Gabriel Knight III
By: Terry "DysoN" Martin
The game starts out with you coming out of a train at night, looking like youve been hit severely on the head. You talk to an officer and you ask if he has seen two men with a baby. The officer says that it is late at night, and you have better get your rest. He safely takes you to a hotel room. You, by the way, in Paris, France.
If you havent read the Prologue, you, with the slightest doubt, will be completely lost, not knowing what youre doing in Paris or whom youre chasing. In order to fully understand whats going on, you must read the Prologue, which can be found on your GK3 Game Box. Ill briefly explain the games prologue and perhaps as to why you ended up being in Paris.
Your names Knight. Gabriel Knight.
Grace tells you that Prince James of Albany has invited you to Paris. You, sadly, tell her that you have never heard of him. Grace, with the help of SIDNEY (Schattenjager Information Database), looks up some vital information about him. She tells you that hes the current Stewart heirwhatever that meant, you didnt really care. Grace urges you to go, meeting a real European society. Grace tries to get more info at this point
You arrive in Paris with Grace. A person you have never met or seen greets you.
You were invited to a dinner party. The evening starts off with strange conversationsit seems that you were the center of attention on that night. It quickly skips from the dinner party to a hotel room, interestingly enough, with Grace.
A strange man suddenly opens your hotel door, asking if he could speak with you
alone. Strangely enough, he says that the Stewarts are an old familyfor a long time they have been plagued by a kind of
anemia. The Stewarts have unusual episodes. They awake in the morning exhausted and pale. Upon their examination, it was evident that they were suffering from severe anemia. They gradually recover from this but it happens againsometimes within months, sometimes not for years. Could this be a medical problem? Tis quite early to tell.
The man shows you a picture of a child bitten by a vampire (well, it clearly is evident that the child was). You prudently ask if there was a trace of any assailant. "No" was the mans answer, "over the centuries they have tried guards, dogs, locked rooms
" he quickly adds, "guards and dogs fall asleep. Locks are broken. Nothing stops it."
This might seem like it does not make any sensetrust me, it takes awhile to figure out.
You ask if they need your help to protect the man. "Not me. There is someone I want you to meet" was his answer
"Thank you, Mesmi. This is my son, Charles. My first child." That gave you a strange feeling that you must baby-sit, rather protect this newborn child. It gets worse from hereon
the man (Prince James) doesnt expect you to understand, but when it was his own suffering, he could accept the
Night visitors, as he calls them. Your job was to protect the baby from these night visitors. You give your word of promise as Prince James leaves the vicinity. Later that night, you worry about these visitors showing up; you could be sitting up there for months. To your dismay, you find Grace asleep, as well as the guard dog. Your amulet shines with a illuminating gold flash
the night visitors have arrived. Before you could have even moved, the figure was goneand so was the baby
You boldly chase after this dark figure on your motorcycle on a warm Paris night. To make matters more intriguing and ultimately add more to the confusion, would be you chasing a car. Heh. At times, when your headlights penetrate the car, you see two figurestwo men. The chase ends at a train station
the car is empty! Where have the two men have gone? You ask someone if they saw two men and a baby. This person directly points at Number 4. I assumed that this was a train number. You check the train for any signs of the baby. You see a dark silhouette a few feet from you
you ask if he found a bag that you lost
without your consent, this figure hits you with a wooden weapon, inevitably knocking you out unconscious
After understanding the rather complex (not quite) story, and waking up on your own hotel room, you must begin your adventure to recover the baby, but a far, deeper and more frightening story begins to unravel while doing so. Rumors of a buried treasure by the ancients, vampires sets you to an inescapable pathto intricately solve the mystery of the Stewarts mysterious anemia disease. Perhaps going in depth to your surroundings, trying to ultimately find the answer to an ancient secret meant to stay hidden forever. Your mission as a Schattenjager is never quite done. Be wary, once you find the truth there is no erasing it (this, by the way, is your third case youre investigating).
When you right click the screen (inside the game), it brings up the games toolbar. From the toolbar, you can easily access your Inventory, Room Cameras, Hints, Help, Game Options, and Cinematic Camera toggle. You also see your current game score, currently selected inventory item and the current timeblock, which I will discuss later on. I will briefly discuss these toolbar options:
Inventory this brings up Gabriels or Graces inventory. Left clicking on the items in the inventory will bring up a verb-chooser giving you options you can do with each item.
Room Cameras this gives you a "thumbnail" view of up to six preset cameras in each room. You can use these cameras to move quickly around the roomquite useful on low-end machines. Please take note that these cameras dont necessarily show everything important in a room.
Hints the game does not quite provide hints for every puzzle, but for Graces SIDNEY puzzle sequence starting around day 2, there will be hints available. You also can get hints on the driving map, however, using this will cause the locations to flash where you still have a required activity left in that timeblock. Take note that other times, hints will be disabled.
Help button brings up screens describing the main controls in the game, including keyboard shortcuts and camera movement.
Cinematic Cameras this option allows you to turn on or off the automatic camera cuts that happen when you (Gabriel) or Grace are performing an action or engaged in a conversation. With this option turned off, you will be able to move the camera freely around the room, or watch a scene from a different angle. Having this option turned on is the recommended way of playing GK3.
Game Options by clicking this, it opens three options available to you:
Ah, before I continue any further, there are many more of these sub-menus. From the Advanced Option field, you have: Sound Option, Graphics Option. Im not here to give a tutorial or a lecture about these sub-menus, now onto the review.
GK3s engine handles graphics quite well. The game world is immersing with stunningly beautiful, detailed graphics. They are quite awe-inspiring to see from a Mystery/Adventure game. The way you move the camera through the world is quite smooth; of course, this will indefinitely be decided to how good your video card can accelerate them. Sierra has put so much backbreaking work to make the graphics what they arebeauty defines this, very masterful work for a game. Am I missing anything? Oh, yeah. They severely lack realism.
Despite the games wonderful graphics, they dont have any realistic feel. Its as if the graphics are stationarynever moving, unless an action is done. Heck, even if an action is done, nothing much changes. Take a tree in the game as an example, it just stands there, lifeless, completely devoid of life. This same problem goes with the textures, buildings, and perhaps doors!
Ah, a detailed world? Perhaps. The game world lacks detail, believe it or not ladies and gents. Not only does the game world lack details (further explained in the review), but as Ive already mentioned in one of the paragraphs, they also lack a realism feel. Theyre, sadly, just an accident waiting to happen.
When I said that the game world lacked detail, well, this isnt entirely correct, perhaps a bit exaggerated. Beauty describes this game in many ways. The game doesnt feel real, has an artificial feel to it, as with other games you feel like youre exactly amidst of enemy fire, or feel like youre really in the game. GK3 doesnt do any of these. So, what about the games detail? Ah. They dont necessarily lack any sort of detail to themits just that sometimes you would think to yourself, "Hmmm. This building right here
needs more detail." You would get that feelingsometimes, anyway. The game doesnt suffer from clipping problems, though the models do, will be explained later on.
The games models are quite astonishing, rather amazing, from top to bottom. The models are great to look at, not only because of the details, but also because of the animations. The animations are impressive. Faces are highly detailed, you can even see, during a cutscene, the mouth moving with accuracy, as they talk, is very intriguing to watch. However, problems Ive noticed were the model arms. Theyre not detailedlooks like theyre missing a helluva lot of polygons and miss out on detail. You, obviously, will see that. The models, almost all the time, dont repeat their movements. It would be a shame if it had done so. Give Sierra a pat on the back for the games intricate looking models and facial animations.
The way they (the models) interact with the world is very realistic to a large extent. As anyone would clearly notice, they sometimes suffer from clipping problems, hopefully it wouldnt bother you; you hardly see these problems, anyway. Phew. Nothing to worry about, huh? Indeed.
The music is rather vague, but somehow fits well in the game. Sometimes, you would feel that you are actually in the place. The game, sometimes, would play a spooky music
nothing like a good freaky music to set you in the right mood, especially in this Mystery/Adventure game. Im not entirely sure, but its hard to notice if the music is repetitively looped or not, it probably is, but it would be hard to notice when it ends and when it begins again. You wouldnt nor would reviewers complain about GK3s music. Its well done, and sets the tone and mood for a scene.
Gk3 sports some tremendous, realistic, and comprehensive sound. The sound, though realistic, doesnt feel right. As said above, the game doesnt feel very real, more of an artificial than real. In turn, the game doesnt necessarily suffer; it just doesnt feel real. Take a motorcycle as an example
sure, it sounds realistic
does it really? The sounds were quite believablenot quite top-notch, but come close. GK3s in-game speech further backs this up.
Wow! GK3 has the most impressive voice acting. GK3s voice acting was done quite well, even beyond professional level, well, perhaps (for those of you that have GK3you would know that Im making a sarcastic comment about the voice acting, as it is not above professional level). The motion of characters moving their mouths with animation makes conversations interesting, not dull and boring. This intrigued me. Speeches dont lack emotion, as it was with Infrogames Silver. Each time a conversation is fired up, the music changes, this adds up with the excellent voice acting, however, most of these characters are French speakingeven Gabriel himself has quite an astonishing accent. The accent(s) are quite noticeable on every character, except for Grace (she doesnt have oneodd for an Asian girl).
They way the characters express themselves within the game is perplexing beyond belief. If you add the games speech, sound, and music, youll be initially impressed. Are GK3s speeches top-notch? You could, I suppose, say that. Oh, yeah. I failed to mention that the in-game speech isnt really top-notch, they are merely above average. Heh, Im afraid I exaggerated againyes, GK3s voice acting is top-notch. Sierra has done great job-hiring professionals for doing the voice-overs.
As a Schattenjager, meaning, "shadow hunter," you are to guard Prince James son from these night visitors. Rest assured, as you probably have read from the Prologue, Prince James son is abducted that same night. You chase after these visitors, you end up being knocked unconscious, and you awaken in a nearby village in Paris. Its not an ordinary village, mind youstories of a Holy Grail, Templars, vampires, treasures and modern mysteries surround the village.
You must definitely use cunning sneaking techniques, question possible suspects, inspect, in order to solve and advance through the story. GK3 is a 3D world, which means you could almost do anything in the game. Areas of the game are separated into different districts, most often; you can see parts of a town, but in order to get to a specific area, you must travel there, and wait for the area to load. The load time isnt embarrassingly long, but certainly is tolerable.
The church... Hey! Who turned off the lights?
The way the camera is handled is very unique (and the way its controlled). You arent restricted to a particular area of the game, the camera is free to fly wherever you wish. This, of course, is handled using the keyboard. You can use the D-pad (left arrow, right arrow, top arrow, bottom arrow) to move the camera. You can set this up however you please (I have it as the standard WASD controls from
Quake). You can manipulate, uh, rather do other things to it; ie by holding the CTRL key, this allows you to make a sidestep movement (the camera does, not Gabriel) with the help of the arrow keys. Another keypoint that helps you flawlessly move the camera faster is to use the mouse, by holding the left mouse button and holding the right mouse button and make a movement to your left or right, makes the game much faster, though it takes time to get used to. The camera is very advantageous, too. Instead of waiting for Gabriel to walk (the game doesnt have a run option) over a certain area, the game will "warp" Gabriel to the area (only when the camera is pointed to it). Another way to speed up the game significantly is by pressing the ESC key, Gabriel or Grace will immediately skip to the area where you wanted them to go. Do not do this to a cutscene, you will most certainly miss out on whats going on.
