Grim Fandango

aka: Deeds of the Dead
(prices updated 9/27 12:06 AM )

Description official descriptions

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; the object or character in question can then be examined or interacted with.

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.


  • 冥界狂想曲 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 神通鬼大 - Traditional Chinese spelling

Groups +




See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (Windows version)

188 People (187 developers, 1 thanks) · View all

Project Leader
Lead Artist
Lead Programmer
Conceptual Artist
Music Composed and Produced By
Assistant Designers
Production Manager
Production Coordinator
Character Animation
Background Artists
[ full credits ]



Average score: 92% (based on 55 ratings)


Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 405 ratings with 23 reviews)

Living in the land of Dead

The Good
Grim Fandango is an excellent game, the graphics are so good, and the plot is simply fantastic. If you are an adventure lover, here you will find everything that you ever wanted:graphics? Even the backgrounds seem to be planned until the further details. Story? You will find an excellent plot here, while you help Manny to find the truth in the Land Of Dead. Puzzles? Yes, like in almost every good adventure, there are a lot of things that will make you guess and think to solve them.

The Bad
At first you will find yourself a little frustrated trying to move Manny, but once you get used to it, it will be very easy. And you cannot play it under Windows 2000, unless you download a patch for this SO from the people of Microsoft.

The Bottom Line
Once again, the people from LucasArts surprise us with a game that makes a big step in Adventure games.

Windows · by Emepol (212) · 2011

The greatest game ever

The Good
This game has an amazing story-line. It works perfectly, and as you go through the game, you keep discovering new things which just add to the plot, and make it even more in-depth.

The backgrounds are top-notch, still looking great even today. They are pre-rendered scenes, which look very realistic. The characters are well animated, but they look a little dated, with low poly count and low res textures. The pre-rendered cutscenes also look amazing, and are full of action.

The puzzles are also great. They all make sense, and work well together. The dialogue is also great, with humorous jokes packed in along the way. The voice actors are also great, and they fit the characters perfectly.

The music fits right in with the amazing atmosphere, and it is composed really well.

All of these factors put together make the game absolutely amazing.

The Bad
The only downside of this game is that the graphics on the characters are getting a little dated. They have a low poly count, and low res textures by todays standards. But it isn't that bad - the game is still perfectly playable, and you hardly notice the bad characters.

The Bottom Line
This game is amazing. The plot is huge, and it completely sucks you in. I love this game so much, that I have replayed it countless times, have made a website dedicated to it, and I always visit my favourite Grim Fandango forums. This game is outstanding, and better than any other game. If you play it, I can almost guarantee that you will love it.

Windows · by James Isaac (239) · 2006

Ultra stylish epic, and the beauty is more than skin-deep.

The Good
Pretty much the whole thing. Superb presentation backed up with some of the best graphics in an adventure game to date. Glorious cut-scenes with beautiful sweeping camera angles, giving the game a more cinematic and film-like quality than any other game I've ever seen. Terrific characterization, to the extent where you can tell the rudimentary personality of some of the characters after about 2 lines of dialogue. The puzzles are rock-hard! Just the way they should be. Many require deep lateral thinking as well, especially later in the game. There are many deep and varied locations to visit, including the fantastic gambling port-side town Rubacava, and on the bottom of the sea bed. Our hero, Manuel Calavera, oozes charisma and charm making him a joy to control. The atmosphere is believable and immersive. Oh, and it also has the world's best soundtrack. It is Lucasarts and everything, so you can expect this to some degree. But it blends forms of Jazz with Mexican folk music in a seamless way as if the two were born to go with each other. This leads nicely onto the art work and whole theme of the game which once again, blends film noir with Mexican folklore with art-deco. If you want any proof of the incredible attention to detail and professional quality of it all, look in the inside of the CD case.

The Bad
If you're a novice when it comes to adventure games then this will take you some time. Admittingly, some of the puzzles are a bit dodgy and unrealistic. For example, the one on the roof of the Department Of Death building in the first quarter of the game. You may find the game boring as well, like someone I know. In which case see a psychiatrist.

The Bottom Line
This is how adventure games should be done. Proof that money equals results. Not to mention it's by that virtuoso games designer Tim Schafer. This one drips class. Go buy.

Windows · by Shazbut (163) · 2002

[ View all 23 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Grim Fandango appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cut dialogue

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.

Saving screen

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.


  • 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
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1999 – Best Adventure in 1998

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Emepol, James Isaac. PCGamer77, Roedie, Scott Monster, [SDfish, [Tom Murphy](,66915/), [WildKard](,16566/), [Unicorn Lynx](,6226/) and [Zack Green](,9727/)](,45163/)

Related Games

Shinkyoku Sōkai Polyphonica
Released 2007 on PlayStation 2
Shinkyoku Sōkai Polyphonica: After School
Released 2010 on PlayStation 2, PSP
Styx: Master of Shadows
Released 2014 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Fantasia of the Wind
Released 2017 on Macintosh, Windows
Ōgon Musōkyoku
Released 2010 on Windows
Yūkyū Gensōkyoku
Released 1997 on SEGA Saturn, PlayStation
Umineko: Golden Fantasia
Released 2017 on Windows
Curse of the Dead Gods
Released 2020 on Windows, 2021 on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch...

Related Sites +

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ryan Lucas.

Additional contributors: Swordmaster, Xa4, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Zack Green, Shoddyan, James Isaac, Zeppin, CaesarZX, Paulus18950, Cantillon, Thomas Helsing, Patrick Bregger, Ingsoc, FatherJack.

Game added August 10th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.