Grim Fandango: How To Get The Metal Detector ('98 Week)

Carla

Grim Fandango: How To Get The Metal Detector

Manny Calavera is an ordinary working stiff. He isn’t a king on a quest, a Chosen One, or a super-soldier lugging around tons of powerful weapons and slick gadgets. He’s a short, debt-ridden, unlucky travel agent who learned a little too much and made some powerful enemies. Now his only goal in life (or whatever) is to find and help the beautiful Mercedes Colomar, a beautiful woman with a good heart (or whatever). She spent her whole life helping others, and due to his incompetence, at the last moment her well-deserved reward is snatched away by a bunch of crooks. Maybe there’s no justice in this world, or in the next, but Manny will keep working, traveling, and racking his skull for as long as it takes to solve the many confounding, fiddly little obstacles that stand between him and Meche. He screwed up, and Meche paid the price, but there must be something in his bottomless inventory that can make things right.

He’ll need a coffee grinder. A demon’s broken heart. A balloon shaped like Robert Frost.

He’s gonna need a metal detector.

[If you haven’t played LucasArts’ breathtaking new adventure game, Grim Fandango, these hints give away the solution to the metal detector puzzle. Don’t worry, it’s not a major puzzle, but the big question is, what are you waiting for? Play it today!]

Why do I need a metal detector?

To detect metal. Because the world is full of useful junk, haven’t you noticed? To give to someone, which tricks them into doing something, which persuades someone into letting him into a place he needs to be, so that someday he can get to Meche. It’s supposed to be difficult. These puzzles are a delicate dance between the designer and the player, and the only consistent rule is that sometimes the designer has a wicked sense of humor. Expect to be frustrated in Grim Fandango, to go down blind alleys, to give up, take a walk, and come back to it later, to beg your smarter friend to play it with a fresh pair of eyes. You have all the time in the world to feel confused and stupid—even if it takes years, sooner or later you will figure it out. There is always a solution. Sometimes, in retrospect, it makes some crazy sense.

Membrillo, the coroner: We may have years, we may have hours, but sooner or later, we push up flowers.

Be like that, then. WHERE is the metal detector?

Carla has it. Carla is the security guard at the blimp port by the cat racetrack. Carla is really just an obstacle between you and an item, and in a lesser game, she would just be some officious security guard that Manny simply has to distract somehow. The beauty of Grim Fandango is that this simple puzzle is completely grounded in the world and characters. Carla is a cynical, flirty dame who falls for the wrong type of guy, deliberately, repeatedly. She’s got a crush on Manny and a grudge against his dippy coat-check girl. Of course, Manny only cares about finding Meche, and Carla knows it, but she cares enough to be jealous. All the extra security measures also tie in to an ongoing sub-plot of union organizers, revolutionaries, and the gangsters who run the town of Rubacava. There are stories within stories, and like any good mystery, the truth only comes out at the very end. In the meantime, just soak up the atmosphere and try to get the stuff you need.

Manny looks at the hand-held metal detector: It’s a metal detector.
Carla: Oh, so THAT’S why it never gets my hair dry!

What hair?

How do I get that sweet, sweet metal detector?

Manny: Let’s slip into the back room for a minute. You can tell me all about your job: the danger, the metal detectors ... .

In chatting with Carla, Manny makes it clear that he’s very interested in getting a closer look at her metal detector. However, she has to follow procedure. If he sets off the full body scanner, she’ll make him take out all of his inventory. Then she gets to hand-scan him, and if he still sets it off with empty pockets, she can take him into the back room for a strip search. The strip search is her favorite part of the job.

Manny carries a big metal scythe. It will set off the detector just fine. He needs to find a way to set off the second scan after he dumps out his pockets.

No inventory?

The solution to this and perhaps other problems can be found in a bottle of liquor. At the bar, Manny finds a bottle of “Gold Flake” liquor. This generic, afterlife Goldschläger is infused with little metal particles which will remain in his system for a couple minutes, until he burps. Simply take a swig before going through the detector, and Carla will have to take Manny into a more private area for a more personal search. Get ready to see two desperate souls let themselves go in the heat of passion, unconstrained by social taboos or skin!

This isn’t that kind of game, is it? Is it?

No, and that’s probably for the best. Manny only cares about finding Mercedes Colomar, and Carla—well, Carla has some issues. Things get pretty crazy in the back room, in a morbidly hilarious sequence so clever that it would be wrong to spoil it even a bit. The only hint needed here is that sooner or later, Manny needs to come clean, and just tell her what he wants.

Carla: Did you just come back here to ask to borrow my metal detector? What is it with you and this thing? I’m sick of it, Manny! Why is it all men are after the same thing—except you?

Grim Fandango is an adventure game, through and through. Manny lies, steals, and plays one character against another to get to his goal, which is always just out of reach until the end of the player’s long, tantalizing journey of logic and illogic. What it does better than any other adventure to date is fleshing out those cold intellectual contortions and filling a world with characters, vignettes, and themes which linger in the brain long after the story ends. I haven’t mentioned the funniest character, or the most emotional moment—I find myself holding back as much as possible so that anyone reading this has a chance to savor the story of Manny and Meche relatively unspoiled, except for a bit about a metal detector. I’ve loved games for a long time, but this is the one I’ve loved the most.

But about that metal detector ...

What about it?

I went through all that, and in the end, I still don’t get it.

That's life?

Carla searches Manny
Manny Calavera
Department of Death
Mercedes Colomar
The edge of the world

Comments

I confess to not having finished Grim Fandango. I still have it, I think my save file is still around. I'm somewhere after you get (?) the car. So it's technically still on my pile.

Go finish it. Right now. Excellent game.

It's on my list of games I replay every year.

Ha! This appeared just a few posts away from

"After the first 4 “OPT-OUT” calls, they just passed us all through the regular metal detector. No one got groped." http://bit.ly/9ON1Mp

In my twitter feed. Is this some kind of weird TSA political commentary in Grim Fandango form?

I have yet to play this, but I want to. Why oh why can it not be on Steam, or in some other digital format. Psychonauts hit Steam and I got to enjoy that magical Tim Schaeffer world. I want this too.

By far the best Adventure Game out there. The story, the characters, it's simply amazing what some people can create.

Also, in my list of games I replay EVERY year.

The "locking an open door" puzzle took me a frankly embarrassing amount of time to work out.

Yoreel wrote:

I have yet to play this, but I want to. Why oh why can it not be on Steam, or in some other digital format. Psychonauts hit Steam and I got to enjoy that magical Tim Schaeffer world. I want this too.

I am really curious why this and Full Throttle are not on Steam. They released The Dig on Steam, for chrissakes!

EDIT: Not that the Dig was bad at all. I still own the original CD. But it certainly wasn't the most popular of LucasArts' adventure games.

I never played Full Throttle. Always thought it looked cool though.

NathanialG wrote:

I never played Full Throttle. Always thought it looked cool though.

It was. Classic LA Adventure w/ a great post-apocalypse setting. Father Thrust was always my favorite.

I think one of the reasons its not on Steam is that the game requires a fan made work around to work on modern machines. A guy made a an installer since the original installer won't run on windows XP or windows 7. You also have to make a batch file to have the game only run on one processor. Even then it occasionally crashes.

Completely worth it! Just print out a walk through because some of those puzzles are mighty tricky.

Yep. Especially the timing ones....I hated the elevator/crane one....

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I confess to not having finished Grim Fandango. I still have it, I think my save file is still around. I'm somewhere after you get (?) the car. So it's technically still on my pile.

See, everything you say just makes me hate you a little more.

So...this thread seems to fit here. Most of the top games are pre-'98 anyway.

PandaEskimo wrote:

I think one of the reasons its not on Steam is that the game requires a fan made work around to work on modern machines. A guy made a an installer since the original installer won't run on windows XP or windows 7. You also have to make a batch file to have the game only run on one processor. Even then it occasionally crashes.

Completely worth it! Just print out a walk through because some of those puzzles are mighty tricky.

So it should be on GOG instead?

I think GoG would put in the time required to make it right, but unfortunately it needs a bit more than just a wrapper. There's at least one puzzle in that game (involving a large chain and a conveyor belt) that involved animation that is rather stupidly tied to CPU clock speed. On a modern machine you have absolutely no hope of ever completing it, because the conveyor moves far too fast. You have to use CPUkiller or something similar to slow all the way down to around 400MHz CPU speed. So there's some deeper coding issues there.

Minarchist wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

I confess to not having finished Grim Fandango. I still have it, I think my save file is still around. I'm somewhere after you get (?) the car. So it's technically still on my pile.

See, everything you say just makes me hate you a little more.

So...this thread seems to fit here. Most of the top games are pre-'98 anyway. :)

I was right, I still have 16 save files. Looks like I was playing it in 2004.

Full Throttle, as an aside, runs wonderfully in DOSBox. It's a pretty short game, but the atmosphere is nearly unparalleled in adventure gaming. I think only Grim Fandango and The Longest Journey were better.

PM me if you need a config file. It's pretty easy to get going.

Another one to dust off and replay. I loved the art direction, and noir sensibilities in the game; Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and the Big Sleep are some of my favorite movies.

Minarchist wrote:

I think GoG would put in the time required to make it right, but unfortunately it needs a bit more than just a wrapper. There's at least one puzzle in that game (involving a large chain and a conveyor belt) that involved animation that is rather stupidly tied to CPU clock speed. On a modern machine you have absolutely no hope of ever completing it, because the conveyor moves far too fast. You have to use CPUkiller or something similar to slow all the way down to around 400MHz CPU speed. So there's some deeper coding issues there.

