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The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (Windows)

90
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37809)
Written on  :  Oct 22, 2003
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

Excellent, but what does Richard Wagner and King Ludwig II have to do with werewolves?

The Good

The Beast Within is the sequel to Gabriel Knight. Game No. 1 involves an author named Gabriel going on a hunt for the voodoo murderers and researches about Voodoo along the way. Two years have passed and Gabriel’s on a new case where innocent people are eaten alive by werewolves. And helping him solve the case is his old research assistant, Grace Nakimura.

The game is divided into six chapters, and to complete them, you have to play both characters (ie: Gabriel in the odd chapters and Grace in the even chapters). The exception to this is in the last chapter, where you have to play both at the same time. Gabriel and Grace have different tasks and are miles away from each other. Gabriel, for instance, is in inner Munich investigating crime scenes, and bothering the police sergeant for information relating to the case, whereas Grace is in Rittersburg near the Ritter family castle and researches about King Ludwig II and Richard Wagner. Also, in Chapter 6, Grace has to organize the opera by making sure that everything is correct. In each chapter, Gabriel or Grace must have time to write to one another.

The game has its funny moments. In Chapter 1, we see Gabriel muddling up his conversation with Dr. Klingmann on tape to lure his zoo boy to take him to see some wolves. In Chapter 3, we see him fooling Xavier into thinking that there is someone knocking on the door so Gabriel can grab his keys, and tape record the conversation between Von Zell and Klingmann, while his tape recorder is inside a magazine. In Chapter 2, Grace starts to hate Gerde for not letting her help Gabriel on the case.

GK2 has an intelligent cursor. When the cursor is moved over something on screen, it will change into a small dagger, meaning that you can interact with it. Click the dagger over a person and you’ll talk to that person and can click on the types of conversations that you talk about. Click on a door and your character opens or closes it. Click on an object to pick it up. It’s very intelligent. At the bottom of the screen, you have access to your inventory, the tape recorder, and the control panel where you can save, load, or quit your game, or also change the detail and volume level. The control panel can be accessed by clicking on the box whose picture is identical to that of the box cover. Other than the dagger, you have exit signs will take Gabriel or Grace to the direction that they are facing if the cursor goes off the screen.

Jane Jensen did an excellent job with this game by having a suburb cast. In The Beast Within, you will see that the main character is not Tim Curry, but is played by Dean Erickson, a person that tries to play cool throughout the game. Joanne Takahashi takes over Leah Remini’s role of Grace. Where all the actors are incorporated in the game digitally, the werewolves aren’t. They were created using a 3D program and then transferred into the game.

The game uses FMV to display movies. You’ll see movies all the time when Gabriel or Grace takes something, put their coat on, open or close doors, get into their cars, etc., but these movies play a big role when you reach the beginning or end of each chapter. The game comes on 6 CDS (1 CD = 1 Chapter).

A sensational thing I like about the game is when you reach the end of Chapter 6, you say hello to “WolfCam” where you see what the normal wolf would see. When you leave a room, you will see how the wolf goes entering that room. You can leave rooms by clicking on your exit signs, close doors by pulling its latch with your mouth, plus use “SmellVision” to sniff out your opponent. With SmellVision,.the game presents you with a map of the layout of each room, and you and your opponent. The music throughout the game is quite dramatic.

The Bad

Errr, Ms. Jensen? Can I please ask you a couple of questions? First, what do King Ludwig II, Richard Wagner, and his lost opera have to do with werewolves. I know that they are associated with werewolves in some way, but they don’t play a major role with Gabe’s werewolf investigation, and even Gabe doesn’t believe it. Although I have to admit, finding out about Ludwig’s troubled past was interesting. Secondly, why did Mr. & Mrs. Smith know that Gabe is in trouble by reading a bunch of useless tarot cards when we all know that they don’t really predict someone’s future at all?

You can’t play the movies outside the game, because they are stored as VMD files and Windows Media Player, QuickTime, or RealPlayer does not support VMD files. However, there is an extra icon that looks like a movie reel. Clicking that and you can view the different opening and ending movies for each chapter, but only if you already viewed it while you play the game. Note that that you can’t choose to watch the opera and the chapter six ending movie, as you are not allowed to save your game either through WolfCam or the finale, and the game exits to DOS or Windows when the end credits are finished displaying. So make sure your game is saved before completing that one task that takes you straight to the opera. Also note that you can’t access the movies during WolfCam.

The quality of the FMV is not that great. In some movies, when a person speaks, the audio becomes static.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a GK fan, than you’ll like this one. This game is excellent. Too bad it has a few problems in it. ***½