Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
|Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned|
Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned is the third game in the Gabriel Knight series of point-and-click adventure games by Sierra Online. The game was designed by Jane Jensen, Gabriel Knight's creator. In a departure from the previous two entries, the score is composed by David Henry, expanding on some of original composer Robert Holmes's themes. The game also sees Tim Curry return in the role of Gabriel, although the voices of other reoccurring characters such as Grace Nakimura and Mosely have been recast. It was released in 1999 for PCs and again in 2001 as a part of Sierra's Best Seller Series.
Each installment in the Gabriel Knight series has had a significant change in graphic design, with the first featuring computer-generated, partially rotoscoped graphics and scanned comic book art, and the second being entirely in FMV. Gabriel Knight 3 is the first game in the series to be in full 3D. Released shortly after the crash of the adventure video game industry, it could not match the critical and financial success of its two predecessors, and would be the last adventure game published by Sierra.
The plot of the game is set in July, 1998 between the days of the 7th and the 10th involving the kidnapping of an infant from a Scottish family of nobles, and concentrates on vampires (previous titles concentrated on the paranormal aspects of Voodoo, and werewolves), alongside the fabled legend of the Holy Grail; along with these are the historical elements dealing with the Knights Templar, the proposed conspiracies relating to the Freemasons and the Priory of Sion as well as Jesus.
The game uses a basic point-and-click interface for most actions. A command bar appears whenever the player clicks on a highlighted item with the left mouse key (such as a door or item, with options to look or interact with it). While the player uses the mouse to move and interact with the environment of each location (such as a hotel room), the player uses the keyboard to assume control over the camera, which can be moved around the location except during dialogue and prescripted sequences; the viewpoint moves independently of the player character. Whenever the camera is a sufficient distance away from the player character and they are not in sight, they teleport to a spot directly behind the camera, before making an appearance, to save time when moving around.
The game uses a 'Time' System, in which players perform actions, such as talking to someone in a location, and picking up an item, between a certain time-span, a 'time-block' (such as the first one of 10am-12pm on the game's first day), but time won't move on in the block, but rather 'shifts' when certain actions and events take place in the current time-span that are key to the story. In some time-blocks, a minor time-shift will activate, shifting things forward in the current time-block, when key events and actions are performed. Characters in one location, may change places as a result of the minor time-shift, so if character A was in location A, when the shift occurs, Character B & C may now be in location A, and Character A is in location B, and so forth. When a major time-shift occurs, the player is notified by the game, along with the option of saving the game when it happens.
The game also uses a score-system, traditional to Sierra adventure games like King's Quest. The score indicates how much of the game's plot the player has uncovered during the story. While the player must complete certain events to advance the storyline, other events, such as overhearing a conversation or recording info, are optional, but add more points to the score. While the score system gives some replay ability to the game, giving players a chance to try and get the full score, no reward is given for completing the game with a full score; the player can achieve a score out of 965, with actions having various point amounts from 1 to 25.
Gabriel Knight comes from a long line of Schattenjägers ("Shadow Hunters") whose mission is to fight various seemingly paranormal entities. As detailed in the Gabriel Knight 3 Graphic Novel, featured as either a hard-copy or scanned on the game CD, it has been four years since their last case (The Beast Within) and Gabe and Grace are invited to the estate of Prince James of Albany, who is descended from the House of Stuart, the exiled monarchs of Scotland. He reveals that his family is plagued by bizarre vampire-like creatures he calls Night Visitors. Prince James asks Gabriel to protect his infant son Charlie. However, while guarding the baby Grace mysteriously falls asleep and Gabe is paralyzed and forced to watch as a shadowy figure enters the room and takes the child. Gabriel follows the kidnappers when he recovers, to a train station in the south of Paris, and boards one heading south that they board, where he is knocked unconscious by the kidnappers once on it.
The game's opening movie begins with Gabe waking up and hearing one of the kidnappers utter the words San Greal. When the train stops Gabriel, who begins to recover finds himself in Couiza, in the South of France. A night porter spots him, sees the state he is, and despite informing him of the fact the kidnappers got off, helps him to take a cab to Rennes-le-Château where he checks into the local hotel. Thus begins his effort to unravel the mystery.