I think this is a problem with having multiple processors. I played on a winXP machine with two processors and on my new win7 machine with 4 processors and never had these issues, but I ran the game with only one processor enabled.

I got as far as knocking down the petrified tree with a wheelbarrow timing puzzle. Beautiful game, lot of charm but sh*t I hate adventure games.

Wait, no in 1998 character posts? Let me try!

[font=Times New Roman]If this brilliant game doesn't sell millions, PC gaming is truly dead![/font]

/in-character

I tried this game, loved the atmosphere and dialogue, but I'm a terrible adventure player. I don't even like the genre I should restart with a walkthrough in hand, if only to absorb the story and characters.

If I ever have the data cap to spare I will watch a Youtube play through.

I was working at Computer Games magazine when this came out. We got the usual schwag and with my copy came the soundtrack (which I still have and is totally freaking awesome!) and a Manny skeleton on one of those little pedastals where you press a button and the character collapses then release the button and it pops back up. Sadly, I gave my collapsable Manny to a co-worker in the art department as they never got the cool stuff.

Man, I sure wish I still had my little Manny. But this is consistently in my top 10 games of all time...

PandaEskimo wrote:

I think one of the reasons its not on Steam is that the game requires a fan made work around to work on modern machines. A guy made a an installer since the original installer won't run on windows XP or windows 7. You also have to make a batch file to have the game only run on one processor. Even then it occasionally crashes.

Completely worth it! Just print out a walk through because some of those puzzles are mighty tricky.

That's interesting, it worked fine on my old WinXP x64 machine in Win95 Compatibility mode, but then I wasn't running a multi-thread processor at the time. I haven't tried it on my current Win7 rig.

It's true, it won't run on any multi-core CPU without the workaround. You can just disable the other cores, but this game really needs the GOG treatment. Imagine if they added controller support, it would make the whole control scheme much more intuitive. Well, as intuitive as Resident Evil, anyway.

System Shock 2 also hates multi-core.

Oh, and I want to give a shout-out to Pamela Adlon, who plays Carla - pretty recognizable in a few LA adventures as she's the voice of Bobby Hill. Great in everything she does, but whenever she works with Louis C.K., it's comedy gold.

(Previous statement comes from the future via a wormhole. System Shock TWO? The "Shock" storyline wraps up just fine. No need for any half-assed pseudo-sequels.)

Nyles wrote:

Oh, and I want to give a shout-out to Pamela Adlon, who plays Carla - pretty recognizable in a few LA adventures as she's the voice of Bobby Hill. Great in everything she does, but whenever she works with Louis C.K., it's comedy gold.

And she's awfully purdy

Coolbeans wrote:

I was working at Computer Games magazine at the time

As if this love letter to one of my favorite games of all time wasn't enough to get me melancholy... Man, I miss CGM.

Nyles wrote:

Oh, and I want to give a shout-out to Pamela Adlon, who plays Carla - pretty recognizable in a few LA adventures as she's the voice of Bobby Hill. Great in everything she does, but whenever she works with Louis C.K., it's comedy gold.

Didn't realize that. She's awesome, not to mention hot. Only cast member I knew was Manny (Tony Plana), who was Jefe in The Three Amigos, and the only reason I watched the first episode of Ugly Betty.

Also, now that I know she's Bobby Hill, Californication is ruined for me.

Nyles wrote:

It's true, it won't run on any multi-core CPU without the workaround. You can just disable the other cores, but this game really needs the GOG treatment. Imagine if they added controller support, it would make the whole control scheme much more intuitive. Well, as intuitive as Resident Evil, anyway. :)

You can user X-padder if I recall and then map all the keyboard buttons to the xbox controller. I pretty sure this is what I did since there isn't any clicking in the game, just going up to things and interacting.

dejanzie wrote:

Wait, no in 1998 character posts? Let me try!

[font=Times New Roman]If this brilliant game doesn't sell millions, PC gaming is truly dead![/font]

/in-character

I tried this game, loved the atmosphere and dialogue, but I'm a terrible adventure player. I don't even like the genre I should restart with a walkthrough in hand, if only to absorb the story and characters.

I hear you about being terrible at adventure games, so I played it with a walkthrough years ago and loved every minute of it. I also lost count of the number of times I saw the solution to a puzzle and thought "I'd never figure that out on my own."

For those not interested in dealing with the technical hassle of installing a game that's a decade and a half old but want to enjoy the story, there's a four-part downloadable movie version of the game right here:

http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/GrimTh...

P.S. - And a tip of the hat to whoever modified the comment thread date stamps to be in 1998. (:
P.P.S. - And the heck with getting the metal detector, how about an explanation of how you get the numbers to create the counterfeit cat races ticket using the ticket creator from Chowchilla Charlie?