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American McGee's Grimm: The Golden Goose

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Spicy Horse
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

If you never had the opportunity to play American McGee's Alice, then you are really missing out on a piece of gaming history. But, you can rest assured that you are going to get the same dark-to-the-last-drop story revisions with the episodic content of American McGee's Grimm. I had an opportunity to play one of the newest episodes from Volume Two called American McGee's Grimm: The Golden Goose. The original tales from the Brothers Grimm are already truly dark enough as they are, so adding the macabre elements that only McGee could do properly, and it is just, well, it's a little disturbing is what it is. But, it is all so fun.

If you are a fan of Cartoon Network's Foster's Home for Imaginary Children, then you will actually see a huge similarity to the art involved. The art style is designed to show extreme differences from the light and beautiful world of fairytales, to the dark and decrepit world that is McGee. It is a very simple look that shows a lot of depth. The landscapes are very simple and not amazingly huge. This is a formula that you see across most of the episodes.

There is a lot of voiceover work done in this game. As much work went into the speaking parts as did the entire episode, I believe. When done correctly, games with lots of speech are fun to just sit and enjoy, you find yourself listening to all they have to offer even through the credits, like I did.


American McGee's Grimm: The Golden Goose had a very Katamari Damacy feel to me. If you are not familiar with the story of the golden goose, there are many tellings of the story. Dummling is the youngest of three brothers that are tasked by their father to go into the woods and cut wood. Each of the three brothers come in contact with a man in the woods who asks them for some food and drink, and each says no; except for Dummling, that is. He is rewarded with a goose with golden feathers. Anyone who attempts to remove a feather from the goose is stuck to it. It wasn't long before the greed of others found them stuck to the goose. This long precession of fools, that are stuck to this goose, catch the eye of the princess. The princess, in turn, catches Dummling's heart and he asks for her hand in marriage. Dummling is tasked with three impossible quests from her father the king, who does not want the commoner in his family. With the help of the old man from the woods, he completes the three quests, and wins her hand.

You play the role of Grimm whose job it is to drop into the story and ruin it by turning everything to filth. Your presence in the story leaves a dark stain on the world. It is your job to spread this darkness around the fairytale. As you move around the world, you darken it and raise your Dark-O-Meter. The more you spread, the higher the level raises and the more things you can affect when your darkness comes in contact with them.

Now I said it felt like Katamari Damacy because of this progression of moving around the world affecting larger and larger things. This game has a heavy platformer element to each level. You must successfully navigate each level's obstacles to reach the end. Last, you will have to collect enough darkness to be eligible to defeat the boss. Well, you do not necessarily defeat a boss, per se, but you do close out the level by interacting with a main character from the story.

There were six levels in this episode. Each one has you raise the Dark-O-Meter to a certain point before you can progress to the next level. The characters of this fairytale world are not going to just let you muck up their world. Characters from the world will go along behind you and actually remove the darkness. There are ways of impeding their progress by stunning them with your butt-stomp move. When your darkness level is high enough, you can even convert these happy-go-lucky do gooders into dark forms of themselves. A great time for the whole family... if you want your kids to sleep in your bed with you forever.


American McGee's Grimm: The Golden Goose has three main components to each level. The first is the Katamari Damacy-like spreading of your darkness. This is in no way difficult and is not necessarily meant to be. If you goof around, though, the other characters that are removing your darkness can become a pain. The second is the puzzle-solving aspect of the game, which is harder than spreading the beautiful darkness, but again, not the biggest challenge. The real challenge comes from the third element which is the platforming aspect of the game. Put all three of these elements together and you have a fast and unique gameplay style. There was definitely a solid and noticeable change in the difficulty between each level. Do not expect a flat gameplay experience.

Game Mechanics:

American McGee's Grimm: The Golden Goose offers the standard W, A, S, D control scheme. It also has a rather unique test to see if you are able to jump from one point to another point. If you let Grimm stop for a short period of time, he will begin to, umm, he will sort of, he starts to urinate is what he does. This stream can then be aimed to where you want to jump to. There are two options for jumping, and this can sometimes be a real pain when you are trying to play a platformer. Your space bar will jump, but so will the right mouse button. This would occasionally throw me off. More than the two jumps, there were two ways to run forward; the "W" and the left mouse button. Having the ability to move forward and jump from the mouse made certain portions a little more convenient, but I wouldn't say it made things easier overall.

Episodic games, as a whole, came out of the blocks with great promise, but quickly fell by the wayside as their profit margins were not desirable enough to investors. Few games have pulled it off for any measurable amount of time, and these Grimm stories are an example of a successful endeavor. Are they a richly lucrative endeavor? That is a fairytale for another time. But the fact is these games, or chapters really, are extremely short. Having them on Game Tap is a convenient, clean and easy way to make the entire experience of this episodic content worth playing.

GameTap offers new installments of the Grimm series for free within the first day of launch. See www.gametap.com/grimm for details.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

4 GHz Single-Core Pentium processor, 2 GB of RAM (memory), at least 128 MB of video RAM, we recommend Nvidia 6600 or better as far as video cards go.

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Nintendo Wii Monster Lab Windows American McGee's Grimm: Iron John

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated