1. stern and admitting of no appeasement or compromise: grim determination
; grim necessity
2. of a sinister or ghastly character; repellent: a grim joke
1. a lively Spanish or Spanish-American dance in triple time, performed by a man and woman playing castanets.
Tim Schafer is a genius. We must begin with this, because the man deserves our adoration for games like Psychonauts and Full Throttle. Within his relatively short but remarkably impressive catalogue is one gem that no gamer can ever pass up.
In the same year as both Starcraft and Half-life, this title represented an old and outdated genre to many gamers. It was, as they say, in the outs. I dedicate this thread to the raw, compellingly emotional, epic tale that is Grim Fandango.
Main Characters and Story
So, who are you? You are Manuel Calavera, Grim Reaper. Manny, to his friends and superiors.
(Interesting note here, those of you who are fans of Ugly Betty might recognize Manny's voice. That's right, it's none other than Tony Plana, Betty's father on the show.)
Manny works for the DOD, Department of Death, in El Marrow as a sort of "travel agent" for the recently passed. They have to have some
way of getting to the other side, as El Marrow and the land of the dead are mere holding places. Why can't Manny pass on himself? We don't know, and neither does he. Sins for which he must atone, wrongs he must right, some karmic retribution, something is preventing him from taking the trip himself.
But Manny is restless. He only ever gives out the low-end packages, usually a walking stick and a dangerous four year trip through the land of the dead, while his co-worker Domino doles out the comfortable four minute trips on the Number Nine express train like candy. You see, your actions while you're alive are tallied up into a sort of karmic bank roll. Good deeds grant you access to the more "expensive" packages, while being evil or malevolent only allows you the aforementioned walking cane. Domino's clients, no matter how seedy or baleful, always seem to get that express ticket.
Along comes our heroine, Manny's partner in this macabre dance, Mercedes Colomar, or Meche.
Dead from an appearently serious case of chicken pox, Manny finds his way to this perfect angel before Domino can sweep her up and add another Number Nine ticket to his resume. But there's a problem, as Manny can't seem to obtain the ticket that she rightly deserves. Dissuaded, she sets off on her own through the petrified forest in an attempt to make her way through the land of the dead.
It is here that the action really begins, and your four years in the land of the dead start to pick up. Manny is disturbed by Meche's misfortune, and wishes to find out why she could not get her ticket. In his search, he uncovers some seedy things about Domino and his boss, Don Copal. There's a detestable scheme afoot, depriving deserving individuals like Meche their due. Manny is fired for his snooping, so he sets off to find Meche and, in doing so, becomes an integral part of one of the greatest and most harrowing adventures of your death.
At first only a replacement driver for Manny when he goes to pick Meche up, they become fast friends and business partners. A giant orange mechanic, Glottis is an imposing sight, but he's a fierce friend and loyal companion, even if he can be a bit dim at times.
Sal is the leader of a militant underground association working to uncover some of the black market dealings going on in the land of the dead. He aids both Manny and Meche several times during their adventure, and is an indespensable ally.
Every story has to have an antagonist, and this is ours. Hector is the ruthless, greedy mastermind behind the plot depriving poor souls like Meche of their rightful tickets. His scheme is deep and tangled, and it's Manny's job to unravel it.
So there you have it. For me, it's the greatest adventure game of all time. It essentially brought the end of its own genre, giving it a ceremonious and entertaining ending. Between the socialist bees and "sprouting," it's an excellent way to spend a few hours. I do suggest a single-sitting play through, because it's not terribly long, and you'd likely have a hard time stopping once you get started. I do hope this brought some of you down memory lane, as it's been far too long since the last time I played it. For those of you nascent to it, I can't implore you enough to find a copy and get to enjoying.