In the morning of July 7th, he makes a phone call to Prince James informing him of what happened, and finds that his employer decides not to pursue the matter and offers to pay him for his work, telling Gabriel to keep going on with his investigation until his men arrive. While checking out the town, he finds out that there is a tour group staying at the hotel, in which a few of the members got in late just after him. Amongst the group is his old friend, Franklin Mosely from New Orleans, who claims to be on holiday, though Gabriel suspects there's more to it than that. In addition to meeting him, he also meets with the others of the tour, including Madeline Buthane, the group's leader, Lady Lily Howard, an British actress, and Estelle Stiles, Howard's close friend, Emilio Baza, a middle-easterner at some point (as he states), John Wilkes, an Australian with a keen interest in the region, and Vittorio Buchelli, an Italian tourist more interested in the history of the area. All of the group, with the exception of Buchelli, have a keen interest in a treasure hidden in the region around Rennes-le-Château, which Gabriel finds has connections to the Holy Grail, the translation for San Greal that he heard on the train. Along with the tour group, he also meets Abbe Arnaud, who works at the local church and helps him with his investigations into the area, pointing him to a Templar researcher living in the valley, Larry Chester.
After meeting with the people and exploring town, Gabriel meets with Mosely, and discusses his current case. His friend takes a keen interest in it but doesn't shed much light on the matter; neither hearing a baby or the two men and the trunk. This prompts Gabriel to try to explore the area, in which using his friend's passport, amongst other items, he snags a Harley Davidson Motorcycle from the local rental shop. Gabriel soon begins making enquiries in the valley. At Couiza's station, Gabriel discovers that the kidnappers had a black sedan waiting for them at the station, the baby, who had been put into a trunk, safely put into it, which then disappeared in the direction of Rennes-le-Château, while also discovering one of the tour group had lied about how they arrived in the area. At Larry Chester's house, he learns more about the Templars, the holy grail, his book, and his views on the treasure, before exploring the valley and meeting some of the tour group out and about in the area (A subtle reference to Dune can be found by the player if they are good enough to find it).
Once he has gathered enough information in the valley, he returns to town, where he finds Prince James' men, Mallory and McDougall, waiting for him with Grace. After being paid for his work by the pair who leave, Gabriel informs Grace that he plans to continue the investigation, and decides to follow the men, but not before telling her she'll have to stay in his room because of the hotel being fully booked and also to look into a couple of matters on SIDNEY, a program she designed for their cases. His efforts in tailing the men lead him to discover that the Abbe and Larry are somewhat involved in the matter; the Abbe is warned of negotiations being stopped if the child is not returned, while Larry is greeted with a weird series of handshakes, making Gabriel add them both to his list of suspects. Upon returning to the hotel, he, Grace and Mosely, who discovered Grace had arrived, discuss the case and Gabriel findings from tailing the men. Repeating the handshake, Mosely reveals it to be masonic, before the group talk about Freemasons and what Arnaud's involvement is. In the end, they make plans for their investigations, in which Gabriel decides to stay behind the next day to gather clues on the guests from their rooms, while Grace decides to join the tour group with Mosely and learn more about the connection between the case and the treasure.
The following day (July 8th), Grace gets Buthane to let her join (though at a higher price than was offered to Gabriel), and also discovers a book on the Holy Grail outside their room. After informing the Abbe about the tour, who decides to join it, she meets up with the others in the hotel's dining room before the group heads out to see the sights. During the visits to a couple of tourist attractions, Grace picks up information on the treasure and a document called Le Serpent Rouge, which she learns is a riddle supposed to have connections to the treasure and finding it, but is very rare to find.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Gabriel searches the rooms of the others and uncovers new information on some of the guests; Vito came from Rome and has items linking him to the Church, while Buthane is carry serious equipment, including a handgun. The British pair on the other hand, are carrying documents of an unknown origin, and Wilkes has mostly items helping him on hunting the treasure and a letter showing Gabriel that he is not quite the fool he looks to be, while Emilio has an odd cloth under his pillow and a picture of Jesus which is out of place with him. At the church's office, Gabriel discovers that the Abbe has a keen interest in European politics. After hunting for clues, and returning items where they belonged, Gabriel decides to get some lunch with the hotel's cleaning lady, Roxanne; part of an excuse to Jean, the hotel clerk to keep him from being suspicious about his morning activities.
