Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is the first installment in Sierra Online's popular series of supernatural adventures collectively known as the Gabriel Knight Mysteries. Set against a backdrop of several bizarre ritual murders in the city of New Orleans, Sins of the Fathers is one of the most rich and engrossing graphic adventures to ever hit the shelves.
You play Gabriel Knight, a struggling writer researching the local voodoo culture for an as-yet-unwritten novel. The game opens as Gabriel awakens from another night of disturbing dreams, all of which bear a frightening similarity to the voodoo-style killings filling the morning newspaper. It's not long before Gabriel is pulled into the investigation.
Desperate for answers, he only stumbles upon more questions when he discovers that he is the last in an ancient line of shattenjaegers, or Shadow Hunters -- those destined to fight a never-ending battle against the supernatural forces of evil. Strange stuff but only the beginning of this extraordinarily well crafted story. As the web of intrigue grows deeper and deeper, you will find yourself wondering who to trust and who to fear. The mystery only grows in intensity with each passing chapter.
Sins of the Fathers spans the course of several days of action, with night falling when you have completed certain requisite actions and learned enough information to advance the story. If this sounds too linear, don't worry. Within each day is a good deal of flexibility but like any good story, some things simply must happen before others. The daily breaks are nice for two other reasons as well. First, they advance the plot as Gabriel's dreams grow stranger and more disturbing with each successive night; and second, they provide a nice sense of accomplishment from one phase of the game to the next.
You control Gabriel with the mouse driven point-and-click interface standard in most graphic adventures. It's easy to manipulate objects, speak with other characters and move from place to place. While the icon-based system has been improved upon in later games, it's certainly not a drawback here. It won't distract you from solving any of the game's puzzles, nor will it make them any easier by allowing you to try endless combinations of objects until something happens. In Gabriel Knight, you truly need to think things through before the solution becomes apparent.
Although the graphics are throwbacks to the time just before today's super realistic true color technology became the industry standard, chances are you'll find yourself impressed with the backgrounds nonetheless. The visuals capture the feel of New Orleans (and later some other surprising locations) with amazing detail. And, the moody settings provide the perfect locations for the mystery to really come to life.
The characters in the game represent another enjoyable aspect of the game. Unlike many other video game heroes, Gabriel is an eminently likable guy with an equally interesting supporting cast. Of particular note is Grace Nakimura, a nicely drawn sidekick who is an effective foil to Gabriel's laid-back, anything-goes attitude. While the voice acting of some characters (including the narrator) can grow irritating at times, it's only a minor drawback from an otherwise excellent game.
It's hard to imagine a series starting off with a more successful debut than Sins of the Fathers. Everything about the game is first class and even several years after its initial release, the story and characters endure. While you can't go wrong with any of the sequels, you should start at the beginning and really enjoy the story from day one.
Graphics: Top-notch at the time of its release, and still serviceable years later.
Sound: Decent sound effects and music but some of the character voices are weak.
Enjoyment: One of the best adventure games of all time. 'Nuff said.
Replay Value: Fun to go back to and see what you missed the first time around.
Gabriel Knight is a wise-cracking bookstore owner and would-be author. He is the last in a long line of Shadow Hunters, those fated to fight supernatural forces of evil. Tormented by terrifying nightmares, he must spend every waking moment scouring the side streets and back alleys of New Orleans for the key to his dark past. One day, a blood-chilling murder shocks the inhabitants of the city. The police detective assigned to investigate the crime is Gabriel's friend. In the beginning Gabriel collects evidence in hope of using the material for his new novel; but soon he finds himself personally involved in the investigation, and plunges deeper into the world of secret societies and murderous cults.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a third-person puzzle-solving adventure game. Created by Jane Jensen, the game differs from Sierra's Quest games (e.g. Space Quest) by having a realistic setting and focusing (despite its supernatural elements and humor) on mature themes and detective work. In this way it is more similar to the company's earlier Laura Bow games.
The game's icon-based interface is the same as in Sierra's previous titles, with verb commands that allow interaction with the game world and its inhabitants. Though the game still has plenty of inventory-based puzzles characteristic for classic adventure, its gameplay is heavily inclined towards dialogue. Typically, Gabriel will have to interrogate other characters, choosing conversation topics and thus gradually finding clues and advancing towards the mystery's solution.
The game's locations are done in hand-painted style. The CD version of the game adds full voice-overs to the dialogues, as well as narrator's voice to text descriptions.
People who downloaded Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers have also downloaded:
Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within, Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, Phantasmagoria, Discworld, Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Discworld Noir, Full Throttle, Day Of The Tentacle
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