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  Grim Fandango
"Something's rotten in the Land of Dead and you're being played for a sucker. Meet Manny Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death. He sells luxury packages to souls on their four-year journey to eternal rest. But there's trouble in paradise. Help Manny untangle himself from a conspiracy that threatens his very salvation."

The last adventure game I played was Curse of Monkey Island. It was made by LucasArts and turned out to be an excellent game. Now here comes Grim Fandango, yet another adventure game from LucasArts. Just as I suspected, this game is even better.

What's it about?

Based on Mexican folklore, and taking place in the Land of the Dead you play the role of Manny Calavera. Your working as a Travel Agent for the Department of Death, working off debts from your previous life in order to earn passage to your final resting place. As you recieve newly dead souls, you determine the credit which they have. If the soul was a good person in life then they get good credit which can grant them passage in fast cars, cruises, or even the Number Nine, a bullet-train that makes the journey to the Ninth Underworld in a mere four minutes. If they don't have good credit then it's a four-year journey on foot. But in order to pay off the debts, agents must get a certain number of premium souls, those who have earned the best means of passage.

Unfortunately for Manny, his clients never seem to have any credit. When Manny finally meets up with a Soul that has some good credit, he can't find any mode of transportation for her, setting her off on foot. The leads Manny to believe somethings not right in the Department of Death. This leads to four-years of Manny's afterlife as he tries to uncover the corrruption of the DOD.

The game itself.

Control is easily handle and can be done with either a keyboard or a gamepad. I highly recommend the Microsoft Sidewinder gamepad over keyboard control.

Sound is excellent, with great effects and perfect voice-over acting. Every single character had a voice that fit him/her perfectly. The musical score works great with the locations and themes. Very well done.

The graphics are also great, with characters as well as backdrops drawn with some great detail. Animations are superb and so are the cut-scenes. 3D accelleration is used on the characters and definately makes the game look even better. There is just nothing to complain about.

As you walk around, Manny's head will turn in the direction of any hotspots nearby. This helps you find items and figure out what needs to be done. You have one button that does "interact/talk/examine" and another that does "pick up/put away". Very easy to use interface that lets you enjoy the game rather than figuring out what button does what. And considering some of the puzzles are very challenging you'll need all the help you can get.

You'll easily get 30-50 hours worth of gaming, and when it's all over you'll wish you could keep playing on and on. There is a nice blend of humor, horror, suspence, and most importantly gameplay. Be warned, Grim Fandango will draw you into it's world and you wont want to leave.

Rating 10/10

Grim Update now available. This patch fixes reported problems associated with having a very fast machine (Pentium II-400 and faster), a crash associated with copying over all the .LAB files from users' CDs to their hard drives, and some other problems.

Review ID Number: 233
  Product Details
Lucas Arts
Review Date: 2001-04-18
Reviewer: Nick Sardy
Rating: 10 out of 10
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