Author Topic: The Gabriel Knight Series  (Read 659 times)

St_Eddie

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The Gabriel Knight Series
« on: April 07, 2019, 01:13:00 AM »
I felt that this topic deserved its own thread, following discussion within the 'Tim Curry Passes Away' thread...

I very much liked his voiceover work as the titular character in the first Gabriel Knight game. Marvellous stuff.

I'll stand by you on that.  It's an absolutely ludicrous and absurd attempt at a New Orleans accent but at the same time, it's like buttery candy for the ears.

"What can you tell me about voodoo?"

Also, any excuse to post a link to this.

Funny, when I first played that game 25 or whatever years ago (fucking hell), I had no clue what a New Orelans accent was like. I probably don't now, come to think of it. But I knew he sounded like personification of cool. Great supporting cast, too.

They shit the bed with that sequel, mind you.

Funny, when I first played that game 25 or whatever years ago (fucking hell), I had no clue what a New Orelans accent was like. I probably don't now, come to think of it. But I knew he sounded like personification of cool. Great supporting cast, too.

Just stay away from the 20th Anniversary Edition, which replaces the original cast with unknowns (and replaces the art with technically superior but artistically, vastly inferior artwork).  To be fair, the replacement cast do a good job but I mean come on, if you're given a choice between a bunch of nobodies, or Tim Curry, Mark Hamill and Michael Dorn, who are you going to choose?  Only a madman or a fool would choosse the former.

They shit the bed with that sequel, mind you.

If you mean in terms of the casting of Dean Erickson (you might remember him from such roles as... a background extra in an episode of Fraiser) as Gabriel Knight, then yes, yes they did.  If however, you mean that the game itself is bad, then I strongly but respectively disagree.  Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within remains one of the few FMV games which is actually good.  Yes, the acting is bad (across the board - well, except for the main antagonist) but the story is excellent and in equal turns, educational (outside of the werewolf shenanigans, I mean).

Any game which makes an agoraphobic player actively want to visit Munich just to buy a cuckoo clock, has to be doing something right.

Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 11:08:11 AM »
Tim Curry’s Gabriel may not be an accurate accent, but it’s hugely charismatic, memorable and ends up being weirdly appropriate for the character who, lets face it, is kind of meant to be different and set apart from everyone else.

I love the original and the sequel (despite the FMV presentation,) but I’ve never been able to get past how ugly the third is. I understand it has some ingenious puzzles - as well as at least one notoriously bad one - and it’s great to have some of the actors from the first game back, but I just get no real pleasure from playing it.

I also believe the third has a time limit element to some of the content, which isn’t something I especially enjoy in adventure games.

Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2019, 11:16:15 AM »
I was thinking more of the terrible casting in GK2, though I never liked FMV-based games anyways (I hated Wing Commander 3 for the same reason, not the mutual presence of Mark Hammil). I played it again a few years back and I can agree the actual game is fine.

Never got round to playing the third, though it has been there in my gog.com account waiting to be downloaded for about five or six years.

Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2019, 03:31:01 PM »
Was never really a fan of Gabriel Knight but don't exactly know why.

St_Eddie

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2019, 03:59:50 PM »
Tim Curry’s Gabriel may not be an accurate accent, but it’s hugely charismatic, memorable and ends up being weirdly appropriate for the character who, lets face it, is kind of meant to be different and set apart from everyone else.

Agreed.  Inaccuracy of the accent aside, Tim Curry's performance simply oozes charm.

...I’ve never been able to get past how ugly the third is. I understand it has some ingenious puzzles - as well as at least one notoriously bad one - and it’s great to have some of the actors from the first game back, but I just get no real pleasure from playing it.

The third game's use of 3D graphics is a real shame.  It was released during a period where it was deemed necessary for all games to sport a 3D game engine, which was a hindrance to a lot of adventure games at the time, which by design are generally far better suited to being presented in 2D, especially given the limitations of the 3D visuals during the turn of the century (see also King's Quest VIII: The Mask of Eternity and Simon the Sorcerer 3D).  Having said that, the actual interface in Gabriel Knight 3 is decent.  It takes a little while to get used to but once you do, it's very elegant in allowing the player to achieve the tasks which they want to achieve in an efficient manner.

