If you played games in the later part of the 90s, undoubtedly at some stage or another you at least heard of the LucasArts masterpiece that is Grim Fandango. First released to much fanfare and almost instant cult hit status in 1998, the game remains one of the classic adventure games ever produced, and for good reason.
Grim Fandango follows the trials and tribulations of Manuel “Manny” Calavera through the Land of the Dead, a place where the recently deceased aim to get to the 9th underworld. Manny’s job, as a Travel Agent of the Underworld is to decide how these souls get to the 9th underworld. The nicer they were when they were alive, the better their transport in the Land of the Dead – the best of which is a train which takes a mere 4 minutes. The worst – on foot – is supposed to take 4 years. With a journey that long, many departed souls have just settled down to a life in the Land of the Dead, including employment.
Once a year on the Day of the Dead, they’re allowed to visit their family in the Land of the Living.
Manny is assigned many ‘clients’ who end up having to take the 4 year journey on foot which he doesn’t question until one particular ‘client’ shows up who undoubtedly deserved a spot on the train but is turned down and told to walk. He sets off to investigate and to help the ‘client’ reach the 9th Underworld. Our job is to make sure he succeeds though a series of classic point and click adventure game puzzles.
The dialogue is witty and the voice acting is superb. I find myself genuinely caring about the lives of the characters in Grim Fandango – it’s a deeply complex story that is told well both through beautiful visuals and incredible storytelling.
The game is difficult, certainly more so than the adventure genre of current day, but not so much so that you’ll be looking at walkthrough every five minutes. That said, if you get stuck, there are no hints, so a walkthrough might be your only option. Puzzles are logical and with some thought are (sometimes) easy enough to think logically through. As always with adventure games, remember save new saves periodically in case you need to backtrack, which I found myself having to do a couple of times.
It was a great looking game in 1998 and thankfully, the Remastered version doesn’t change it too drastically. New, sharper models and textures have been added alongside new lighting models to give the game more of the film noir look it’s always had.
If you’re an adventure game fan or want to play a slice of computer gaming history, don’t hesitate to grab a copy of Grim Fandango. It still plays like it was released this year, and it’s still just as fun and funny as it ever was.
Get The Game on Steam Here:
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He also hosts the nAvTV podcast and this here website is his domain.