PC - Windows : Grim Fandango Reviews

Gas Gauge: 85
Gas Gauge 85
Below are user reviews of Grim Fandango and on the right are links to professionally written reviews. The summary of review scores shows the distribution of scores given by the professional reviewers for Grim Fandango. Column height indicates the number of reviews with a score within the range shown at the bottom of the column. Higher scores (columns further towards the right) are better.

Summary of Review Scores

Game Spot 93
Game FAQs
CVG 70
IGN 94
Game Revolution 85

User Reviews (1 - 11 of 193)

Show these reviews first:

Highest Rated
Lowest Rated
Most Helpful
Least Helpful

Probably one of the best adventure games ever made

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 79 / 81
Date: September 04, 2000
Author: Amazon User

I was very dubious when I started playing Grim Fandango. An adventure game with polygons? And the SCUMM menu interface system that was in every single past Lucasarts adventure game was gone? But I gave it a try. Thank goodness I did.

Grim Fandango is a story about Manny Calavera, a travel agent for the souls of the dead. He sells packages to the departed for their four year journey to their just rewards, and if he sells enough he can earn enough to make his own trip someday.

Imagine the theme of Casablanca with some mexican folklore and Mayan art thrown in for fun. Add big orange demons, hot rods, killer beavers, cat races, and the grim reaper and you have Grim Fandango.

The story is supurb and the voice acting was top notch. It's very difficult to do a dramatic yet humorous story, but somehow this game pulls it off. Grim Fandango could yank me to the brink of tears one moment and cause me to almost bust a gut another.

The things that make a good adventure game are all there. Logical puzzles that don't cause your gameplay to come to a standstill until you solve them, good acting, good animation, and good code! If I were ever forced to reccomend only on adventure game to someone, this would be it! Especially at the new low price!

Top-notch adventure game

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 38 / 39
Date: October 20, 2001
Author: Amazon User

Grim Fandango is one of those games that you look forward to playing every day after work or school. It's not only fun; it is a masterpiece of game design. The graphics are beautiful, the audio quality is superb, and the interface is intuitive and incredibly easy to learn. Manny (the main character) always turns his head towards something when you can interact with it. Then you simply press a button and he can describe it, use it, pick it up, talk with it, etc. It's a great system, one that feels very natural and makes the flow of the game as smooth as possible.

The story behind the game is based on Mexican folklore; in the early stages of the game, el Dia del Muerto is the central theme. The characters are all quite colorful, especially Manny Calavera the protagonist and his ursine driver, Glottis. Clever humor is interwoven throughout the storyline and dialogue, promising hours of hearty laughs.

Not everyone will like this game, though. Adventure games don't have the quasi-universal appeal they used to, and for this reason some gamers may actually find Grim Fandango "boring". I, for one, found it to be an extremely entertaining game. You can even play with other people, despite the fact that it is a single-player game; the story unfolds so much like a movie that, even if you're not controlling Manny, you can enjoy what's going on on the screen.

Grim Fandango is an adventure game. If you liked the Monkey Island series or any other LucasArts adventure games, or games like King's Quest or Space Quest (remember that one?), you will love this one. I sure did.

A Day in the Land of the Dead

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 35 / 37
Date: June 09, 2001
Author: Amazon User

I admit it: I absolutely love adventure games. They are practically my life and, if it weren't for companies like LucasArts, Cyan, Presto Studios, etc., then I would be crying myself sore on the ground.

For the skeptics among you, let me tell you that GRIM FANDANGO is every bit as good as reviewers put it up to be. It has drama, wit, humor, and great gameplay. If you don't want to read the rest of the article, let me sum it up in two words: BUY IT.

There. That said, let me get into the game. You play Manny Calavera, a dead guy working in the Eighth Underworld (inspired by Mexican folklore about life after death.) Because of some great sin you committed in life (although I have a sneaking suspicion that he didn't do anything wrong) you are forced to work off your debt to the powers that be by selling travel packages to other newly arrived souls (think sports cars, luxury cruises or, best of all, the high-speed Number Nine train) for their journey to the Ninth Underworld, the land of eternal rest (I think). Unfortunately, due to some turn of events, the perfect client (stolen from your arch-competitor) is cheated out of her rightful package, setting in motion events concerning the dangers of the Eighth Underworld and the corruption within the agency you work for itself.

That classic LucasArts humor returns in GRIM FANDANGO. However, this time, it is not the slapstick comedy of Monkey Island and other titles but serious and more subtle humor, accentuated by superb voice acting. The characters themselves are all quite memorable; there is Mercedes Colomar, the lost soul cheated out of her right ticket on the Number Nine and forced to wander the Eighth Underworld on foot; there's Chepito, a lost soul also journeying to the Eighth Underworld. However, this southern chap hates boats, instead walking there under the ocean itself and turning blue because of the cold. There's Velasco, the crusty sea captain in the port town of Rubacava. There's the orange-skinned, purple-tongued Glottis, a "spirit of the land" summoned from the deepest deeps of the underworld with one desire, one purpose, and one wish - to drive. Finally, there's Manny himself, the Mexican dead guy trying to sort things out. He also has an uncanny ability to rise from the bottom of a corporation to the head itself (excluding his own agency, the Department of the Dead).