The group, meanwhile, reach a local vineyard, Chateau de Serres, owned by Excelsior Montreaux, where Grace hears sounds of a baby at the place while exploring. Finding a way in, Grace attempts to find the source, which comes from the cellar (the player's actions determines whether they get in stealthily through the building or have to use the outside doors to the cellar), only to find it is the sound of a wine press. Even so, Grace suspects the vineyard owner is suspicious and adds him to the list. As the group arrive at their next destination, the Devil's Armchair, they come across a gruesome sight; the bodies of Prince James' men, who have been murdered.
When Gabriel learns of this from Grace (the other members in the group are quite shocked by the discovery as he soon finds out), he heads out and meets with Mosely at the crime scene, where the pair gather clues as to what had happened. Gabriel experiences weird visions in doing so, but deduces the killers made the men kneel somewhere near to where their bodies were found, before killing them; he holds back a bit of info on the fact the killers were hovering above the ground, not sure if Mosely would believe him on it. The pair leave soon after gathering enough information and clues, but not before running into Buthane who reports she called the French Police to investigate the matter. Gabriel returns to the hotel, and learns from Grace about the book, revealing some interesting info in it to him, before suggesting he investigates the local vineyard. Gabriel makes further enquiries about what happened.
Meeting with Larry, Gabriel reveals what he saw the previous night, including the handshake, angering him at being spied on. When Gabriel leaves, he sneaks around the side of the house, and discovers the researcher setting his alarm for 2:00am, prompting him to do the same back at the hotel (a wake up call for the same time). When he visits Montreaux, he gains insight in the vineyard owners thoughts on the treasure, wines, grapes, viticulture and the holy grail. He soon returns to the hotel and decides to continue investigating later that night, making a phone call to Prince James to inform him of his men's deaths. This prompts Prince James to inform Gabriel to continue his investigation and find out more, as he now is the only hope of finding his infant son. After taking care of the matter, he informs the other two of his findings before he and Mosely head off for dinner.
Grace, meanwhile, heads to the local museum to gather more information on her side of the investigation, and discovers an envelope posted to the door containing Le Serpent Rouge and quickly works on it with her computer, discovering it to contain cryptic verses and words, hinting to documents, information and so forth, which she uses to plot various shapes and other parts to a map of the area (a map Gabriel scanned in that he found in Buthane's room), to help her find the treasure. After solving several parts, she finds Wilkes in a good mood, who claims he may have struck gold in his hunt of the treasure. Using seismology to uncover anything hidden, along with satellites, Wilkes reveals he found something right beneath the valley, but in a drunken state, after he and Grace spent the evening together and return to his room, he tries to make a pass on Grace, but is quickly dealt with by her, who leaves him to recover from his intoxication. Leaving, she runs into Gabriel and decides to relay her findings to him and Mosely than explain what she was doing with the Australian.
Upon receiving his wake up call from the hotel during the night, Gabriel heads out to learn what Larry was planning to do, and spies on him outside his house. He watches the researcher bury something in land out back and digs it up after he leaves. To his surprise, Gabriel discovers he was hiding a manuscript that was not on Templars but on something else; it details bloodlines of a unique nature, and reveals his surname to be Sinclair, not Chester. Upon recovering it, he returns to his bike to head back and spots the black sedan passing by, which he tries to pursue, but loses it in the dark. Unable to find it again, he returns to the hotel to go back to sleep, where a nightmarish dream of vampires, makes him realize his true feelings for Grace, and, with her allowing it, both wind up sleeping together.
