Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Jan 20, 2007
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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"I Am More Than Dead"

The Good

In 1997, LucasArts released, what is considered by many to be it’s finest game, Grim Fandango. From the twisted mind of Tim Schafer. The genius who brought us other gems of gaming such as: Full Throttle, and the recent, Psychonauts. An adventure game harkening back to the days of old. Grim Fandango is a fun and hilarious game. But how does it compare to the classics?

“An Epic Tale Of Crime And Corruption In The Land Of The Dead”

In Grim Fandango, players assume the role of Manny Calavera. He is stuck in between Heaven and Earth, in the land of the dead, a sort of purgatory. Working for the DOD, or Department Of The Dead, where he takes the recently deceased and sells them travel packages. The more virtuous a soul was in life, the better packages they earn. From a walking stick, to the ultimate, a ticket of the #9. A luxurious train that takes it’s passengers to the afterlife in style.

On one particular Day Of The Dead,( a Hispanic holiday in which deceased family members are honored.) we find that Manny is in a rut. He was once the DOD’s top agent. Now the only clients that he qualifies for were scumbags in life. This only serves to make Manny spend more time in purgatory. (The better clients, and the more # 9 tickets an agent sells, the quicker they can move on to heaven or hell.) On this fateful day Manny meets Meche. When he cannot find a good travel package for her, she wanders off. Manny then begins to uncover a conspiracy to steal the tickets of honest souls, and use them to gain wealth. From here Manny will set off on a four year journey, to find Meche, and set things right.

Manny: “I’m gonna go. That sound makes me want to kill someone.” Clown: “You two?”

The world of Grim Fandango is a very unique and interesting one. The sights and sounds are inspired by Aztec and other Hispanic design. The land of the dead looks interesting. And is filled with many wacky characters.(My favorite side characters is the Angry Clown, you meet in Year One;) And the inhabitants of the world seem real due to the excellent graphics and voice acting.

The script is also well written. And filled with jokes. Humor is often hard to pull of in a video game, but in Grim Fandango, it is pulled of every time.(I suspect that Tim Schafer got his comedic timing down during his years writing for the Monkey Island series.)

Most games fail, to make the world seen believable. Grim Fandango does not stumble here.

“Can You See What I’m Smelling?”

The Graphics in Grim Fandango are just as sharp and clean as they were ten years ago. Either with or without a 3D card. As you can set the game to use software rendering.(One of the few games with this option.) The pre-rendered visuals are some of the best of the era. And the often photo-realistic backdrops still look gorgeous.

The polygonal inhabitants of the game look great as well. Better with a 3D card, as it smoothes out the edges, and gives everything a clean look, with no jaggies.

“Ohh Ohh Ohh, Bonewagoooon,” -Glottis, The Bonewagon Song-

The music in Grim Fandango is excellent. The music fit’s the game very well and is inspired. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a track I don’t like. It’s that good.

The voice acting is also excellent. Since timing is so important in comedy. A lot of the funniest parts of the game are thanks to the great voice work of the cast. Some you may recognize from other games/TV shows. The voice acting in this game is better than that of most TV shows(particularly anime) and some animated movies!

“Is it you, or am I you?”-The Collected Poems of Manuel Calavera-

It may disappoint some to find, that the controls of Grim Fandango, are not the standard mouse based.(Therefore, Grim Fandango, is not a point and click, as some have called it.) But once you learn the controls of the game, I think you will find that they are just as good, if not better than mouse based adventure games of old.

You use the directional keys to move around, and scroll through your inventory. There are even quick keys to pull out crucial items, such as a Manny’s scythe.

The controls can also be changed to suit the camera settings. Either camera relative. That is to say fixed camera angles. Or Character relative, which as I am sure you have surmised is based on Manny’s movements. I prefer the camera relative.

The Bad

Well the game can take a bit of work to get it up and running of Windows XP.

And I don’t really care for Year 3. It just felt lacking.

The Bottom Line

“Clambake!”-The Collected Poems of Manuel Calavera-

Grim Fandango is one of the best Adventure games every made. Perhaps the best. It is such a well made game and filled with the most hilarious moments in the history of video games. I love the part in Year 2, when at the beatnik bar you can read poems, the sillier, the better.(And any parody of bad poetry is automatically funny.)

And in the end it is simply one of the best games ever made. Fans of adventure games owe it to themselves to play this one. And fans of games in general.