My biggest issue with Gabriel Knight 3 (outside of the infamous passport puzzle chain) is the story itself.  It's far from bad (and superior to 95% of other games) but it can't hold a candle to the first two games.  It also doesn't help that it ends on a cliffhanger that's highly unlikely to ever be resolved.  Of course, it's interesting to note that it would appear that Dan Brown was heavily "inspired" by the story of Gabriel Knight 3 when he wrote The Da Vinci Code.  At least Jane Jensen did a better job at it than he did, I guess.

I also believe the third has a time limit element to some of the content, which isn’t something I especially enjoy in adventure games.

Yes, this is true and like you, I find it to be an annoyance.  I don't like to feel that I'm missing out on content by not being in the right place at the right time.  This goes doubly for adventure games where I absolutely want to play at a leisurely pace.  It's for this reason that I could never get into The Last Express, despite the inclusion of an ability to rewind time (a forerunner to the designer, Jordan Mechner's later game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time).

I was thinking more of the terrible casting in GK2, though I never liked FMV-based games anyways (I hated Wing Commander 3 for the same reason, not the mutual presence of Mark Hammil). I played it again a few years back and I can agree the actual game is fine.

Fair enough.  Personally, I have a real soft spot for FMV based games.  The latter Wing Commander games among them, as well as the Tex Murphy games and as a guilty pleasure, the Phantasmagoria games.  I can more than understand how they're not going to be everyone's cup of tea though.

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2019, 07:33:28 PM »
Is Beast Within usually regarded as a difficult game? I remember getting stuck very early on, due in part to the photographic visuals making it difficult to discern the hotspots.

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2019, 07:50:00 PM »
Of course, it's interesting to note that it would appear that Dan Brown was heavily "inspired" by the story of Gabriel Knight 3 when he wrote The Da Vinci Code.  At least Jane Jensen did a better job at it than he did, I guess.
I remember being stunned by how much The Da Vinci Code ripped off from Broken Sword 1. I guess anything with Templars and that is drawing from the same sources - there’s a bit of overlap with Assassin’s Creed as well of course. I’ve never played Gabriel Knight 3 mind you, maybe it’s even more similar. Either way Dan Brown is a gamer.

St_Eddie

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2019, 08:11:18 PM »
Is Beast Within usually regarded as a difficult game? I remember getting stuck very early on, due in part to the photographic visuals making it difficult to discern the hotspots.

I wouldn't say that it's a particularly difficult game but it's certainly a game which I'd recommend new players to approach with the UHS open in a background tab, just in case you find yourself stuck for a prolonged amount of time.  Hotspots are certainly an issue at some points.  Thankfully, there are no dead ends though.  Still, as with any adventure game, it would be prudent to 'save early, save often'.

I remember being stunned by how much The Da Vinci Code ripped off from Broken Sword 1. I guess anything with Templars and that is drawing from the same sources - there’s a bit of overlap with Assassin’s Creed as well of course. I’ve never played Gabriel Knight 3 mind you, maybe it’s even more similar.

I'd say there's a lot more ripping-off from Gabriel Knight 3 in The Da Vinci Code, than there is Broken Sword, given the whole 'the Holy Grial is the bloodline of Christ' aspect, but it's fair to say that The Da Vinci Code steals liberally from both titles.

Here's a quote from a Gamespot interview with the designer of Broken Sword and Revolution Software's CEO, Charles Cecil...

Quote from: Gamespot
Cecil said the game was conceived with the game's publisher a full decade before Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code. Cecil pointed out that Brown has very serious lawyers and he would never suggest there was any plagiarism whatsoever, but added that he's happy to hear other people suggest the same.

Either way Dan Brown is a gamer.

A gamer and a hack... a hacker?

Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2019, 08:30:50 PM »
Fair enough.  Personally, I have a real soft spot for FMV based games.  The latter Wing Commander games among them, as well as the Tex Murphy games and as a guilty pleasure, the Phantasmagoria games.  I can more than understand how they're not going to be everyone's cup of tea though.
I guess it comes down to my having built a connection with the characters in previous guises: Curry as the voice of Knight, along with that bed-head hair, the WC character as having my name and my voice! I was less inclined against FMV games that were original works, but in the GK/WC examples, I just couldn't take to the changes.