Everything in GK3 is interactive, from tables, books, cups
everything is interactive. When you left click on an item, a verb-chooser menu appears over the item and/or character. The verb-choosers main tools are: Inspect (which zooms to that object or character), and Look (this lets Gabriel or Grace comment on the selected object or character). Other tools include Talk (which lets you either comment or speak to a character). When you engage in a conversation (sometimes could be long lectures), it brings up a picture menu of all possible topics to talk about. The rest are Eat, Think (gives you clues to a certain puzzle, and sometimes could help you to think about what to do next), Smell (ie smell the toilet), Pick Up (lets the player pick up the object), and finally the Lock/Unlock option. The open/unlock option lets you either, obviously, lock or unlock a briefcase, doors, etc. When you start playing the game, it takes a minute or two to get used to these options. (Keep in mind that not all these options are available at the same time.)
GK3 is a real adventure game, for adventure fanatics. If you have a knack for intricate puzzles, riddles, insane mind bending tasks, this game is for you. GK3, however, isnt a combination of both FPS and Actionthis is a Mystery/Adventure game, damnit!
A lot of GK3s puzzles are hard to solve, and in this review, I will give an example. While talking to the owner of a moped (mow-ped) rental shop about trying to rent a bike of your own, the owner asks you for a passport. You show him your passport, and he takes his time looking over something posted on a wall. He says that you are not with the tour group and rejects your offer for a decent bike, he instead offers you a below average bike. I needed a disguise and someone from the tour groups passport
but how? That took so much thinking it literally gave me a migraine headache. I figured it out, though. There are some puzzles that would leave the casual gamer saying, "what the f*ck?" repeatedly. Take your time with this game, its well worth it.
GK3 is split into "timeblocks." There are required activities for each timeblock, and after completing all of these activities, you will progress to the next timeblock. These required activities could be anything from talking to a character about a certain topic to picking up a certain object. For example, the first timeblock is Day 1, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. That means that as you are playing that timeblock, all activities will happen in the "game world" between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. That does NOT mean that you only have two hours in your time to finish that timeblock.
Like most traditional adventure games, you'll find yourself walking around, talking to the people you see, and clicking on, picking up any and every item that's lying around. The detective spin of Gabriel Knight 3 kicks in with the gameplayat certain points throughout the game you'll have to spy on the other characters, find creative ways to break into their rooms, record conversations, and even lift fingerprints off of items with a fingerprint kit. What can you do with all these evidence? Analyze it with a computer could be an obvious answer, and it most certainly is in this Adventure game.
After Day 1, you will have access to SIDNEY (Schattenjager Information Database). SIDNEY functions like a real computer. It has options to analyze maps, photos, make fake I.D.s, browse for a relevant subject for the case, even translate other languages to English. When using the browse option, it gives you a web-style format to search for a subject; ie typing "Templars" will give you result(s) regarding the subject. Pretty nifty. You, of course, will not be spending a lot of time on SIDNEY as you have other places to go, mainly driving around the mysterious valley of Rennes-le-Chateau, searching for clues, talking to people, to name a few. You will never be bored of the town, there are simply too many things to do and too many places to go to keep you occupied. There are a few towns in the game that are actually based on real life locations in France.
If youre a die-hard fan of the first two hit Gabriel Knight series
then this games definitely for you. If you are not a die-hard fan, but still love Adventure games with great graphics, solid voice acting, and intriguing gameplaythis game is a must. GK3 has a fascinating complex plot thats truly based on real history. GK3 is a fine game that makes up for hours of amusing entertainment.
Do not get GK3 if youre not an adventure fanatic of any sort. With the sometimes overly difficult puzzles stopping your advancement into the game, this could be a hard game to beat for veterans and fans alike. Dont worry about model problems, clipping problems and the trees, etc., having a lifeless feel. Those can range from minor to anywhere from middle to severe. They are not troublesome and certainly wouldnt cause the game to be thrown out. Pros:
Professional voice acting
Complex and fascinating story
Nice job of using the interface
Camera is incorporated into the game quite well
Learning the game isnt a complex and convoluted matter
Puzzles can be impossible; ie having a disguise to get a decent bike
Models lacking polygons
Trees and the likes are completely devoid of lifeBuildings, textures, etc., sometimes lack detail
<< Rating: 80 >>