Malcolm Owen On August 6, 2002 at 5:18 pm

My perception of Death is that of the Terry Pratchett Discworld books. He is someone who, not only is the harbinger of souls, etc etc etc, but also, and more importantly, rides a horse called Binky. It is because of Pratchett’s books that I now tentatively believe that Death’s (If indeed, such an entity existed in a similar fashion to my knowledge…) horse really is "Binky".

Grim Fandango is all about death. In this case, Death is not a person, but instead is a travel agency. Grim Fandango just happens to centre on just one employee of the establishment, a Mr Manny Calavera, an agent being forced into dealing with customers that are unable to make their 4 year journey in luxury, due to souls that are not worthy enough to be treated as such. He eventually manages to get hold of a "Premium Customer", and then suddenly finds himself stuck in a giant conspiracy featuring mobsters and various other shady characters. Yes, that’s right, someone was undergoing some sort of mental trauma while coming up with the concept of this game.

There is so much in Grim Fandango that I would love to point out, but then I would be making it a pointless exercise for you to play it and not experience the jokes firsthand. It is as funny as any other of the funny Lucasarts games (See Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, Monkey Island), but then again, it is meant for an older audience. This is "Frasier" compared to Monkey Island’s "Friends". It is a more intellectual humour than what you would expect from such a game. Indeed, many people I have shown the game to either didn’t get the jokes, or they found it too "High Brow". The rest of the world, on the other hand, could see tiny nuances, little gems of fun everywhere. This just screams fun, but just to give an example…
You know those weird chic poetry club places? They have one in it! And aside from the various things you expect to see at such a place (Militant customers, and a microphone), you also see a microphone. (You can see where this is heading). It may have strictly nothing to do with the storyline, but you are completely free to create your own disjointed poetry. It is funny to listen to as you create the poem, but especially funny is talking to (Without giving much away) the seductress elsewhere in the club, and letting her demonstrate her poetry skills.

The entire game (Aside from the entertaining cut-scenes), is done with 3D main characters, and pre-rendered backdrops. While this may lead to a lack of real interaction, or a true-3D adventure, it does mean that even those players on more modest systems will be able to play it with a vast amount of detail. Nice.

The entire game is executed fantastically. Everything from stylings of items to even the voice acting is spot on. This game can not fail to make people happy…except of course if they realise there is no Binky…


“Frasier” puzzles and humour.


Detailed pre-renders, Nice models


Fits the mood.


Ignore the fact that Monkey Island is a bigger, well known franchise, and get this for a change!

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