|The Game Domain
As 1998 comes
to a close, our reviewer thinks hes spent his best £35 of the year.
reigned supreme in the adventure game genre for sixteen years with leading titles such as
Indiana Jones and the Monkey Island trilogy for their trusty servants. Now after two and a
half years and one and a half million dollars, theyve unleashed Grim Fandango.
By Rollo Jenkins, Staff Writer
Your character, Manuel Calavera, is a dead
travel agent /Grim Reaper working for the Department of Death (or the DOD as it is widely
known). Manny sells travel packages to the dead, sending them to the ninth underworld
where they can rest in peace. This journey normally takes four years, unless you can
obtain a ticket on the Number Nine express train which will take you through the whole
journey in four minutes. Critically, the quality of travel package you get depends is
supposed to depend on the quality of your life.
But what makes Grim Fandango truly
revolutionary are graphics of a whole new genre. Characters are shaded and coloured
depending on their environment. To add more realism, great detail has been put into
buildings and everyday objects; for example, Manny changes his clothes according to his
position in the game. This is a first for any action game--I spent hours wondering how
Indiana Jones went through all his adventures in the same little leather number! LucasArts
have really outdone themselves in even the minutest details.
The Land of the Dead is inhabited by some of the most scheming, evil, corrupt souls you
could possibly imagine, wheeling and dealing in black market Number Nine tickets. When
Manny uncovers this evil plot he gets caught up in a conspiracy that endangers the
existence of the whole underworld.
This game is so intricate that it spans four years with over 100 different locations and
50 characters with unique personalities. And Glottis (your big orange sidekick), is quite
possibly the best character ever created.
(I think a map would have been an excellent idea; I found it a tad tedious
getting from place to place as they are quite spaced out and, even when running, take a
long time to reach.)
Nevertheless, it has to be said without
doubt that Grim Fandango is the finest, most detailed, most epic, intriguing and
fantastical adventure game I have ever played. Its the best £35 Ive spent
this year! 96%.