I am surprised nobody has decided to have another pop at a Gabriel Knight (remake aside), unless the copyright is too expensive or some other reason.

St_Eddie

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2019, 09:16:15 PM »
I guess it comes down to my having built a connection with the characters in previous guises: Curry as the voice of Knight, along with that bed-head hair, the WC character as having my name and my voice! I was less inclined against FMV games that were original works, but in the GK/WC examples, I just couldn't take to the changes.

I can understand this.  I do find the transition from Gabriel in the first game to the second to be extremely jarring.  It's like a completely different character.  Dean Erickson plays the role far too meekly and awkwardly.  He had none of the brash cockiness and charm of Tim Curry's portrayal.  However, the core story is strong enough to override my dislike for his performance.

FUN FACT: Jane Jensen cast Dean Erickson, purely based upon his audition for the the scene where Gabriel rages at Grace, after she locks him in the basement of the opera house.  She was unsure up to that point whether he was right for the role but the ferocity of his performance in that particular audition sold her on him.  Obviously, your mileage may vary as to whether she made the right call there or not.

I am surprised nobody has decided to have another pop at a Gabriel Knight (remake aside), unless the copyright is too expensive or some other reason.

Activision owns the Gabriel Knight IP but I would have little interest in a new game unless Jane Jensen herself acted as the lead designer.  I suspect that the 20th Anniversary remake of the first game was a means by which to test the waters and drum up interest in a fully fledged fourth installment.  However, I believe that the sales left a lot to be desired and as a result, not only was the remake an inferior version of the original and a waste of resources, but sadly it likely killed the possibility of a conclusion to the series.  At this point, I'd settle for a novel from Jane Jensen, just to tie up the loose ends left dangling at the end of Gabriel Knight 3.

FUN FACT: In Gabriel Knight 3, if the player types 'Gabriel Knight 4' into the SIDNEY computer, then they'll receive an entry about ghosts.  All but confirming what the big bad of the fourth game would have revolved around malevolent spirits.  So the order of the series would be; voodoo/zombies; werewolves; vampires; ghosts.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 09:28:08 PM by St_Eddie »

St_Eddie

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2019, 09:34:57 PM »
I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge one of the few genuine improvements that the 20th Anniversary Edition of the first game held over the original; the remastered soundtrack, once again composed by series mainstay, Robert Holmes (Jane Jensen's Husband, incidentally).  The tracks are the same compositions used in the original but remade using the latest in synth technology.  I wish that there was a means by which to transfer the remastered tracks into the original game.

Mister Six

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2019, 09:52:43 PM »
I'd say there's a lot more ripping-off from Gabriel Knight 3 in The Da Vinci Code, than there is Broken Sword, given the whole 'the Holy Grial is the bloodline of Christ' aspect, but it's fair to say that The Da Vinci Code steals liberally from both titles.

They're both riffing on The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, to be fair.

biggytitbo

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2019, 10:48:10 PM »
I wouldn't say that it's a particularly difficult game but it's certainly a game which I'd recommend new players to approach with the UHS open in a background tab, just in case you find yourself stuck for a prolonged amount of time.  Hotspots are certainly an issue at some points.  Thankfully, there are no dead ends though.  Still, as with any adventure game, it would be prudent to 'save early, save often'.

I'd say there's a lot more ripping-off from Gabriel Knight 3 in The Da Vinci Code, than there is Broken Sword, given the whole 'the Holy Grial is the bloodline of Christ' aspect, but it's fair to say that The Da Vinci Code steals liberally from both titles.

Here's a quote from a Gamespot interview with the designer of Broken Sword and Revolution Software's CEO, Charles Cecil...

A gamer and a hack... a hacker?


In fairness all of them stole it wholesale from the Holy blood and the Holy grail and Henry Lincoln.

St_Eddie

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Re: The Gabriel Knight Series
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2019, 11:04:54 PM »
I wasn't aware of that.  Thank you for the correction/clarification.