Pages: 1 2 3
Review by: Chris Harding
Published: December 11, 1999
You know you’re getting old when you start making references to things you remember like they were yesterday, and yet really took place over ten years ago. Most long time computer gamers can trace their heritage back to the days of text adventures like Wasteland, Witness and the incorrigible Zork. For quite some time the virtual adventure was the most prolific genre in computer entertainment. As technology progressed and graphics were introduced, the pattern continued, with long-running series such as The Legend of Kyrandia and the supreme ruler, King’s Quest, dominating charts like no other type of game. True to their humble beginnings, Sierra has never lost sight of their roots. But rather, they have adapted their philosophy and tailored their adventures to a different audience. What once primarily appealed to the lighter side of gaming now seems darker, a little edgier and a whole lot more serious. Titles such as Myst, The 7th Guest and Phantasmagoria have proven that there is as much room for drama as there is humor. No string of titles has captured this better than Gabriel Knight. The latest installment, Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned dares to travel where none have before–into the lion’s heart.
Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned tackles one of the most fundamental and well-established belief systems in the world–the religion of Christianity. The Christian-right is sure to have a hay day with the game’s proposition that Jesus Christ propagated while here on earth and that his sacred bloodline lives. It’s provocative and extremely controversial, but Jane Jensen, the famous storyteller behind the series, handles the subject matter with class. It’s a testament of Jensen’s writing ability, and it is that ability that helps our adolescent industry grow and become more mature. Gabriel Knight 3 deals with adult subject matters, includes sexual references and has repeated swearing, especially toward the end. Material like this is sensitive and its use can burden a title if the developers aren’t careful. In Gabriel Knight 3, though, the writing is strong enough that these elements actually fit in nicely with the story.
To understand what the third installment is all about, a few references to its forefathers are necessary. Gabriel Knight was born in 1960, orphaned early on, and raised by his paternal grandmother. The first installment, dubbed Sins of the Fathers, was a 2D graphical adventure detailing the emergence of Gabriel as the Schattenjager, or Shadow Hunter. It’s a role he inherited from his great uncle, Wolfgang. Gabriel’s first case took place in his home town of New Orleans. A tale of ancient voodoo magic, it was regarded by many at the time as one of the best titles in its category. The 1996 sequel, The Beast Within, took advantage of That period’s most overused feature–full motion video or FMV. Many would argue that it was not how they used FMV that spawned the continuing success of the product, but the other production values, not the least of which was returning author Jensen’s marvelous handiwork, that catapulted the series toward its second round of awards. The Beast Within took us to Germany and Schloss Ritter, Knight’s ancestral castle. Its story explored the intricate history between a mysterious character known as the Black Wolf and the mad king of Bavaria, Ludwig II. The discovery of one of Wagner’s lost operas led our New Orleans–pronounced ”Nawlans”–Schattenjager into a very disturbing encounter with werewolves and forced him to face his own lycanthropy.
Gabriel Knight 3 begins with the intrepid Schattenjager accepting an invitation to Paris from Prince James of Albany. Prince James is the heir to the Scottish throne, and despite having many reservations, Gabriel decides to accept the invitation. Staying at James’ Estate, Gabriel and his assistant Grace are hired to investigate a disease plaguing the Prince’s family. An anemia resembling vampirism has weakened the Prince’s family, and its cause is unknown. Asked to protect Prince James’ infant son Charles, Gabriel and Grace’s first night of guard duty is met with an unknown visitor that kidnaps the baby. Gabriel chases the intruder and is eventually lead to a train. Just as Gabriel is onto something, he is knocked out. Upon waking he finds himself in a small hotel in the rural French countryside.
Pages: 1 2 3