Not much is known about the life of Manuel "Manny" Calavera. It is, however, known what happened to him after he died. The Land of the Dead is where all people are reincarnated after death, turning into skeletal figures. The Land of the Dead is also very similar to the world of the living: people work, have careers, fall in love, and can even die again, turning into flowers. And they all await their final destiny - a trip to the underworld. Depending on their deeds in life, they might get a good journey or be destined to walk there without any means.
Manny works in a travel agency that takes care of such trips. But recently, something has been going wrong. Manny is unable to get good clients, and he suspects that there is a scheme to falsify the dossiers of dead people, offering the best trips to scoundrels for bribes. Manny's grand adventure begins as he steps into the world of corruption and intrigues.Grim Fandango
is a puzzle-solving adventure game that describes several years of Manny Calavera's afterlife. Influenced by Mexican mythology, film noir and Art Deco, the game combines 3D characters with pre-rendered backgrounds. The traditional mouse interaction was abandoned in favor of keyboard control for movements and actions. Manny is navigated with arrow keys, and tilts his head whenever something attracts his interest; a list of interaction choices pops up, from which the player is able to choose the desired commands.
As usually in LucasArts' adventure games, conversations offer plenty of different responses that can be chosen by the player. Despite the lack of the option to combine items with each other within the inventory, the game still contains many challenging puzzles that require manipulating inventory items and the environment.
- "神通鬼大" -- Chinese spelling (traditional)
- "Deeds of the Dead" -- Working title
Part of the Following Groups
The Press Says
There are currently no topics for this game.
Originally, Manny could find out the entire conspiracy in a conversation with Domino in Year Three. The audio files shipped with the game, but the dialogue tree was cut.
- In the hallway of the DOD there is a picture of a boat. If you look at in Manny says "Not that I have a choice, but I wonder if I would be happier working on a ship. Then again I'm so competitive I wouldn't be able to rest until I was Captain." At the end of year two on the ship he is just the cleaner, and then a year later he is the captain.
- The main character in this game is a skeleton, take a look at the side of the box and you'll see a different LucasArts logo. The usual golden figure who raises his arms (towards the sun?) is replaced by a skeleton.
- The game's hero is Manny Calavera. Calaveras are actually those skeleton-dolls, which the majority of the characters in this game are.
- One of the characters is called Olivia Ofrenda. "Ofrenda" is a Mexican celebration of the dead.
- As in many others LucasArts games, you can find Max, from Sam & Max. Go to the tattoo parlor (in Rubacava, you must walk all the way to the right). Take a look to the poster and you will find him in the tattoo designs.
- In year 2, there is a part of the game where you see a Blimp/Zeppelin hovering in the air above the Cat Tracks... As you cross the bridge under it, a short melody plays which is part of the opening theme to Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe... and older World War 2 flightsim from Lucasarts (or Lucasfilm Games as it was known back then)
- Including the references mentioned below, the game's characters have many similarities to actual Day of the Dead objects. There is, for example, Don Copal - Copal is a festive resin from tropical trees often burned in special bowls on graves during the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
- You soon end up working for an underground organisation called the L.S.A., or the Lost Souls Alliance. As stated in the manual Grim Fandango is steeped in references to Aztec and Mayan culture and art (as well as Mexican folklore and film noir of the 1930's, 40's and 50's). LSA (for short) is the psychoactive ingredient of 'Ololiuqui' - the Aztec name for the seeds of certain plants that have been used and held sacred by the Aztecs for many years. This may or may not be intentional but trivia nonetheless!
- The game contains a reference to Frank Herbert's sci-fi cult novel Dune. At the end of the 4th year, when Salvador bites down on a fake tooth, releasing a cloud of poison that kills both him and his victim, he alludes to an almost identical event in Dune.
Budget & Sales
The budget was a whopping 3 million dollars but the sales didn't live up to that investment. As of 2004, Grim Fandango
is the only game that didn't make LucasArts a profit.
As you progress through the game, more of the design over the save screen will show.
The game was originally going to be named Deeds of the Dead
but the management at LucasArts didn't want a reference to death in the title.
Information also contributed by
Unicorn Lynx and
- Computer Gaming World
- April 1999 (Issue #177) – Best Adventure Game of the Year (together with Sanitarium)
- January 2001 (Issue #199) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
- March 2001 (Issue #200) - #7 Best Game Of All Time
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 12/1999 - #87 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
- PC Gamer
- April 2000 - #41 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll
- PC Player (Germany)
- Issue 01/2000 - Best Adventure in 1999
- PC Powerplay (Germany)
- Issue 11/2005 - #2 Game Which Absolutely Needs A Sequel
This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by Ryan Lucas (12)
on Aug 10, 1999.