When adventure games took off in the early 1990s, they were cartoonish, fanicful flights of light-hearted adventure. Not that there was anything bad with that, but those games weren’t exactly stretching the medium to create adventures with a more mature nature. And then along came Gabriel Knight. It wasn’t just your average point ‘n click game. This was an adult take on the genre, with a mystery to solve, memorable characters who felt disturbingly real and a New Orleans style dripping with voodoo culture.
And that was over twenty years ago, with several more sequels following in the wake of the first game, Sins Of The Father. It’s the kind of game that stuck with you over various years, and it’s getting resurrected for a whole new audience. Welcome back, to N’awlins.
This isn’t a simple revival however. Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Father is a complete overhaul of the iconic game, with every single asset being brand new. In fact, the only thing that has been retained from the original game, is the basic structure and plot. But everywhere else, you can see that more modern ideas have crept into this product of an earlier age.
The graphical engine has been redone entirely with new 3D models, the soundtrack has been completely remastered and there’s a brand new cast of actors present. While this means that Tim Curry, Mark Hammill, Leah Remini and the late Efrem Zimbalist Jr aren’t present, there’s still a more than capable cast present here that carry the story and characters forward, thanks to Bay Area Sound who worked on recent Telltale games such as Sam & Max and The Walking Dead. And yes, Gabriel Knight still has that signature Southern accent and charm present.
For those of you unfamiliar with the structure of the first Gabriel Knight game, it deviated from the norm back in 1993 with a mystery structure that unravelled over several days. There were clues to be followed up on, before players could progress further to a new day and locations.
To reach that day, players could tackle open locations in a non-linear fashion, completing set puzzles and challenges that contributed to a running score above your head. Like various other point ‘n click games of the time, that involved clicking and using various collected items to interact with the world and its population around you. That also meant that characters had to be questioned multiple times, with players having to pay attention to what was being said. And that’s a rare feature in games these days.
Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Father 20th Anniversary Edition still plays very much in that same manner, with improvements to the user interface also creating a more streamlined process. In terms of visuals, it’s also still a very artistic title, with the 3D models blending into more traditional 2D art, and the cinematics of the past giving way to motion comics, sans the speech bubbles of course.
But here’s what I really dig about the game: It hasn’t forgotten its roots. There’s a massive difference between the two Gabriel Knights in terms of graphics, and that’s something that is acknowledged in an omnipresent diary that charts the development of how the original title was produced.
That’s a charming feature, that educates long-time fans and allows newcomers to read into the legacy of this franchise. The remake is scheduled for later this year on PC, Mac and iPad. If you feel like getting to know the infamous Shadow Hunter all over again, this might be as good as any to head on back down to N’awlins.
Last Updated: August 26, 2014