Grim Fandango


Now this place looks impressive!

Viva la (muerte) revolucion!

This classic adventure from LucasArts is loosely based on the Mexican Day of the Dead festival. You play the part of Manny Calavera, a travel agent for the Department of Death in the Land of the Dead, who must sell a certain quota of premium travel packages to make up for some misdeeds he committed in his mortal life. Unfortunately for Manny, he winds up getting the dregs of society who barely qualify for a walking stick to see them through their journey. But then he decides to get one off his co-worker, Domino, and steal his client.

As vibrant as the game is visually, Grim Fandango really scores thanks to its well-crafted plot and the brilliant soundtrack and voice acting. As we’ve come to expect from LucasArts, offbeat humor plays a key role throughout the game, with many funny verbal exchanges between characters, as well as Manny’s comments and observations.

For the most part, the puzzles are seamlessly integrated into the story, and even when you must become the proverbial messenger boy, toting items to and fro to get the next piece of the puzzle, the game hides this pretty well. Nearly every item you find has a purpose, and the inventory system is cleverly pulled off, with Manny keeping everything tucked inside his jacket. When a section of the game has been completed, your inventory will be cleared of unnecessary items, streamlining the process nicely.

Grim Fandango does have its problems, including a few crash bugs and freezes on some systems. While these are easily remedied by restarting the game from your last saved position, sometimes I would get so wrapped up in the story that I’d forget to save for a while, forcing me to replay a large part of the game.


His business is death, but business is not good.

The controls are also a bit problematic. Even when I knew exactly what to do, it sometimes took a ridiculous number of attempts to get in just the right position to pull off the solution, and getting Manny around correctly overall takes some getting used to. Without the firm knowledge that you are on the right track, you can easily assume that there is another course of action and go off in search of a solution that doesn’t exist. However, with a little trial and error (and determination), these tricky puzzles can be overcome, and on the whole, Grim Fandango is one of the most entertaining adventure games made by LucasArts.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 130 MB HDD, Windows 95

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