Set to the thrilling pace of a crime drama, this puts an interesting twist on this gaming genre as you take the exciting role of 'the Grim Reaper'. Well, not exactly. Manny Calavera, your character in Grim Fandango
, is a dead-beat (no pun intended) travel agent for the Department of Death. Every time he gets a client, they never qualify for much bigger 'life rewards' than wandering the underworld with a walking stick. Your story begins as Manny's newest client is strangely given the lowest possible option. Dumbfounded, Manny sets Mercedes Colomar (Meche) on her feet toward her final resting place. Eventually Manny figures out he has been duped for quite some time, and sets out on a four year search for Meche. The game moves mostly in a linear fashion, separated into four chapters each occurring one year apart. I was rarely disappointed with the degree of complexity the story presents. Making use of allusions to classic films such as 'Casablanca', and 'Glengarry Glen Ross', the parodying is tasteful and creates more atmosphere than slaphappy humor. However, comic relief is not led astray. Manny's sidekick Glottis, an oversized monster, tags along on most of Manny's trip giving you just the right amount of relief to the tension surrounding the array of mysterious puzzles.
Speaking of puzzles, Grim successfully integrates each puzzle into its storyline. I never once looked up from the game asking how a certain piece related to the big picture. Successful completion often seemed to go on without notice as the story kept going throughout.
My only qualm with this game was between each scene as I was required to move back and forth from one CD to the other. I felt that it was pulling me away from the lavishness of storytelling, and forcing me to realize I was still in the real world. To some however, this might be a good thing. After all, I did go to the bathroom in the middle of playing and shrieked when I saw skin covering my skeleton.