dead. As, indeed, are all the other inhabitants of the Netherworld; the place through which freshly liberated souls travel, on their way to the eternal security of the Underworld. Being dead is less awkward than you might think. In fact, Grim’s denizens have made a decent fist of creating an entire society - complete with gambling dens, politics, strikes, travel, relationships and Good And Evil. It may be a spoof world, but it’s entirely credible, allowing you to plunge without hesitation into its twisted plot. For Manny to pass on, he must pay his passage. Hence he has a job, as a travel agent, attempting to flog Underworld trips to the recently deceased. Unfortunately, in a surreal parody of Glengarry Glenross, Domino, Manny’s office rival, is managing to nab all the wealthiest clients. Manny attempts to attract a top client of his own, but only succeeds in becoming embroiled in a Global Conspiracy Of Death. One of Lucasarts best, buy it now.

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                    21.06.2001 23:08
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                    Grim Fandango (PC CD-ROM) ------------------------- Written by one of my favourite games development studios -> Lucas Arts Entertainment, few people would deny that these guys are the bee's knees when it comes to adventure games and have dominated the point-and-click genre for some time now. By no means their latest release, but up there with the very best in the field was the 1999 wonder that is Grim Fandango. Self-described by the phrase "an epic tale of crime and corruption in the land of the dead" Grim Fandango is one of my favourite PC games of all time. Coming on two packed CD-ROMs, this is a joy to behold, and why this game never shifted a million copies is beyond me! This game has every ingredient to make it a classic, including humour only surpassed by the original Monkey Island games! You (the player) take the role of Manny Calavera, a travel agent at the department of death. Your job is to sell luxury to the newly departed on their four year journey to the land of eternal rest - yep, that's correct, your a travel agent for the dead! However, all is not fair in the game of death, and thins ae not as they seem - with the odds stacked against you, and conspiracies everywhere, you must rush to sell more policies than your rival in a bid for salvation - after all, your only in this poxy job paying off a debt from a past life! :) The job title is "reaping" and that's obviously because the Department of Death issue Scythes to all its agents in the name of authenticity!! Things take a turn for the worse, all because of a lady (how familiar is this story guys! lol!) and you must hit the road in an attempt to stop the corruption that has made the afterlife into a cruel game of torture! Your aim is to make the land of the dead good once again! As bizarre as it sounds, it is the setting for the game, and wild and wicked through and through, this game will give you as many laughs as your favou rite comedy - there is just so much thought put into the humour of this game, you won't help but laugh out loud! Visually, and despite its relative old age, there isn't much that will touch this game for true realism and a feel of sheer quality. The 3D settings are drawn beautifully, the character animation is certainly first class, and the interaction with objects and the environment is spot on - something the latest of games still struggle to achieve. There is no need to worry about the game feeling grim or frightening, because it is very cartoon oriented, with incredibly cute characters and backdrops, while the humour in the game will ensure there is never anything other then a smile on your face. The game is branded "An extraordinary experience within 3D Art Deco and Aztec-inspired environments", and it sure is...The range of exotic locations is quite stunning, and weirdly authentic - this game is simply beautiful! Control wise, and this is something new. Its no point-and-click, but rather controlled buy joystick/joy pad (or keyboard if you prefer) and despite my early apprehension, it works quite well, because the 3D environment allows true freedom of movement. Admittedly it takes a little getting use to, but once you have mastered the new controls, you'll wonder what the fuss was about and know that this control method is certainly right for the game! Depth is achieved with a very complete and thorough game. More than 100 different locations, each of which tae quite some time to fully explore and complete provides more then enough entertainment, and there are many, many hours of fun to be had with this game. More than 50 characters, each with their own personality and individuality make the game fresh at all times, while the 7000+ lines of dialogue are comedic and highly original. In fact, so funny is this game, that on completion, you'll have learnt a whole new repertoire of one liners! The puzzles are mixe d and diverse in their complexity. Ranging from the simply and obvious right down to the very challenging that really will take some time to solve, the developers have got the game smack on. Trust me, you won't rush your way through this one - it certainly does need some thought! Even down to the audio score, Grim Fandango Oozes class. "A lush original score featuring swing-era bebop" includes a fabulous mix of Jazz and pop music, each ideally suited to the game and in keeping with the high level of quality this game shows. ELSPA rates as 11-18+, this game is suitable of a wide range of player, and early on this is indeed true - fun can be had by just about anyone. However, the younger players will find it tough later in the game as the complexity of the challenges increases, something that I found to be necessary to keep the game interesting and moving along. Fortunate to have quite a high specification PC, this game played like a dream on my machine. The game played flawless, with very fast load times and no slow-down or jitter. The minimum system requirements are as follows: * IBM Compatible Machine with Windows 9x or later * Pentium 133 * CD-ROM (4X Speed or higher) * 2MB PCI graphics card (3D accelerator supported and highly recommended) * 32MB RAM * Direct X 6.0 (supplied with the game) As you can see, the specs are basically nothing in this day and age, and if you can't run this game, then it really is time you got a new PC anyhow! For me, this was one of the best games of the past 5 years. Utterly addictive, highly original, incredibly funny and a really joy to play, this is a true adventure game that fans of the genre will love, along with anyone who can enjoy a game and have a good laugh. if your feeling down in the dumps, this will certainly cheer you up, or if you up for a challenge, this is more then up to the task! I cannot praise this game highly enough, and n ow with it being 2+ years old, you can no doubt pick this up quite cheap. I paid £35 for my copy, and would not hesitate to pay the same again tomorrow...Quite simply stunning!

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                      05.05.2001 00:42
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                      As usual this Lucas Arts Game is brilliant. The plot, the characters, the settings - all excellent, above and beyond the normal standard of Role Playing Games (RPG's). You start of as the lowly Manny Calavara working in the Department of Death helping lost souls to their eternal resting place. As the game progresses you find yourself deep in a conspiracy involving the magical gold tickets granting holders a trip on the number nine train straight to their destination on the other side. The plot is so thick you couldn't cut it with a knife. All this leads you to... I won't ruin it for all you out there who haven't played the game, but sufice to say it is a great ending! The characters are also fantastic. The lovable Meche, who Manny tries to save, and the wild Glottis, a large creature just born to drive! If you loved any of the other Lucas Arts games such as Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle, all of which also come highly recommended by me, then your sure to like this one.

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