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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41003)
Written on  :  Dec 13, 2002

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Gabriel Knight returns in his last adventure for now

The Good

This is the third and final chapter of the Gabriel Knight series for now. In the previous adventure, Gabriel, with the help of his charming assistant Grace, solved the murders of innocent people who were eaten alive by werewolves.

In this latest adventure, both Gabriel and Grace are invited to stay at the remote French village of Rennes-le-Château, where Prince James of Albany tells Gabriel that his baby son is kidnapped and wants him to bring him back safely from the kidnappers. But as Gabriel pursues the kidnappers, a much darker plot unfolds, involving vampires and buried treasure. The in-game introduction doesn’t show much, but if you read the prologue that comes with the game, you’ll see what the main plot is about. If you’ve lost the prologue, you’ll be supplied with a PDF version when you install GK3.

As I said in my review of GK2, you take control of both Gabriel in the odd chapters, and Grace in the even ones. In GK3, it is the same deal, but we’re not talking about chapters here. Instead in GK3, you only have three days to find the baby and solve several vampire killings, but each day is split into timeblocks, and this is indicated in the game (eg: Day 1, 10am-12pm). Each timeblock ends when either Gabriel or Grace completes a certain amount of tasks. Some are short, while others are quite long. Also, you won’t be able to control Grace until Day 2 as she arrives at Rennes-le-Château on the tour bus the previous evening.

Joining them at the hotel is your average tour group. These include Estelle and Lady Howard, the two British lasses who get worked up over something; Vittorio Buchelli, the Italian; Emilio Baza, who is of Middle East origin; and John Wilkes, the Australian who would like to get his hands on the treasure before anyone does. Leading the tour group is the beautiful French woman, Madeline Buthane. Everybody involved with the tour group is a suspect. Both Gabriel and Grace are not restricted to investigating inside the village, but once they get access to the Harley, they may continue their investigation elsewhere.

During the investigation, as both characters, you have to do some detective work such as speaking to people about both the kidnapping and the killings, and dust objects for fingerprints then put them into a plastic bag. You then scan those fingerprints into SIDNEY (Schattenjäger Informational Database) that Grace brought with her when she first comes here. SIDNEY is also useful for receiving new e-mail, researching topics, making false IDs, and analyzing items that are scanned into SIDNEY.

The interface is easy to use. You use the mouse to click on an object, which brings up the verb menu basically consisting of icons. Depending on the object, you can use, move, climb, and look at, and much more. You can even inspect them to see a close-up view of the object, and this works for all characters as well. I’m glad that Sierra decided to stick with the mouse, and not use the keyboard-only method that LucasArts stuck with in their adventures such as Escape from Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, where you have to figure out which key does which. Furthermore, you can view the game at several camera angles by sliding the mouse up or down, forward or backward, to adjust the view. This makes it useful for getting objects that you can’t see at a certain angle.

The graphics in GK3 are great and make full use of 3D. GK3 does not require a 3D accelerator, although one is recommended. Without one, the graphics appear much darker unless you adjust the gamma slider included in the graphic options. If you find the resolution too big, you can adjust this to either 800x600 or 1024x768. With the 1024x768 resolution, I found that I couldn’t read what score I’ve got so far properly, so setting the resolution to 800x600 did the trick. The resolution wasn’t a problem for me in the other two GK games, as one had a fixed resolution at 320x200, and the other 640x480. The sound, on the other hand, is excellent as well. The music can be quite dramatic at times, such as when Gabriel inspects crime scenes or being pursued by kidnapped. GK3 comes on three CDs and each one of them has a day on it (eg: CD 1 has Day 1, CD 2 has Day 2, etc.).

The Bad

The speed slider that controls the speed of your character is not present in the game, so I had to suffer watching Gabriel and Grace walk slowly toward their destination. Even GK2 doesn’t have a slider, but at least Dean Erickson walked a lot faster. Like the last two GK games, GK3 tends to be a history lesson rather than an adventure game. In GK1, Gabriel asked for information about Voodoo and in GK2, Grace had to visit German museums where she researched about King Ludwig and Richard Wagner. In this game, you access SIDNEY and research topics, then when the results come up, you have to click link after link to get the information that scores you a lot of points.

When you install the game, you can access a promo of the Nightmare of Elm Street series, digitally remastered, but this has nothing to do with the game.

On its current setup, my system also can’t take the heat. First, when I played this game for long periods of time, and then left the game, many programs refused to work, and when I shut it down, Windows decided to lock up. There are many Easter Eggs in the game, but I can’t access them. When I do this, GK3 reports “unrecognized fatal exception”.

The Bottom Line

Apart from the history lesson, this game is very good. ***½