The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery

aka: A Fera Interior: Um Mistério de Gabriel Knight, GK2, Gabriel Knight 2, Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within, Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, TBW, Ta'alumat Gabriel Knight: Ha-Khaya she Betokho, The Beast Within: Ein Gabriel Knight Krimi, Un Mystère avec Gabriel Knight : The Beast Within
Moby ID: 118
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$5.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery is a direct sequel to Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the first in the supernatural mystery adventure series telling the story of a bookstore owner and writer Gabriel Knight, the last offspring of generations of Schattenjaegers (shadow hunters), whose task is to fight the evil forces that abound in the world.

After leaving New Orleans, Gabriel moves to the Ritter Castle in Bavaria, Germany, his family heritage. One day, a group of peasants approach the castle, and the elder tells Gabriel about a terrible death of a little girl, who was killed by a vicious wolf. Suspecting the wolf could be a supernatural creature, the peasant asks the Schattenjaeger to purge the evil. The investigation brings Gabriel and his assistant Grace Nakimura to the mysterious Hunter Society and to Bavaria's dark past.

The game utilizes a cast of live actors and full-motion video technology: the actors are filmed over photorealistic images of Munich and its surroundings, and nearly every interaction with the environment leads to a FMV sequence. Despite its visual style, The Beast Within is not an interactive movie, but a full-fledged adventure game with many dialogues, detective work to do, and puzzles to solve. Unlike the first game, it is entirely controlled through point-and-click actions - all the icons have been replaced by a single cursor. Both Gabriel and Grace are available as playable characters during different chapters of the story.

Spellings

  • תעלומת Gabriel Knight: החיה שבתוכו - Hebrew spelling
  • 狩魔猎人2 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Main Themes Composed by
Opera Sequences Composed by
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Opera Lyrics Performed by
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 89% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 247 ratings with 12 reviews)

Great story, let down just a little

The Good
I think the story pays for most crimes against gamers, the game may commit. The story and the acting, particularly Peter Lucas'(Piotr Andrzejewski) excellent portrayal of main antagonist Friedrich von Glower. A lot of the story concerns German history and of course the story writers have been extremely liberal in building a fiction based on Lugwig II and Richard Wagner, but the game could still be called semi-historical and educational. But I think one of the most striking things about the game is the friendship between Gabriel and Von Glower, which of course develops into a non-friendship. They appear to have such a strong bond. Von Glower clearly has a sexual desire for Gabriel, which Gabriel reciprocates to a point. I thought the climax of their relationship came with Von Glower's romantic letter to Gabriel, which was like a strange, werewolf's marriage proposal.

The Bad
The problem solving isn't always great, but I thought what really hurt the game was the opera at the end, meant to be a long lost Wagner opera. Reading through the program at the start of the opera, you find that it's a very plain romance tale and meant to mirror Gabriel and Von Glower. So it tends to revert them from colourful and multi-faceted into black and white, which for me was a huge let down. I should also note that the door/entrapment puzzle at the end is very hard to solve, harder than it should be in an adventure game, I think.

The Bottom Line
Well it's completely worth playing for its great story and acting, great but imperfect. I wouldn't recommend spending too long trying to solve the problems and puzzles, look up the solution if you have to, so you can move forward with the story.

Windows · by Andrew Fisher (697) · 2018

The Gabriel Knight Series sets the bar for other adventure games to beat

The Good
The Beast Within has tense, driven story that will captivate and draw you into the adventure. The puzzles are logically placed in the story and are believable for what a normal person would do. But again, it is the story that will keep you playing this game for days, and possibly weeks. I felt that it was a rare sequel that was better than its original.

The Bad
I do have to say that one of the puzzles requires timing, which is not my strong suit. I had to replay that part several times over. Also, this is just a personal preference, but I did not like the full motion video setup of the game, but this was the big technology at the time, and it did not hurt the actual story in any way.

The Bottom Line
A mystery/suspense adventure game that will keep you guessing until the end.

