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American McGee's Grimm: The Fisherman and His Wife

Score: 75%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Spicy Horse
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

American McGee's Grimm: The Fisherman and His Wife keeps the same look and feel of the previous two episodes (A Boy Learns What Fear Is and Little Red Riding Hood).

Visuals are simple blocky models that could almost have been carved out of wood or made by hand. This unique look helps to give the series its odd "old world" feel and helps to sell the fairytale style of the game. You could almost expect to see it in a puppet theater.

The game's audio is fairly solid. Background music has a distinct feel to it that has followed from the previous games, and Grimm's harsh and gruff voice still tells the fairytales in his unique ways. Though this particular game does reveal a bit of a flaw in the sound department, and that is with the lack of variety in Grimm's in-game one-liners. This is especially true for comments about dying in water (something that will happen a lot in this game). I heard Grimm's few comments about the water so many times, I had to turn off the sound at one point. Something that never bodes well.


American McGee's Grimm: The Fisherman and His Wife follows the classic fairytale about a fisherman who captures a magical fish. When the fish asks the man to free him, he promises to grant the man a wish. As the story goes, the fisherman's wife is tired of being poor, so the fisherman wishes for their house to be replaced by a castle.

The wife's desire to have more has the fisherman go out and request that she be made pope, and even then, her greed has her wanting to be like God. Of course, this last wish isn't exactly as she hoped and the pair goes back to living in poverty (since that is how God lives).

Grimm doesn't like this version, especially since no real punishment has taken place, so by the end of the tale, the couple are no worse off for the trouble they've caused. So Grimm takes matters into his own grimy hands. You will go from the waterfront (several times) to the castle, the church and finally a whirlpool where everything the couple had wished for is getting sucked away.


American McGee's Grimm: The Fisherman and His Wife is noticeably more difficult than the first two episodes. While the general principles are the same, you will have to change objects into higher levels of darkness in order to proceed. But even then, the designers have given you more than enough objects to turn in order to get past the obstacles.

The other aspect that makes this episode more difficult is the amount of jumping over water you will have to do, but my personal gripes about the game's jumping capabilities are reserved for the Game Mechanics section.

Game Mechanics:

Unfortunately, American McGee's Grimm: The Fisherman and His Wife doesn't quite feel as solid as the first two games. While the core mechanics are all the same, it's the level design itself that causes quite a few problems in The fisherman and His Wife.

Since this fairytale is so water-heavy (for obvious reasons), the game's need for good platforming mechanics are essential. Unfortunately, there are a few aspects concerning the jumping that can cause quite a number of problems. For instance, the more you increase the Dark-O-Meter, the farther you can jump. While this sounds like a cool idea, this means you can't really get a solid idea for how far you can jump (I guess that's the reason the developers had Grimm constantly urinating to judge your distance). What this means is that during some of the more difficult jumps, I would overshoot my target.

Other times, a lack of control would lead to just frustrating sequences, like in the last level. Here, you start off on a crate at the center of a whirlpool, and a string of crates spiral outward and up out of the whirlpool. You must jump from box to box in order to climb out of the area and get to more stable parts. Unfortunately, the lack of precise control makes this a difficult matter, and you will hear Grimm comment on drowning in the water many times. To make matters worse, it seems like the level didn't reset quite right whenever you died because there were quite a few times when the jump to a crate was impossible, because the next crate was too high. At these times, I had to quit the level and restart it. This level was by far the most frustrating part of The Fisherman and His Wife.

I have mixed feelings about this particular episode. While I enjoy the way Grimm changes the story, there are quite a few issues in the level design that cause problems. Thankfully, the episodes are very self-contained, so if you want to skip The Fisherman and His Wife because of this, that shouldn't hurt the later releases.

If you can, download this game within the first 24 hours of launch in order to get it free (this can be done at www.gametap.com/grimm), otherwise, you might want to consider holding back until you see how the rest of the series plays out.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

2.4 GHz Single Core Pentium Processor, 512 MB of System RAM, Nvidia 6200+ or equivalent video card with 128MB Video RAM, 500 MB of Free Hard Drive Space

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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