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Grim Fandango (Windows)

92
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4.2
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Marty Bonus (41)
Written on  :  Oct 31, 2004

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful

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Summary

A great game with some minor flaws

The Good

Graphically this game was quite cutting edge at the time. I just finished it in 2004, quite some time after it's 1998 release, yet it didn't seem particularly dated. This is a commendable achievement that few games can claim. Part of what makes the graphics remain fresh to this day is the creative and interesting scenes you find yourself in throughout the game. There is a consistent neo-aztec feel to the architecture which is quite cool and has yet to be recreated to such an extent. Additionally, there is a consistent lack of repetition in the environments that modern games could learn alot from. The character models are varied and full of character. It's amazing to me how much personality the designers put on a skeleton's face.

The sound in the game is quite nice as well. The music fits the various environments quite well, the sound effects are great, and the voice acting is superb throughout. Some of the best voice acting I've heard in a game actually. The conversations are crass and entertaining. The sound helps immerse you which is necessary for third-person adventure games. The sounds all suit the events that they are matched too, which is another thing modern games could learn from.

The gameplay is pretty good for the most part, though see below for some complaints. Character control is through the keyboard, as was common in that day and age. It is, of course, and adventure game, which means the challenge in the game is figuring out what it is you're supposed to do. I must admit I'm crap at adventure games and I always need a walkthrough of some kind, but even with this handicap, I found that the tasks you're supposed to engage in are logical about 50% of the time. It IS difficult at times to see what items you're supposed to manipulate. If there is any weakness to this game, it's in the gameplay.

The story is superb. I found myself enjoying the main character immediately, which is yet ANOTHER thing modern games could learn from. It's a compelling story, the characters are quite humorous, and above all, it's an enjoyable story. Sometimes the conversations lead to confusion about what one is supposed to do, but at all times your 'main' goal is clear. I play adventure games for the plot alone, and I was quite impressed by this one. It's not an epic-hero story, unlike most RPG's and some action games, which is a nice change. It's a fun, engaging detective story that I think everyone can enjoy.

The Bad

The only weakness in this game is in the gameplay. A good 50% of the puzzle solutions are absolutely obscure. The decision of which inventory item to use where and when is quite frequently illogical in my opinion. This could be because I haven't the knack for adventure games, I grant that, however, I think there is a latent difficulty to this game that isn't due to my lack of cognitive capacity. This flaw is made worse by the difficulty in finding all of the necessary items to solve problems. This gets annoying quite quickly, but there are a myriad of walkthroughs available on the internet, as a simple google search will show. So while this flaw is noticeable, it's not a major problem to playing the game.

The Bottom Line

I would recommend it to anyone. It can be found for practically free from game vendors. It's got a wonderful plot and the characters are great. It's almost a perfect example of how good a game can be. I was even more impressed for the fact that i'm not usually an adventure gamer. This is a 'must-play.'