The puzzles are all well designed and make sense - at least, in retrospect. However, some of the puzzles are downright bizarre. For example (skip to the next paragraph if you don't want any spoilers), how about filling limp balloons with to different chemicals and sending them down the message tube to the central messaging machine so that they pop and combine to create a packing foam, allowing you access to the machine once the repair demon leaves? Kind of weird, eh? Nevertheless, the puzzles do the job right and are quite fun.

I also found the interface and controls quite fine; granted, they weren't as good as that of previous adventures using the SCUMM engine, but the GRIMM engine, despite falling short in some areas, surpasses SCUMM in others. The visuals are very good, even by today's standards, and the interface for the inventory and actions is just as good as that of SCUMM. The controls, on the other hand, are a bit clunkier; while I adjusted to them quickly enough (thanks to ESCAPE FROM MONKEY ISLAND), they are certainly less convenient than a simple point-'n-click adventure game.

My one complaint lies with the story itself - there are times when GRIM FANDANGO can seem awfully dark to some. However, despite this one shortcoming, the fact remains - you should own GRIM FANDANGO.

Enjoy your stay in the land of the dead.

A classic

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 35 / 38
Date: February 13, 2000
Author: Amazon User

If you're reading this review, you may be under the impression that I'm trying to oversell it. Perhaps I am. It doesn't matter; this game deserves it. Hands down, I have never seen a more beautiful and challenging game. Every scene is a postcard. The music is so perfect you think they chose the playlist first and worked the game aronud it. It made me laugh, though the humor is wry and subtle and may be hard to appreciate. It made my eyes water, though there's no heavy-handed sentimentality. You'll fall in love with the characters, whose voices are perfect. When something goes wrong in the story, you'll feel genuine delight or devastating depression, depending on the situation. Lucasarts could easily have made a movie based on the interesting characters and elaborate cutscenes alone. (And, for my money, I hope they do...)

The game is not perfect, but in an industry fixated on violent first-person shooters and manufactured WarCraft clones, Grim Fandango is a welcome breath of fresh air. They say the adventure game is dead; this is proof to the opposite. It is a disappointment that the game sold poorly, because it's just this kind of game that makes me glad I own a computer.

The best graphic adventure. Ever.

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 29 / 30
Date: May 08, 2001
Author: Amazon User

Grim Fandango is something unlike previous LucasArts games. In its creation, LucasArts dropped many of their graphic adventure standbys ("Look At", "Talk To", etc. menus) and threw themselves wholeheartedly into a 3D adventure with a brand new, simple interface. The result is the perfect blend of graphics, music, story, and puzzles.

Meet Manuel "Manny" Calavera, travel agent for the Department of Death, trying to work off his time in the Land of the Dead by selling travel packages to the newly deceased. When Mercedes "Meche" Colomar walks through his door his life (er, death...) takes a turn for the bizarre and he is flung head-first into a web of fraud, murder, and corruption.

What follows is a 4 year journey across the Land of the Dead in search of Meche and an answer to Manny's questions. Along the way you will help Manny assist Salvador Limones' revolution, run the Calavera Cafe (pulled directly from Casablanca), captain the S.S. Lola, and take a swim at the edge of the world. Not to mention interacting with the quirkiest characters ever to grace a game, solving terrific puzzles, and navigating beautifully rendered environments.

Grim Fandango is one of the best games I have ever played and the definitive graphic adventure. There will never be another to rival the sheer fun LucasArts has packed into this game. Manny Calavera and friends deserve a place on the hard drive of every computer.

And it's a super deal to boot.

So much fun, it's worth watching someone else play!

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 37 / 42
Date: July 02, 2001
Author: Amazon User

The GF interface is classic "adventure" gaming: point and click, put things in your inventory, solve puzzles and watch a story unfold.

The difference between GF and so many other of this genre is that everything is done right in this game... the voices, the graphics, the music, the whole look & feel, the cutscenes, the writing... GF is more than a game, it is interactive theater. It's a multimedia experience every bit as compelling as cinema. If it were a movie it would be worth watching again and again. I've read in gaming magazines that people actually cried at the end of this game, it's that well-written and performed!

But to watch this movie, you must drive the characters yourself through the action, conversing with delightfully bizarre & campy characters, solving a series of puzzles as you go. The puzzles themselves are pretty standard adventure game fare, challenging you to find out what items to give to which people or to use with which other items or places in the game world. Unlike some games, though, whose puzzles are so farfetched that once you know the solution you actually get angry at the designers, GF's are just the right blend of challenging and logical, and you'll rarely have to go to the "hint" book to get unstuck (though there are those times in any adventure game this long). And you'll want to try every conversation tree along the way, just because the responses are so funny. The inventory interface (Manny puts things into and removes them from his inner coat pocket) takes a little getting used to, but this isn't a game based on fast-twitch reflexes so after a few frustrating instances of trying to get the item you wanted out and into the game world, it eventually becomes second nature and never costs you a restart.

