Just when we were about to chisel out 'Here lies Sam and Max' on the gravestone of adventure games, LucasArts released Grim Fandango and the genre rose from the grave. If anyone was going to do it then it had to be LucasArts, purveyors of some of the funniest and greatest adventure games ever: Day Of The Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit The Road and Monkey Island.
Grim Fandango Mom the adventures of Manuel Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death, who flogs luxury packages to souls on their journey to eternal rest. The humour has more of an edge than previous titles, and combines classic film noir themes with ancient Mexican mythology and some amazing 3D graphics. A true classic.
We don't want to have to preview this again. Not because we don't like it, but because we can't bloody wait to get our hands on the finished article. Okay, so we haven't actually played it yet, but we can comfortably predict that Grim Fandango is likely to be the adventure game of the year. Unapologetically stylish, laugh-out-loud funny, and epic in structure, it's a distinctive cut above the usual half-arsed toss that so often passes for a 'game' these days. Don't believe us? Check out the review of Hopkins FBI on page 117 and see how bad adventures can be, and then consider this: Grim Fandango is that game's absolute opposita A promising blend of film noir, Mexican folklore and Abbot and Costello, it could single-handedly mark a turnaround in the fortunes of the beleaguered adventure genra We certainly hope so.
For some time now, a number of self-appointed experts - not least our good selves - have been sounding the bell for adventure games (see report on page30), claiming that the genre is all but washed up, mercilessly crushed beneath the weight of first-person murder and visceral arcade thrills. Of course, there was a time when adventures were 'all the rage', but they now represent little more than a quaint throwback to an earlier, more innocent, age. It's all over. Finished. Kaput. Gone. Or is it? If anyone can breath life back into the genre, it's LucasArts, pioneers of adventures as we know them, and the team responsible for some genuinely seminal titles. Incidentally, to put things in perspective, consider that when Culture Club were first mincing up the charts, adventure games largely consisted of 'North-South-East-West-Your skull was cleaved'. If the sweaty youngsters pawing at their rubber keyboards back then could have magically been shown a preview of things to come, it would almost certainly have been dismissed as the stuff of a madman's dream.
Much like the story behind Grim Fandango. Step forward, Manuel Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death, flogging luxury packages to souls on their four-year journey to eternal rest. For sins committed in the living world, Manny has been sentenced to his own personal purgatory, awarded the ultimate dead-end job: a salesman. But it's not all barefaced lying and expense account lunches spent kowtowing to clients, making generic conversation and shamelessly feigning interest in their lives while being unable to look into their eyes without seeing the dollar signs of commission. Well, actually it is, but Manny is going through a bad patch, and a long time has passed since he last qualified for a set of steak knives, let alone a pair of Eurostar tickets. Having once been able to sell sand to arabs and snow to eskimos, Manny is now struggling to make his quota, and can't move on until he does. Something is clearly amiss, and it turns out that he's caught in the middle of an embezzlement ring that's preventing him from getting the right clients. With your help, Manny soon finds this out and steals a prime prospect, starting a chain of events that not only threaten his job, but the eternal destiny of his soul, not to mention several weeks of your life.
Clearly, the story is a nonsense, but it's presented in such a stylish manner that you unquestioningly accept whatever gibberish is thrown at you, becoming wholly absorbed in the technicolour fantasy world that lives in your special telly. Drawing inspiration from the films Chinatown, Casablanca and The Big Sleep, the game's four-year saga intertwines the themes of classic film noir with the exotic mythology of ancient Mexico; although the less pretentious could just as rightfully claim that it's Ren And Slimpy meets The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Adopting a fresh 3D look, the graphics are nothing less than sensational, with or without an accelerator card. All of the shots on this page were taken with the game running in software only, and in some ways they look more real, the 3Dfx version having a trademark 'plasticy' look about it. Whatever, the game looks fantastic, and has an interface to match, the lead character's head actually turning to look at objects, bypassing the traditional frustration of trying to interact with everything. Of course, the usual adventure game rules apply: for instance, rather than simply pointing out a crucial dog-tag, you have to get a metal detector from a dizzy security woman, who then throws it into a gigantic tray of cat litter, forcing you to trawl through some man-sized turds. That sort of thing. The puzzles certainly aren't easy, and often involve traversing the same areas several times, although tasks can be worked on simultaneously.
