gabriel knight: sins of the fathers by jane jensen

Posted on April 9, 2009


Voodoo murders are terrorizing New Orleans. Bookstore owner and horror writer Gabriel Knight investigates, hoping to gather juicy material for his new book. He soon realizes though that the case is personal—it may hold the key to a 300-year old family curse…

I heard the game was terrific. If you’re into atmospheric RPGs, story-driven and text heavy video games, Gabriel Knight: The Sins of the Fathers would be a fantastic play… All those puzzles to be solved, rooms you can wander in and out, useful items conveniently lying around, enigmatic characters…

The game would so grip you that you’d want to read the novelization. What a great tool to make more sense of Gabriel Knight, spell him out and have more of him…

Unfortunately, I haven’t played the game yet, though I wanted to—now I don’t care to. How can one enjoy a game in which all solutions to puzzles have already been spelled out, rather ridiculously at that, through a book?

Those rooms—not all are empty all the time… But because the lead character has to find things out, villains are often oblivious to his wandering around. Where sensible people would hightail out of a possible massacre, the characters here would approach blithely, with no clear plan how to get out, just because it’s important to see what’s happening (being uzi, you know).

And those objects lying randomly around—why not take them? Isn’t it obvious, the universe has a grand design in which a centuries-old rod gathering dust in a corner somewhere would prove to be the key to a secret Voodoo headquarters under a church someday? Pockets are designed to be bottomless, anyway.

So here’s my plan. I have the sequel on my TBR, The Beast Within; I won’t read it yet. I’ll try to get hold of the second game and play it first…. Because despite all the book’s shortcomings, these shortcomings may translate to awesome gameplay if I see the story unfold as a PC game.

Right, that’s what I’ll do. I may have found the book boring, but I know I will be more forgiving of illogical behavior and nonsensical plot development if these are what it takes to advance in the game. Also, I’d like to see more of Grace Nakimura, Gabriel’s research assistant. The series really should capitalize on a possible romantic relationship between self-centered but maturing Gabriel and fiercely intelligent but vulnerable Grace.

Book and game promised this, and I’m going to hold them to it.