Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers


Genre:   Adventure

Developer - Producer:   Sierra

Released:   1993

PC Requirements:   386 or better, 4MB RAM, Hard disk, VGA, Mouse, MS-DOS 5.0 or above. Windows requirements: 386, Win 3.1, VGA 640x480x256.

Walkthrough   Walkthrough




by lasanidine

The first game in the Gabriel Knight series was released in1993. The fact that it still entertains gamers bears out the truth of what adventure games are saying all the time, that a good story makes a good game. The story of this and the subsequent G. K. games comes from the pen of a very talented writer, Jane Jensen. Time and technical innovation does not diminish the game’s charm and it is as playable today as it was when it won the 1994 Adventure Game of the Year prize from Computer Game Review.

The Story

A talented, but somewhat laid back, bookstore owner and would be novelist is our hero. He is not doing so well lately as he is having trouble sleeping. He is haunted by nightmares, which are getting more and more disturbing when he starts doing research for his book on the New Orleans voodoo murders. He is too smart not to realize that somehow there is a connection between his family, his nightmares and the murders. He sets out on his mission to find out what the connection is - to the dismay of the culprit(s).

As the plot twists and turns, it takes the player through many a famous and interesting part of New Orleans. The St Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square and the St Louis Cemetery #1 are all integral parts of the game. Gabriel discovers that he is the last of a line of Schattenjagers who are “Shadow-Hunters” and it is his destiny to fight evil. His quest takes him first to Germany where his initiation ceremony takes place and than to Africa where he must fight the final battle of the game. This is an adult story full of dark moments, suspense, superstition, some violence and occasional swearing, a lot of information about voodoo, and some historical facts.

The Characters

Gabriel is an easy going “skirt chaser” who during this game will have to face an ancient family curse and fight the dark forces he encounters, for the saving of his very soul. His assistant on this and the following adventures is the feisty and sarcastic Grace Nakimura who is a relentless digger for facts and sometimes comes to the rescue at the eleventh hour. She and Gabriel have certain chemistry. While Grace thinks that he is a lothario, she cannot help being drawn to him, however hard she fights it. It is also apparent that Gabriel not only likes Grace, but also has a great respect for her and would like to be more than a friend. Gabriel’s pal the paunchy, balding detective Mosely is a notable addition to the action. These characters and others come alive during the game and stay in the player’s mind long after the game is finished.

The Music and Voices

The dark foreboding and suspense is aptly underlined by the music that turns into unforgettable melodies in places. The background sound throbs with your heartbeat. Well-known actors such as Tim Curry (in the leading role), Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Linda Gray do the voices of the characters. The artistry of the above people, make the game characters sound like real people and this is an important addition because the game is full of dialogue.

The Gameplay

Gabriel Knight 1 is a pure point and click adventure game. An icon bar that is self-explanatory aids the navigation. The icon cursor allows choice of action and there is a small inventory. As a very nice touch it has a recorder to replay conversations. The icon bar is situated on the top of the screen, where it is hidden. A sweep of the cursor will activate it and it is possible to lock it in place as an option. The gamer gets point rewards for accomplishments.

The graphics are of course dated. Nothing changes faster in the game industry than game engines. It is true that the graphics cannot be called “eye candy” and the game engine seems clumsy compared to what we are used to now. However, the originality of the story and the fact that this game is the first in a series of Gabriel Knight games makes it an enduring adventure game worthy of note. This game without a doubt is a must for all true adventure gamers.

The Puzzles

Besides the complex story there are some interesting puzzles, a few of which are quite hard. Yet if you forget to do something you are never locked into a dead end, as you can go back and try again. It is possible to die at a few places. There are also some timed sequences, but this is purely a brain game.

Technical Considerations

This game was one of the first Sierra games to support 256-color display and programmed for 386+ -computers. The graphics were designed for VGA display on the original disks, the CD-ROM game can be played in VESA mode but this does not enhance the graphics, it only makes the character portraits better looking. The game was made for both PC and Mac, and it is possible to play it under DOS or in Windows where it is more stable. Instead of talking about the minimum requirements that are hardly necessary, let me tell you about my experiences. I played it both ways. The game was more stable in Win 98 and the sound was better. It is also possible to play this game on XP/Home with the aid of a DosBox. Be warned that much CPU power is needed to run it in DosBox. Playing the game on XP does not improve the graphic display and the sound is choppy at best.

In spite of the above limitations, I found the game not only playable but also very interesting. The unique and suspenseful story is a good introduction to the rest of the Gabriel Knight games.

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