LucasArts have always been renowned for their comedy, and while there is a great deal of clever smile humour in Grim Fandango, there are very few dog-laughs to be had. In fact the humour is in a far more bitter vein than previous outings, taking thinly veiled swipes at several sections of society, including salesmen, secretaries, gamblers, the working class, beatniks, morons and schizophrenics. Other than the silver-tongued Calavera, the other constant character is his sidekick and driver, Glottis, an obese simpleton with a penchant for cars and gambling. Essentially harmless, he's the kind of person who would accidentally strangle a puppy by squeezing it too hard, and much of the game involves Manny exploiting his idiocy for his own personal gain. He does have some feelings though, and a love interest is thrown into the mix quite early in the proceedings, providing the basis for numerous capers. Designed by Tim Schafer whose CV includes Day Of The Tentacle and Full Throttle Grim Fandango represents LucasArts at their creative best. A subtle blend of lateral thinking, arcade puzzles, bizarre settings, outlandish characters and seamless cut-scenes, it's a joy to play (apart from when you get stuck - expect the PC ZONE walkthrough to come to your aid soon). Indeed, with its expert direction, costumes, characters, music and atmosphere, it would actually make a superb film.
As it stands, it's a great game. If the doom-mongers are to be believed, and it really is last orders for adventure games, then Grim Fandango at least provides us with a f***ing good lock-in.
Walkthrough - Part 2
As we explained in Part One of our walkthrough last issue when we took you through the first two years, Grim Fandango is essentially comprised of puzzles. We've provided the basic solutions to these puzzles, and the order in which you attempt them is fairly arbitrary; some can even be worked on simultaneously. Good luck, enjoy the trip, and tell them we sent you.
Hit the button on the far left of the room to pull up the ocean-side anchor, and the red button on the far right of the room to pull up the dock-side anchor. Then:
I - Grab the levers near the middle of the room and turn to the right - you should get a shot of the ship away from the dock.
2 - Put down the levers and hit the dock-side anchor button to drop it.
3 - Grab the levers again and turn to the left-you should now get a shot of the ship next to the dock with the dock-side anchor down.
4 - Put down the levers and hit the ocean-side anchor button to drop it.
5 - Grab the levers again and turn to the right - you should get a shot of the ship away from the dock with the ocean-side anchor hooked on to the dock-side anchor on the ocean floor.
6 - Put down the levers and hit the dock-side anchor to pull it up -you see the two anchors hooked together come up on the N. dock side.
7 - Use the scythe on the anchors: this hooks them on to the porthole.
8 - Hit the ocean-side anchor to pull both anchors along the bottom of the ship, which tears it in half.
9 - Grab the levers again and pull back to put the engines into reverse.
Talk to Chepito, the gimp with the lantern. As soon as he tries to leave, look at his lantern and grab it Turn towards Glottis, who takes Chepito and his lantern.
Sneak On Sub
Walk along the crater to the far side, where there's a barnacle-infested rock. Walk around the rock until Chepito gets stuck in the barnacles. You end up at the front of a large underwater building. Walk inside the elevator airlock. Walk straight out of the elevator, then turn right along the walkway, past the big vault door and into the Ashtray Room. Walk through the other door, into Domino's Room.
Meche is smoking a cigarette and using a stand-up ashtray next to her desk. If you move the ashtray slightly, she flicks ash on to her stockings, which she then removes and flings into the bin. Take these to Chepito, who will trade them for a gun. Give the gun to Meche.
Get Power Chisel
To get Meche out of the vault, you need Chepito's power chisel. Talk to the angelitos. Tell them that you really want to help, and when they ask why you don't come into the cage with them, tell them you don't have the tools. One of them throws a tiny hammer at you -give it to Chepito.
Use the power chisel on the door jamb of the vault, which exposes the tumblers. Spin the wheel clockwise until the top tumbler's flat spot lines up with the door jamb, then spin it anticlockwise to line up the second tumbler, then clockwise to line up the third tumbler, then anticlockwise to line up the bottom tumbler. Then use the scythe on the tumblers to lock them into place, and pull the door handle to open the door.
Open Secret Vault
Close the big door to the outside, and you see a gold electric terminal on the back of the door. Touch this with the scythe and it completes an electric circuit, opening a secret door into a secret vault, where Meche is.
Escape Secret Vault
Poke your scythe at the sprinklers. Tum the sprinkler system valve. If you turn it off, you can see the water seep away Into the floor. Take the broadaxe from the front vault, drag it to the back vault, and drop it onto the area where the water drains away.