In the morning (July 9th), Grace resumes her work, and continues deciphering more of Le Serpent Rouge while gathering more information and visiting the valley to pinpoint co-ordinates that she makes on her computer, uncovering an unusual note waiting for her at one location. When Gabriel wakes after she makes some headway into the riddle, he explains about the manuscript he found along with Larry's real name. Unknown to the pair, Mosely, who enters and sees it, takes a keen interest in the manuscript, but before he gets a chance to look into it, Gabriel leads him out, and reveals what he did with Grace, much to Mosely's disgust. Following this, Gabriel overhears the staff, Jean and Roxanne, commenting on how Wilkes had disappeared, and a number of his papers and items had gone missing, yet his suitcase and toiletries have not. Gabriel convinces the cleaner to let him check the room, and discovers no natural signs of problems, except the disappearance of his paperwork which he had seem the previous day; the clerk believes Wilkes is just out and will likely be back, though Gabriel is not convinced.
Needing answers to the manuscript and the Australian's disappearance, he heads out into the valley for more information, meeting with Larry, who reveals the truth behind why he lives in the area; he was a Freemason, investigating the area under the pretense of a researcher, and reveals that the Templars had great connections to the area, though no information on why. He also informs Gabriel of the serious nature of the manuscript he took and instructs him to bring it back before anything happens to it. After the meeting, Gabriel continues searching, and visits a local tourist site, L'homme Mort, where he finds footprints, leading him to find out where Wilkes went to; the Australian is found dead near the site, with a letter upon him on hotel stationary, revealing he had gotten close to a major discovery, prompting Gabriel to suspect the killers silenced him before he found it, in the same manner as the previous victims.
Upon returning to the hotel a few times, he spots Mosely leaving his room with a bundle under his arms, and then Buthane in the same manner from Mosely's room. Returning to meet with Grace, he reveals his findings including Wilkes' death, before asking her on a few things and then for the manuscript to be handed back. Grace notices it has gone from the room, and Gabriel suspects what has happened to it; he also spots Prince James arriving in town outside the hotel, and knowing he can't be seen by him without it, asks Grace to locate it for him. She agrees, and has Gabriel give her the keys to the motorcycle when he decides to take Mosely away to 'talk' with him about it. She uses the time wisely to continue deciphering more of Le Serpent Rouge, and finding more sites connected to the treasure and a few notes; at one site, she finds a personal item of Wilkes, leading her to find what he had been searching for that had gotten him killed. She also witnesses Vito carrying a bundle under his arms out of Buthane's room, before burying it near a local landmark. Recovering it, she finds fingerprints on it, and links them to the individuals who took it, before returning to the hotel with it, where Mosely brings her to the dining room.
Once there, she and Gabriel confront the three thieves, and reveal what they know of them; Gabriel points out that Mosely took the manuscript first, then Buthane, before Vito took it, to which Grace explains that he then buried it afterwards. Gabriel deduces that Vito is a Vatican priest sent from Rome to investigate matters in the area, and Buthane works for the French Internal Secret Service. Mosely, on the other hand, reveals that he works now for the CIA, and all three reveal their agendas for being in the area. Gabriel then reveals what he is doing, and when Vito and Buthane learn of the news, they reveal enough to show that they had no part in the crime; they are taken off the suspect list. Gabriel also removes most of the others, Arnaud after uncovering who he works for, and the British tourists and Baza, leaving Montreaux who he still has suspicions for. Taking the manuscript, Gabriel returns it to Prince James, who he then reveals his findings to. After discussing further on the investigation, he heads out to the vineyard to chat with Montreaux once again, and uncover more information from him. The conversation they have this time, is rather unsettling, forcing him to leave. Deciding to take one quick look around the place, Gabriel soon makes an alarming discovery; the black sedan, parked in a garage on the vineyard with bats above it. This confirms Montreaux as the guilty party, but forces Gabriel to make a run for it, when he is spotted by the kidnappers in the courtyard, who recognize him from the train.
While Gabriel attempts to lose his pursuers, Grace tails Emilio, who heads out for a secret meeting with Prince James' assistant, Mesmi, behind the local church. Along the way, she also, if the player uncovers enough evidence, deduces who left the envelope at the museum, and confronts the culprit, learning the reason behind it, and returns it for a photo of an artifact of notable interest. Returning to the hotel, Grace meets with Emilio, and learns the truth behind his visit to the area, and why neither she, nor Gabriel, could get prints from him; Emilio is part of a group called the Magi, who have been protecting the bloodline of the Son of God, Jesus. Emilio reveals how he has returned to the area because of the secret it contains, and how he intends to remove it from here because of the danger posed to it. The news of Prince James' son being in danger prompted him to provide assistance to both Grace and Gabriel during their investigations.