Windows · by mclazyj (28) · 2000

The best interactive movie Sierra has ever done

The Good
The Beast Within was the first interactive movie that I played, and this was at a time when big game companies like Sierra took advantage of CD-ROM technology. It is a very good game. In fact, it's far better than the interactive movies that were on offer. The game was directed by Will Binder, who worked on a series of documentaries and short movies, and GK2 was considered his big break. I think that this is the first and only Sierra game to be directed by someone outside of Sierra.

After stopping the voodoo cult operating out of New Orleans and recovering the talisman that his great uncle sacrificed his life for, Gabriel Knight (played by Dean Erickson) is now in Schloss Ritter, working on his Blake Backlash novel about the events that occurred two years before. He hears a knock on the door and finds out it is the local townspeople who, after being told he is the new Schattenjäger, ask him to investigate a werewolf attack that claimed the life of a child. After agreeing to help them, Gabriel stays at the farm just outside Munich where the attack took place. His investigation eventually leads to a hunt club run by a charming man named Friedrich von Glower (Peter Lucas). Having found out that Gabriel is a member of the Ritter family, von Glower welcomes him with open arms.

Later on, his secretary Grace Nakimura (Joanne Takahashi) joins him in Germany, feeling that she may be of use to him. She is disappointed to find out that she just missed Gabriel. However, once she learns that Gabriel's case involves werewolves, she does some research for him and finds out that the attacks date back to the days of King Ludwig II. I like how the story of Ludwig was modified slightly so that it involves werewolfry, and that leads to some more research, this time on Richard Wagner and his lost opera. Although I found most of the research boring, I was impressed at how that all came together at the end.

The game is divided into six chapters, with the player alternating between Gabriel and Grace until the last chapter where they have to play both. Each chapter is stored on the six CDs that came with the game, and this means that you have to do some disc-swapping unless you have the version from GOG.

The Beast Within comes at a time when Sierra decided to drop the point-and-click interface we all know and love, and replace it with a simplified interface where you only have one mouse cursor to interact with the environment. Although I found this approach annoying, I think that this is much easier for players new to the adventure genre. The inventory is accessed by clicking the icon on the right that looks like a duffel bag. Both Gabriel and Grace have their own items. Among the items Gabriel has at the start of the game is the tape recorder which has the ability to isolate pieces of audio and place this audio onto a blank tape. Doing this is necessary to solve the first puzzle of the game.

All the actors that appear in the game deliver good performances, and I was most impressed by Erickson's. He comes across as one of those types that tries to keep his cool even when he becomes involved in a heated argument, and he also has a sense of humor to go along with it. He said that if the rest of the GK games were interactive movies, he would star in all of them. I wish that was the case. Also, people praised him for his role via his Facebook page, but I'm not one of them.

The Beast Within uses FMV technology to display cut-scenes that are triggered when the player initiates some action or starts a conversation with one of the characters. I know that some players loathe watching the main protagonists open and close doors, write letters, walk into buildings, get in cars, etc., but this adds to the realism. There are movies at the beginning and ending of each chapter, and it's good that Sierra gives you the option of watching them again.

The locations that Gabriel and Grace visit in the game are actual locations, which also adds to the realism. The Munich Zoo (Thalkirchen) even has a wolf enclosure. When a game uses locations based on real-life ones, the gamer has to go over and see it for themselves. Just ask YouTuber IPKISS4LIFE.

The CD-quality soundtrack by Robert Holmes is excellent. Most of the soundtracks are unique to each chapter, and they blend in with the situations the player will deal with. I enjoyed listening to the orchestral versions of the music from the first game, as well as the music for the chase sequence at the end of the game. In fact, it is used as my ringtone. It makes you hurry up and answer the damn phone!

The Bad
Speaking of the chase sequence, the whole thing is just one maze where you have to lure the antagonist into a certain room, done by closing certain doors. This is too difficult because once you close a door, you cannot open it back up. Furthermore, it is too easy to die by making a wrong decision.

The quality of the FMV is not that great. It uses QuickTime compression, and I have noticed audio static in some of the movies.

