Written by  :  Ray Soderlund (3609)
Written on  :  Apr 04, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Gabriel Knight is proof that computer games can be an artform.

The Good

Computer games rarely have an incredible story behind them. Most ignore the concept completely. Others try their best to catch you with some ideas and some witty dialogue. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a well crafted tale from start to finish. The concept is fairly original, the characters engaging, their dialogue well written, the pacing well done, and the intricacies of the plot woven beautifully. Every character seems human and you'd be hard pressed to find one three dimensional (personality wise) character in a game, much less the five or so well-rounded main characters in GK. The legendary aspects, the voodoo involvement, the mystery and suspense all are done just right.

The graphics, though of low resolution, are the epitome of Sierra's 2-D painted graphics. They capture the scenes and people exceptionally and will make you question the 'benefits' of full 3-D graphics. The cutscenes unfold in very high-caliber graphic novel formats and carry the story wonderfully.

On the CD-Version, the voice acting was all done well. As GK came out in the early days of CD 'Talkie' games, it's remarkable that the voice-overs are done so professionally. Some people disliked Tim Curry as Gabriel, but I felt the over-done 'N'awlens' accent was perfect for Gabriel, who was an over-the-top character with a roguish heart. Mark Hamill, as usual, does wonderful voice-acting as Gabriel's friend, Det.Mosely and Michael Dorn puts in a good performance as the threatening Doctor John. The rest of the actors all put in a good job as well.

The Bad

In its original form, the game was buggy, to the point where it could not be completed. Fixed in patches, it was still an annoyance that you would have to start all over again. Fortunately, this won't be an issue for someone who digs up a copy of the game.

The pacing of the game itself wasn't as good as the pacing of the story. Days passed only when you completed all the mandatory requirements. While usually this is better than having a game clock that forces things along even if you're not resolving anything, you would often find yourself exhausting every possible location before finding that one remaining obscure clue. Or, you would be lucky and uncover everything you needed to move on and have the day move quickly with little chance to see any of the voluntary side-bits.

Pet-peeve: The CD version box. While cool looking and unique in shape, it looked very warped and out of place on the shelf...well, maybe that was the whole point.

The Bottom Line

An incredibly well-crafted adventure game with a superb story, interesting characters, and a fresh environment. Fans of classic adventure games, lovers of good stories, or those interested in voodoo should take a look.