Together Retro Game Club: Grim Fandango
Presented by Graham
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This month in Together Retro we delve into the land of the dead with Grim Fandango. Created by Tim Schafer, the man behind other classic point-and-click games such as The Secret of Monkey Island, and developed by LucasArts, this classic adventure game is highly regarded for its memorable setting and characters, excellent soundtrack and wonderful story.
Grim Fandango merges influences from Film Noir with Mexican folklore to create a unique and interesting world which is full of life, even if everyone in it is dead. Playing as Manny Calavera, Grim Reaper and Travel Agent, you must play through four in game years to help uncover the mysteries that plague the world of the dead.
Grim Fandango plays similarly to many classic LucasArts adventure games, with a few twists. It’s still impossible to die unlike most Sierra adventures, and the gameplay mainly consists of talking to characters and figuring out which items to use where to proceed – often in humourous ways.
Grim Fandango ditches the classic 90s SCUMM engine used by most prior LucasArts games to build a new ‘GrimE’ 3D engine. The game also uses a keyboard or controller based control scheme to move the main character Manny about rather than the classic point and click mouse, meaning it can take a little while to get the hang of selecting items and examining objects.
Grim Fandango was first released for Windows PC in 1998. Installing this version can be tricky on modern computers, but a compatible installer can be found at: http://quickandeasysoftware.net/software/grim-fandango-setup
Grim Fandango was also recently given a remastered digital rerelease on PSN for Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita, as well as on Windows, Mac and Linux via services such as Steam and Good Old Games. It has also been released for mobile devices on iOS and Android.
Unfortunately, Grim Fandango was one of the very last LucasArts adventure games to be created (the only later release being Escape From Monkey Island in 2000). LucasArts would then move to focus more on their Star Wars franchise games, as well as other more action orientated titles.
Many ex-members of LucasArts joined a studio called Tell Tale games (founded in 2004), which continues to create classic adventure games. TellTale’s output has included entries in the Sam & Max and Monkey Island series, as well as lots of adventure games based on licenses such as Wallace & Gromit, Back To The Future, The Walking Dead, Homestar Runner, The Wolf Among Us, Borderlands and Minecraft.
Tim Schafer went on to found a studio called Double Fine Productions, which has been responsible for games such as Psychonauts, Brutal Legend and Broken Age. After LucasArts was purchased by Disney in 2012, Double Fine obtained the license to Grim Fandango and was responsible for it’s remastered release. They are also due to release a remastered version of Day of the Tentacle in 2015.
Grim Fandango unfortunately never recieved a sequel and only recieved an occasional nod or easter eggs in later games by LucasArts or other adventure game developer.