GF has enough innuendo and film noir references to keep adults entertained, but is clean-languaged, gore free (in the land of the dead, you don't get killed, you get "sprouted," and flowers grow from your skeleton) and OK for kids to play -- though it does get as emotionally intense as any old Bogart movie. Moments when your pulse will race or you will feel shocked and angry at the villain's sheer villainy. But it is not due to fast-paced action or graphic violence, simply that the fantastic, immersive atmosphere has sucked you into the story.

At its new low price, this game is an absolute steal. Pick up this and the third Monkey Island in jewel case format and you'll have hundreds of hours of totally entertaining gaming for your whole family for less than a trip to the movies. If it's half the game we're all saying it is, how could you go wrong?


5 Rating: 5, Useful: 23 / 23
Date: November 22, 2004
Author: Amazon User

This is one of the greatest PC adventure games ever released. It has a strong mix of puzzles, humor and moving storyline that have made it a classic. While point-and-click fanatics may not like the fact that movement is accomplished by using the arrow keys instead of the mouse, it is well worth your time to familiarize yourself with the controls, as the gameplay is unparalleled adventure game fun. HOWEVER...


You will find the jewel-case (no box) release of this game advertised new and factory sealed for from $22-50 by Amazon retailers. You can purchase this same version of Grim Fandango directly from the publisher (LucasArts) for a mere $15. Don't let yourself get ripped off in your excitement to purchase this classic game!

One of the best ever!

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 16 / 16
Date: May 24, 2001
Author: Amazon User

If they made more games like this, I'd be a pauper. Intelligent, funny, easy to use, easy to solve, and no bloody chess problems. It's also thought-provoking, gorgeous, well-written, and as believable as talking skeletons and elevator demons can make it. One of my favorites that I play over and over again. One caveat: At least one puzzle seems to be tied to processor speed, so if you have a fast machine you'll need to download a patch from the manufacturers' website. Well worth the trouble, though.

Buenos dias!

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 15 / 16
Date: June 04, 2005
Author: Amazon User

I don't go for adventure games, personally. Ninety percent of the time, I prefer shooters. But this one...man, it's so weird, so unique, and so GENIUS through and through, how can you not love it?

Here's the story. Manny Calavera is a low-level salesman trying to earn an honest commission and make a decent day's pay, but it never seems to work out for him. His boss is constantly on his back, he's routinely snaked by a competitor, Domino Hurley, and the right sales never come his way. It's a lousy life to have.

Especially if you're already dead.

That's the twist; Manny, and just about everyone else in the game, is dead. This whole game takes place in the Land of the Dead of Mexican/Aztec folklore, with a strong Art Deco influence, with heavy doses of '30s crime noir thrown in. Everyone in the game is fashioned to look like the sugar skeletons used in Day of the Dead festivals (called 'calaveras'; get it?).

Manny works in the Department of Death, trying to work off his time for his misdeeds when he was alive. He does that by trying to sell 'travel packages' to the recently deceased, so they can make their four-year journey across the Land of the Dead, until they reach the portal leading to the Land of Eternal Rest. The quality of life this person lived determines whether they get to use a car, a luxury liner, or the exclusive No. 9 train, which speeds its passengers there in four minutes, instead of the customary four years.

Unfortunately, the kind of lowlifes who keep coming Manny's way only deserve walking sticks at best, which does absolutely nothing to help Manny work off his time. So, he decides to take matters into his own hands and STEAL the right kind of client.

And that's when he gets in over his head.

The story is pure crime noir with a technicolor twist, like Raymond Chandler meets Tim Burton. The plot Manny uncovers is convoluted, brilliant, deeply twisted, and diabolical like you've never imagined possible. It's also incredibly, unspeakably funny. Tim Schaefer is one absurd individual, make no mistake.

Yes, it's an old game, I know. But the true classics know no age, and this is a classic all right. So take advantage of the price, snap it up, and book a trip with your new favorite travel agent. He's waiting for you...

Favorite Game of a Non Adventure Gamer

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 13 / 13
Date: July 06, 2001
Author: Amazon User

I don't play adventures, but this is one of my all time favorite games withtout a doubt.

My wife and I played it together all the way through twice, and like going back to a great novel we'll probably play it again. The characters are incredibly stylish, witty, real, and lovable. The scenes are a work of art in their own right. The story is like a great movie of the film noir style, but on an epic scale. One episode in the game pay tribue to Casablanca and it does it very well. If these elements sound attractive, then you will not be disappointed.

The puzzles were pretty darn hard at times. I had to use a walkthrough.

I tried other popular adventure games like The Longest Journey and Monkey Island, but in contrast they had poor acting, dumb jokes, and annoying characters. If I may say it, Grim Fandango suits a more sophisticated taste but still would not bore a young audience.

Review Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next