Climb up onto the huge crane and drive it over to the other side of the island. Get off the crane, go down the conveyor and then past the lever into the next room. Go past the anchor, where Glottis is working on the Lamancha, which is hanging on the Edge of the World. To drag it up to the beach, go back to the crane, drive it back to the beach, drop the crane onto the beach, get off the crane and use the power chisel on it to detach it from the chain. This lets the chain and boom fly loose, wrecking the boom, leaving only the chain. Drive the crane back to the other side of the beach. Let the chain down, get off the crane and walk down the conveyor. Make sure that the conveyor is moving away from the surface of the water (flip the lever if necessary) and the chain heads towards the anchor. Go back to the lever and flip it so that the conveyor is moving towards the water surface; the chain pulls away from the anchor but starts coiling up on the conveyor. Flip the lever again so that the conveyor is moving away from the water surface; the coiled chain moves towards the anchor and hooks on to it. Go back up to the crane and pull the chain up.
GET PAST CORAL
They've got a ship now, but they need to find a way to get past the big coral reef that's out in the deeper water. Glottis figures those huge crushers would work. Get back into the crane and drop the chain onto the crushers then pull it back out. It rips the crushers out of their sockets and Glottis rigs them to the front of the Lamancha.
Domino returns all your attacks with force and you keep getting thrown down. Use your scythe on the eye of the octopus, which makes it swim away. Domino gets really mad now, pushes Manny down again and starts yelling at him. Then the Lamancha comes cruising up, with its big set of crushers in front. Simply sit back and watch.
Walk all the way to the bottom of the temple and open the coffin. Bruno throws the coffee mug full of packing material at you and stomps off. The packing material can be used as fuel, since it becomes explosive when mixed with the magnesium fire extinguishers, which the mechanical demons have.
Put the coffee mug on the mug rack in the kitchen. Take a clean rag out of the drawer, dip it into the barrel of oil outside the kitchen, then put the oily rag in the toaster. The mechanics come in and put it out with their magnesium fire extinguisher, which hits the coffee mug full of packing material and sends it flying around the kitchen at top speed. The mechanics now know what they have to do.
Go to the Scrimshaw shop and get the liquid nitrogen from the cabinet. Go to the docks where Velasco is still hanging around. When he hears that the Lamancha has been found, Velasco takes off in search of it. Take the ship in a bottle and go to the Blue Casket kitchen, where there's a huge barrel full of coffin-shooter mix. Fill up the bottle and give it to Glottis, telling him it's 'Lumbago Lemonade'. Glottis loves it, so much so that he goes to the Blue Casket and drinks the whole barrel of it, and throws his guts all over the floor of the garage. Pour the liquid nitrogen on the floor and it freezes over. Now you can defuse the bomb.
You need to get the florist out of Hector's tower so you can convince him to work for the good guys. You can use Hector's note (the one where Hector threatens to come sprout Manny himself) to scare the florist. You need a way to get the note to the florist. First give the note to the carrier pigeon hanging out at the new LSA headquarters. Then take the photo of the dead agent out of the bin and show it to the pigeon, who immediately takes off in search of the agent in the photo. The agent's body is still in the florist's office, so the pigeon goes right to the florist.
The florist, Bowlsley, runs off through the sewers, but he ieaves a trail of sproutella that leaked from one of the cans. Pick up the severed arm left behind from the agent that Salvador chopped in half, then go down Into the sewers and up one of the ladders to a corridor, where you can climb another ladder and get to the backstage area of Johnny Thunder's musical review. Climb up some scaffolding and find a grinder. Stick the severed arm in the grinder, then take the grinder with the severed arm in it and go back to the sewers where the sproutella trail starts. On the way there, take the remote control for the Bone Wagon from Glottis. Grind some of the arm onto the sproutella, where it sprouts into a trail of baby tears that you can actually follow. Glottis follows in the Bone Wagon.
Manny and Glottis follow the trail to a store front of a flower shop, where they figure Bowlsley must be. They're about to emerge out of the sewers when the big sewer monster, a huge white alligator demon that they've been hearing, suddenly appears out of nowhere, blocking their path. Use the remote control that you took from Glottis to jack up the Bone Wagon, then drive forward towards the alligator demon, which just pushes it back. Jump onto the ledge, walk over to the ladder and start climbing down towards the store front. At a certain point on the way down the ladder you get chased back up by the alligator demon. Go down the ladder just far enough to get the alligator demon's attention, then lower the Bone Wagon onto it with the remote control, thus trapping the albinizod.