The Bottom Line
You don't have to play the last game in order to enjoy this one; there are hardly any references to it. As an interactive movie, it is very good. The excellent script helped cement Jane Jensen as the most high-profile storyteller on the planet. The soundtrack is also excellent, and the ability to play both Gabriel and Grace is a welcome relief, and this is carried over to the next game. The puzzles are not that hard to solve once you know what to do. If you’re a Gabriel Knight fan, then you’ll like this one. As an interactive movie, it is far better than Phantasmagoria and its sequel.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2017

[ View all 12 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Development

The Beast Within was originally intended to take place over the course of nine chapters instead of six. The additional three would have had the player shift into the past in order to play as King Ludwig II. These chapters were ultimately cut from the game due to time constraints, budgetary limitations, and the fact that this would have required even more CDs for a game that already requires six discs.

The game's backgrounds were created from photographs taken on location in Germany.

German language

Most Germans in The Beast Within are played by American actors. They thus speak German with a bemusing English accent. In the completely localized German version of the game, quite a few "German" characters have a notable American accent, which is even stranger. Additionally, because Gabriel and Grace speak German in the localized version, the translators had a problem in dealing with scenes in which one of the protagonists speaks to a German and doesn't understand him. The problem was solved somewhat half-heartedly by suggesting that Gabriel and company speak High German, whereas the locals speak in a Bavarian dialect.

German version

When the game was first released in Germany it was the un-dubbed and un-subtitled version which had a few scenes censored (for example, a character sitting in his cave and eating flesh from a human bone). The screen would go black and instead of being able to see what was happening the player would instead see a short message on the screen in German simply describing the scene. When the game was later released in its localized German these scenes were uncensored.

French version

Though the game was greeted with excellent critical reviews in France by the time of its release, the French-dubbed version is now quite infamous for its supposed mediocrity, despite being the work of a professional dubbing team. Among the numerous recriminations against the French version, one of the most famous is that you can actually hear several times the dubbing actors making mistakes while reading and then deciding to start again without any kind of editing.

Inaccuracies

  • In the game's opening movie, the camera shows a close-up of a scar on Gabriel's arm (acquired in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers). The scar is on the wrong arm.
  • There is no sign of the chapel in Schloss Ritter that featured so prominently in Sins of the Fathers.
  • When Grace browses the part of the Schattenjäger library that is supposed to contain books on the occult, she finds a book on Lycantrophy between volumes with such German titles as Das Nest and Der Arzt von Stalingrad. These are novels without any relation to occultism.
  • On looking at a window display of watches in Munich, Gabriel claims that he can't stand wearing things on his wrist. In a later scene, a watch is clearly visible on his arm.
  • German Volkswagen Golf keys have a standardized look. The car key that Gabriel carries around in his inventory will unlock anything except the Golf he drives. His car also has no license plate.
  • Even though Grace doesn't speak German, she has no problem reading loudly from Cosima Wagner's diary, which was most likely not written in English.
  • In the book Lore and Law it is said that in Brazil there's a priesthood society called "Manos Del Sol" (Hands of the Sun). But the language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese, and "Manos Del Sol" is in Spanish. The correct name would be "Homens do Sol", as is seen in Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, when Gabriel researches the same subject on SIDNEY, the computer database of shadow hunter data.

Actors

Kay Kuter (Werner Huber) seems to enjoy playing the role of a bartender; he also plays one (Griswold Goodsoup) in The Curse of Monkey Island.

Novel

Jane Jensen, the series' designer, has written a novelization of this game as well as one of the first game (Sins of the Fathers).

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • June 1996 (Issue #143) – Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15h anniversary issue) - #17 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #10 Hardest Computer Game
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #7 Most Memorable Game Villain (Fredrick von Glower)
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #4 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
    • November 2003 (Issue #232) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2005 - #33 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list

Information also contributed by -Chris, Adam Schoales, Alan Chan, chiriniea, Foxhack, PCGamer77 and Swordmaster

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Eurythmic.

Macintosh added by chirinea. DOS added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Trixter, MAT, Adam Baratz, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, The cranky hermit, formercontrib, Zeppin, Dudujones, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, RetroArchives.fr.

Game added May 15, 1999. Last modified January 23, 2024.