Written by  :  Andy Roark (274)
Written on  :  Nov 29, 1999
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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"I didn't sleep for four days playing this game....."

The Good

I have been a Sierra adventure game fan for 15 years, since the release of the original Kings Quest. I have purchased and played every game they have put out. In recent years I had moved out to other companies due to Sierra's (uh-hum) lack of quality. But with the third release in the GK series Sierra has reclaimed the crown (or at least showed that it still remembers how to put out a good game when it wants too).

Gabriel Knight 3 is a revolution for adventure games. While modern machines have far surpassed the traditional adventure game layout the genre has stagnated, urging many to claim that the end was finally near for adventure games (I think this argument started about the time that Kings Quest 2 came out). The game has taken what was best about adventure games, added in the brilliant writing of series creator Jane Jensen, and mixed with a new graphics engine that is close to the one used in Kings Quest 8 but moved beyong just killing everything that moved.

The world is fully 3D and the control of the game is based on a camera system. While I have seen this approach fail miserably in other games Gabriel Knight finally uses it not only well but exceptionally. The puzzles reqire intelligent use of the camera and rethinking of the traditional adventure game approach (pick up everything that is sharper in the background, indicating that it is important). The interface is quick to learn and once learned is very easy to navigate and use.

The graphics are also wonderful. Scaled to adjust to your machine automatically upon startup, the game graphics played beautifully on my Pentium 233 with a voodoo 2 card. On a higher end machine they are even more stunning (Pentium 2, 450 at work).

But even with the graphic and interface this game would be nothing without gameplay. It has that in abundance. The Gabriel Knight series has been the thinking man's adventure game for years and this installment only reinforces that. In addition, Jensen appears to have really had her time to develop the story as it is more detailed and rewarding than the first two games (which is saying a lot).

The Bad

Nothing. Not a thing. Other than it eventually ended.

The Bottom Line

Sierra seems set on recasting their image. With the release of both HalfLife and Homeworld they have demonstrated that they can still make games worth playing. This game is Sierra's demonstration that they can still make adventure games. If you ever were an adventure game fan, this is worth your time. If you ever wondered what the fuss was about, this is your game. If you played Mist (God help you) and wanted more, this is your game. Basically, if you are a computer game player you should check this game out. You will be seeing more just like it over the next few years and will probably hear enough about it to justify a good play through.