Manny can get into the florist's shop now, but Bowlsley is still freaked out and thinks that Manny has been sent by Hector to kill him. Bowlsley has a mental problem, where the contradictions between his life as a florist and his afterlife as a corpse that hates flowers have driven him mad. Bowlsley used to have a flower shop in real life and is now trying to replicate it There's a little bell on the inside of the shop door, but it's covered in tape. Use the scythe to remove the tape. Leave the shop and come back in. The bell rings, turning on a switch in Bowlsley's head so he thinks he's a florist again. Manny asks for a can of sproutella and a gun, and the florist gives it to him happily.
Now Manny needs to meet up with Meche in Hector's casino, but he won't go up there without some sort of disguise. Manny can get to the sewers underneath the theatre where Johnny Thunder's Musical Review is playing. Climb up the ladder from the sewer, where a couple of Thunderboys are talking. If you ask them about joining up they say you missed the audition.
There's a pot of coffee nearby, and some scaffolding that you can climb up above the Thunderboys. Take the pot of coffee, climb up the scaffolding, and pour the coffee onto one of the Thunderboys, ruining his make-up and his budding Thunderboy career. Go down the stairs backstage where they do the make-up, and they ask if you want to be a Thunderboy. Manny re-emerges with his brand new Thunderboy make-up.
Manny can go into the casino now without fear of being recognised, so he goes in and finds Meche hanging with Chowchilla Charlie at the slot machines. Meche says that Hector is having a party upstairs in his tower and they'll need to get some party clothes to sneak into it. The one-armed agent is also there, and has chosen to disguise himself in a trenchcoat while riding a unicycle.
The one-armed agent is wriggling his way into the slot machines and grabbing all the money inside. Manny needs to find a way to get Charlie away from his slot machine so he can get his clothes. Meche has a toga sheet that she's been trying to use on Charlie to convince him to go to an imaginary toga parly, but she hasn't had any luck getting him away from the slot machine. He says he'll leave when his slot machine pays off.
Throw the sheet on top of Charlie and then get the one-armed agent to come to Charlie's slot machine and do his trick. The money comes out. Charlie thinks he's hit the jackpot and agrees to go to the party with Meche. He goes into the bathroom and changes out of his suit and into the toga sheet. Manny can now go into the bathroom and change into Charlie's suit, and he and Meche head towards the elevator to go upstairs.
Celso and his wife are at Hector's. Hector has been trying to convince them to buy a Number Nine ticket, but they have decided to be frugal and not spend their money on this. Convince them to spend the money on the tickets by telling them about your danger-fraught travels. They go to Hector and tell him they've changed their minds; he asks them why, and they point to Manny. Hector then offers you a job.
Hector has jumped onto the kicking leg of the giant neon lady. He manages to jump to the next building, spilling the contents of his suitcase in the process. He hangs on the ledge of the building for a few seconds, then falls to the street below. The motor powering the neon lady's kicking leg burns out under Hector's weight; her leg is now stuck, pointing down. Manny could slide down the leg but it ends too low for him to get onto the next building. Her arm is resting on a cracked cement gargoyle. Use the arm in the grinder on the crack in the gargoyle to sprinkle some ground-up bone into the crack, then dribble some sproutella out of the sproutella can you got from the florist. The flowers and shrubbery break open the gargoyle, dislodging the giant neon lady's hand and causing the entire structure to fall backwards. Now the end of her leg is high enough for Manny to be able to slide down the leg and jump to the next building, grabbing the suitcase full of tickets.
Manny's been shot with a sproutella dart; he can't do anything until he finds a way to counter it. Use the liquid nitrogen you're still carrying from Rubacava on the wound to freeze it up.
Get Gun From Trunk
Now Manny needs to get the gun that's in the trunk of the car to shoot Hector, but he doesn't have the key. Talk to Sal, who explains that the key is on his sprouted body. Open up the suitcase full of tickets and one, apparently belonging to Sal, floats out and towards his head. Pick it up and take it to the meadow behind the greenhouse, where it is drawn towards Sal's body. Use the scythe on the plot of ground below the hovering ticket, where you find Sal's body and the key to the trunk of the car.
Hector is holed up in the greenhouse and there's no apparent way to get at him. There's a water tank nearby that Hector uses to water the plants in the greenhouse. Take the sproutella gun and shoot the water tank with it. The sproutella from the gun mixes with the water in the tank, and then it all goes into the greenhouse where it sprays down onto the plants, and onto Hector, killing him. Serves him right, the dirty bastard.
Download Grim Fandango
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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