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American McGee's Grimm: Godfather Death

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Spicy Horse
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Grimm returns, and this time American McGee's episodic game takes on Godfather Death, a tale of a boy who's raised by Death himself and, well, when you mingle with Death, you won't ever get what you expect.

Godfather Death continues the same style of the previous episodes, but this one actually feels a bit darker than the past releases (if you can believe it). There are quite a few times when the dark version of the levels are far grim (pardon the pun) than before. Sure the blood-filled fountains and desolate trees return, but there are several images that are even darker than I remember from the last ones (like the hall where the King and Princess are sick; once you turn people dark in that level, they start to throw up green particle effects all over the place).

Audio hasn't changed much. Grimm's gruff voice remains ever present, but there does seem to be a bit more variety in his statements. Of the few times when wrong jumps led to instant deaths, I wasn't constantly tormented with the same comments over and over again.


American McGee's Grimm: Godfather Death starts off with an impoverished family churning out their 13th baby. Realizing that they weren't going to be able to raise the kid, the father goes out to find a godfather to raise the boy.

First he stumbles upon God and decides him unworthy of the task (something Grimm finds amazing) because the man believes God treats people unfairly (making the rich richer, and keeping the poor people poor). Then the man finds the Devil, but again doesn't allow him to be the godfather because he doesn't like how the boy would most likely turn out. Eventually, the father runs into Death and asks him to be the boy's godfather, because Death treats everyone equally.

When the boy grows up, Death takes him to a secret garden with a plant that can heal any aliment. He tells the boy he will become a great doctor, but he must only heal those people who are not intended to die. Those that Death intends to take will have the reaper appear at the head of their bed, while the ones that he can give the medicine to will have his godfather at the foot.

The boy grows up and news of his talents for healing spread, until he is appointed the King's physician. But when he is supposed to allow Death to take the King, he gives him the herb instead and asks, as a reward, for the princess' hand in marriage. Needless to say, Death is not amused by this disobedience and warns the kid not to do it again. But when his betrothed gets sick and he heals her (again against the wishes of his godfather), Godfather Death takes the boy into the underworld to show him that everyone has a candle, and when it goes out, so does that person's life. Let's just say that the boy's candle is a lot shorter than he thought it should have been. But there doesn't seem to be any real message behind this story, at least not in its current format. By the time Grimm is done with it, a lesson will be taught, especially to the boy and his family.

This episode's levels are divided into the family's home (complete with all 13 children), the places where the father finds God, the Devil and Death, the herb garden, King's castle and the Underworld.

There are a few interesting points about this particular episode. For one, I was finally able to reach the game's top level of darkness, Vile, and there are a few more power-ups in this story.


In past American McGee's Grimm episodes, the hardest part typically involved complex jump puzzles, but there are very few of those in Godfather Death, and the ones that are there are more forgiving. So this release isn't all that hard, and you will be able to spend more time contemplating the strange story and morphing graphics rather than the tricky leaps over instant death areas (water, bottomless pits, etc.). So, like the first couple of episodes, the difficulty goes back to trying to beat your previous scores, or earning a gold medal or collecting all of the secrets and not simply trying to get through the fairytale.

Game Mechanics:

There seem to be a couple of new mechanics buried in American McGee's Grimm: Godfather Death when compared to the previous episodes. For one, in the scene where you meet Death, the dark version of that level is covered in ice, so you will be sliding around the ground quite a lot. But the aspect that really helped a lot was the addition of a counter for the scenes where you had to transform certain number of items dark. For instance, in the Devil's scene, there are nuns walking around (five, I believe). You have to turn them all dark in order to advance the scene. Now, there is a section on the HUD that will tell you how many of those goals you still have to turn. It's just a nice little detail that really helps.

Followers of the Grimm games have probably already downloaded this episode, and have found it to be on par with the past releases. But even if you haven't had the chance to check the series out yet, there is no better place to start than here, especially since there is no dependency of past games like some other episodic releases. If Grimm sounds the least bit interesting to you, then you should check it 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, Dual NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

Sony PlayStation 3 Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty Windows UberSoldier II

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