Editor’s Note: This game was reviewed previously. This review is more in-depth and complete.
The first point-and-click adventure game I played is a children’s game called Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. What I most enjoyed is that you could click any number of things in the game world and it would elicit a different response. Additionally, there were games within the game. You could play ice hockey, ride the white-water rapids, or give Putt-Putt, who is a car, a new coat of paint. Grim Fandango Remastered is an adventure game geared more for adults.
As such, there are fewer “I wonder what clicking this would do” moments, and the game focuses on story most of all. It makes you realize the term “adventure game” can mean many things. As for the story, you are literally the Grim Reaper, who visits the recently deceased in the land of the living, brings them to the land of the dead, and offers them travel packages. The Grim Reaper has a name, Manny Calavera, and the travel packages are a part of Manny’s office job, in a very tall skyscraper.
Manny, however, has been struggling to make a good sale for a while, and is let go from his job by Don Copal, who is just as much a skeleton as Manny. Almost every character is a skeleton, and as a side note it’s often hard to tell them apart. Before being let go, Manny gets a great customer, a woman named Meche, who was so good natured in the Land of the Living, that she gets a wonderful travel package on the Land of the Dead’s Number Nine train. After being fired, you set out to give Meche, who leaves your office after a computer glitch interrupts business, the travel package she deserves.
This is all in the early minutes of gameplay, but I’d hate to spoil any more of the story. The graphics are pre-rendered, not unlike so many PlayStation games of the era. There are a few FMV sequences (full-motion video), but the visual fidelity isn’t a huge improvement over the rest of the game. It appears in the remaster, the developers had access to the higher resolution pre-rendered images, which look better in HD, but it’s not as big a leap as other remastered games.
The best reason to get the remaster is the addition of developer commentary. If you’ve ever owned The Simpsons’ DVD’s, you probably know what to expect. The developers sitting in a room together, remembering the good old days at LucasArts. There are fond memories of developer’s who’ve moved on to different things, as well as talking about who thought up which jokes.
Yes, Grim Fandango Remastered has a lot of comedy. The biggest threat to the Land of the Dead is life, and the game pokes fun at that with a gun that shoots flowers. In the word’s of the man working at the morgue “We may have years, we may have hours, but sooner or later, we push up flowers.” Perhaps Tim Schaefer has always had a fascination with the holidays that celebrate the dead, because as of 2010 and 2014, there are two games in the Costume Quest series, which celebrates Halloween.
As a console gamer in the ‘90’s, it’s nice to have chances to go back in history and play classics for the PC. Puzzle-solving often requires outside-the-box thinking, but the story and commentary make this a great package.
Excellent review, and I love the tie-in to Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. I love a good sense of humor, and this game clearly has it. Great poem about pushing up flowers!