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|15 AUG 2005 at 9:56pm|
|Deleted User||Sierra is a well-known name among adventure gamers, and for good reason. Some of the most entertaining, well-designed and thus greatest adventures of all times came from the house of Roberta and Ken Williams. However, they were naturally not the only ones capable of producing great games. For instance, from Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe came the legendarily hilarious Space Quest series; and Al Lowe's Leisure Suit Larry series have likewise captured the heart of many an adventure gamer. However, one series of games stands head and shoulders above all others in the hall of fame that is Sierra's repertoir. That, as you might already have guessed, is the Gabriel Knight series. Of course, that is only this humble writer's opinion, but allow me to enlighten you on the how and why of it all regarding the first game in this series, disturbingly named Sins of the Fathers.|
Now, for all of you out there who haven't played the game yet, you might ask yourself: who is Gabriel Knight? Well, Gabe's just this guy, you know? Or, to put it into greater detail, a writer. And not a particularly succesful one, either. Gabe owns an equally unsuccesful bookstore in the French Quarter of New Orleans, together with his female associate Grace, whom he is a bit unpleasant towards most of the time (to put it mildly). As the game begins, Gabriel is working on his latest attempt at a novel, the source material of which is none other than a series of gruesome serial killings that have been going on recently in the area, nicknamed "The Voodoo Murders" after the ritualistic way in which the victims are robbed of their lives, as well as the odd symbols they leave behind at the scene. And wouldn't you know it? Gabriel, being the curious and adventerous person he is, decides to do some first-hand research for his book - questioning locals, learning all he can on Voodoo, investigating crime scenes - and slowly but surely gets closer and closer to the truth, not only regarding who's involved in the whole business, and why, but also his own part in it all.
As has been made apparant already, the story in the game is top notch, and spoiling it would simply be a crime against humanity. Writer Jane Jensen and the team did extensive research on the mystical business that is Voodoo, and it shows. Anyone who's expecting the usual funny business with little dolls and pins is surely in for a surprise. Through lectures, books, and even a visit to a small voodoo-themed museum, Gabriel (and the player as well) learns just about all there can be learned about voodoo, and most of it sounds like it just might actually be historically accurate (not to mention very interesting) as well. Who says games can't be educational AND entertaining at the same time?
Now, a word on characters: there's plenty of em in the game, and thus there's a lot of talking to be done as well. GK's interface (which we'll get to in greater detail later) has two "talk" icons: one for small talk (so to speak) and one for detailed conversations (or "interrogations", during which questions can be asked regarding various subjects that Gabe learns about during the course of the game. Interrogations are saved on tape, thanks to Gabe's pocket tape recorder, for later relistening of any info; a useful feature for those somewhat forgetful people out there
Whereas Gabe has plenty to ask the various people he meets, they likewise have a LOT to tell him. The voice acting in the CD-Rom version is absolutely top notch and brings the characters brilliantly to life; from Michael "Commander Worf" Dorn as the mysterious and intimidating Dr. John to Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill as the cussing and slightly cynical Detective Mosely, every character is memorable in his/her own way; Tim Curry's sarcastic Gabriel most of all. But naturally, it wouldn't be so without the excellent dialogue.
(continued in next post)
|15 AUG 2005 at 9:56pm|
|Deleted User||Gabe's adventure is split into ten days. Every day starts with a poem that gives some cryptic foreshadowing on what will happen, and sometimes on what to do; it's vital to listen carefully! Now, rejoice when I say there are absolutely NO dead ends in the game. Every day has a set series of events and tasks that must be completed. When the required tasks for the day have been completed, Gabriel will automatically return home to catch a few winks. That way, no single event can be neglected as not to miss anything important, and no inventory objects will be left lingering around only to be found missing at a critical time. Original and effective design here.|
Puzzles, for the most part, are perfectly logical, though not always as obvious. Originality, once again, is found everywhere here. Very memorable and fun to solve are the puzzles involving deciphering drum codes and Voodoo messages. Also memorable are making use of an annoying mime in the park to distract a police officer, or finding the location of a hidden meeting of the Voodoo cult. Solving the puzzles mostly depends on paying close attention to the information given to Gabriel by various people, as well as a bit of close investigation.
The game's interface is your usual Sierra fare, plus a few extras. Movin the cursor to the top of the screen reveals the standard issue icon bar, with the usual commands like walking and looking; however, speaking and using have been split into several commands; the latter being split into opening, moving, operating and picking up. The inventory window also has seperate commands to examine, open or read items. The button for Gabriel's tape recorder shows the current collection of recorded conversations; clicking on one shows the topics discussed with that person for easy reference, clicking on which will repeat the discussion on that subject. Furthermore, the options screen now finally has the option to activate both speech AND text at the same time, whereas earlier Sierra titles on allowed one of the two, thereby allowing the player to catch all the information without missing out on the excellent voice acting .
It is worth mentioning, however obvious it may seem, that Gabriel's not-so-everyday happenings are not entirely without danger. Though lethal situations are not as frequent as in other Sierra games this does help raise the level of suspense as to when Gabriel will find himself in a pinch next. And suspense is another thing this game excels at, be it the fantastic plot development, the mysterious happenings every now and then, or Gabriel disturbing nightmares. However, Gabriel's presence is accompanied by a constant light-heartedness to it all, with his sarcastic comments and witty retorts, not to mention his endeavours regarding the opposite sex, which is another big plot point (as you will find out ).
Now, onto the technical details. Graphically, the game is of course somewhat dated, being an early 90's production and all. The CD-Rom version includes high-resolution SVGA closeups of Gabriel and the various other characters during interrogations, as well as certain objects during the rest of the game. However, this does stand out a lot from the low resolution backgrounds; a bit of sloppy work here. Nonetheless, the graphics, though low in resolution, have plenty of detail. Soundwise, the game is a veritable feast. Robert Holmes' fantastic score will stick with you for a long time to come; from start to finish, the music excellently adds to the atmosphere and environments. The aforementioned superb voice acting is no small feat either. Sound effects in the CD-Rom version are of a somewhat sporadic variety, but do their thing.
Are you still reading this? Well, either you're a reader with a more than averagely long attention span, or you're still not entirely convinced if this game is worth your time. Well then, allow me to quote a character from a series of books which I have come to worship and adore over the last few months, when I say that this game "is the bees knees", it is "the wasp's nipples"; this game is, I would go so far as to say, "the entire set of erogenous zones on every major flying insect of the Western world." In other words: absolutely not to be missed by anyone who even remotely loves adventure games. Truly, this game is worth your free time more than any other.
|17 AUG 2005 at 10:55am|
Frank BPrivate Detective
Posts : 449
Joined: 10 JAN 2005
Status : Online
|Good review. Personally I didn't think it was such a great game, and I actually never finished it (stopped at day . It has a very small world to explore, and the way you had to go around asking every person about every new topic on your list was so boring. It was not an adventure, but a trial and error talking to lots of people until you found the right one.|
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|4 JUL 2006 at 5:43am|
Posts : 2503
Joined: 5 MAR 2003
Status : Offline
|I played it after Gk2 The Beast Within and at the time I thought FMV was sso cool I wasn't sure I would like it. After I played it I found the story so good and led me right into Gk2 that I was hooked on the GK series from that point on. Thee puzzles were very good and the actiion scenes were not that hard and everything was just the way I like it.|
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