When Gabriel returns, he reveals what he found out, before Grace reveals more of her findings, including where the infant has been taken. Backed by Mesmi, and Mosely, Gabriel heads to the site containing the Holy Grail, and with Grace's help, overcomes puzzles and traps, before reaching Montreuax, who is in the process of sacrificing the infant. Despite Montreaux's efforts in stopping him, including summoning the demon, Asmodeus, Gabriel defeats it, killing Montreaux in the process. Finding the infant unharmed, Gabriel discovers what the holy grail is, and uncovers the truth behind his lineage. Emilio soon arrives, and removes the Grail from the site, but not before it's secret is passed onto James' son.
Upon returning to the hotel, the tour group and the Abbe, quickly ask about what happened, and the child's safety. Although Buthane tries to flirt with Gabriel during the moment, he rejects her advances, revealing who his heart belongs to. When he returns to his room, however, he finds that Grace has left, having headed out to follow her own path at the suggestion of Emilio, much to Gabriel's sorrow despite completing the case with her help.
By the time work began on Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, it was already clear to the development team that it would be the final Gabriel Knight game. Jane Jensen remarked that "We were the last dinosaur on the block. We had until the game shipped, and then it would be over." Nonetheless, Sierra felt the series should move to 3D graphics to keep up with the times. The development team had little experience with or understanding of the format; when programmer Scott Bilas was brought on board mid-production, he was told that the game was nearly finished, only to find that the team had left out a number of features that were needed to make the game playable.
The team's struggles with the technology led to a number of delays. Alluding to an infamous puzzle early in the game in which Knight must use tape to get hair from a cat and use it to make a fake mustache, Bilas recalled, "It was terrible! There was something that Jane [Jensen] wanted to do that was just too hard, too expensive, too complicated to make it happen. I think our producer came up with the cat puzzle [as a replacement]. I'm pretty sure Jane didn't like it. None of the developers liked it, but we were really late and needed to get something in there."
The game's score was composed by David Henry, based on themes created by the series' original composer, Robert Holmes. In every Gabriel Knight game, the popular gospel hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In" can be heard, albeit in different remixes and forms. In Gabriel Knight 3 it can be heard in the San Greal Tavern in Rennes-les-Bains.
|Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned|
Gabriel Knight 3 received fairly positive reviews from critics. IGN said the game "proves that adventure games still have some life left in them" and provides "a welcome change for the action-heavy PC market" with "[an] excellent story and well worked out plot". At the same time, they criticized Tim Curry's voice-over, "a cold and over exaggerated interpretation of the southern accent", and the switch to 3D which they felt "is not yet ready to depict the emotions and feelings in the way actors can". GameSpot attested the sentiments about Curry's "terrible acting job", calling the "fake accent and overly dramatic delivery [...] almost unbearable". The dialogue was also criticized, as were the puzzles, the latter which fortunately "get better as the story progresses". The story itself was more positively received, including "some excellent plot elements" and "fascinating" connections between fact and fiction. Adventure Gamers found some of the smaller puzzles "outright silly", but at the same time the vast Le Serpent Rouge "one of the best designed puzzles in adventure gaming history". The storyline with its "interesting narratives" was called "epic in every sense of the word" and the game "ultimately a success".
Works with similar themes
- Kollar, Phil (2012). "Hunting Shadows: The Rise and Fall of Gabriel Knight". Game Informer (229): 98–99.
- Ravipinto, Dan (2004-01-30). "Gabriel Knight 3 Review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- Wolpaw, Erik (1999-12-10). "Gabriel Knight III: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned for PC Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- Jojic, Uros (1999-12-03). "Gabriel Knight III: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Gabriel Knight III: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (pc: 1999)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned for Windows". MobyGames. Retrieved 2008-03-31.