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, in 1998, between the days of the 7th and the 10th, and involves 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 in the game, with a command bar appearing 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 pre-scripted 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 for each segment of the game, in which players perform various actions, such as talking to someone in a location, and picking up an item, between a certain time-span, or a 'time-block' (such as the first one of 10am-12pm on the game's first day). Time does not move in this block, nor does the player have two hours to complete it, but rather moves when certain key actions, such as acquiring case-relevant information, is performed, at which point the game shifts to the next block, signalled by a ticking clock, where before moving into the next segment, the player can save their game; minor shifts can occur in a segment and are signalled by the same sound. When time shifts, characters in the game can shift to other locations and doing routines for that segment (such as having lunch). The game provides a simple Hint system, but its design is only for certain moments, in which, for both characters, it is used on the Region map, to highlight which locations to go to, while it also works with the major puzzle of the game, highlighting what the player can do to solving the riddles in it.
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.
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Four years since their last case (The Beast Within), Gabriel and Grace are invited to the estate of Prince James of Albany in Paris, a descendant of the House of Stuart. He reveals to the pair that his family is plagued by bizarre vampire-like creatures he calls Night Visitors and asks them to protect his infant son, Charlie, from harm. However, the pair are prevented from stopping the child being kidnapped, and while Grace is stuck asleep, Gabe pursues the kidnappers onto a train. Despite being knocked out, he recovers enough to find himself in Couiza, in the South of France, before a porter helps him get a taxi to a hotel in Rennes-le-Château. The following morning, Gabe contacts Prince James about his whereabouts only to learn he is to be replaced by his men later in the evening and asked to investigate further until they arrive. Gabe, although not happy, agrees, and attempts to find out why the kidnappers came to the Languedoc region, learning that a tour group arrived in town at the same time as him. Amongst them, his old friend, Mosely, from New Orleans, mentions that the group are in the area to seek out a hidden treasure in the region. During the day, he meets up with the other members, including the group's French leader, Madeline Buthane, a British Actress, Lady Howard, and her friend Estelle Stiles, Australian treasure seeker, John Wilkes, former Middle-Eastern tourist, Emilio Baza, and Italian tourist, Vito Buchelli, along with a local French priest, Abbe Arnaud, and Scottish Templar researcher, Larry Chester. While exploring the town and the valley, Gabe learns the kidnapping could have a connection to the Holy Grail based on two words he heard and later translates - "San Grael". When Grace arrives that evening with Prince james' men, Gabe tails both of his replacements, Mallory and McDougal, witnessing a heated accusation against Arnaud that he was involved in the infant's abduction, and the pair giving Larry a Masonic handshake.
The next day, while Gabe searches the rooms of the tour group and the Abbe for evidence, Grace partakes in the tour to uncover the Grail's angle on the case, with the group visiting various sites including a vineyard owned by Excelsior Montreaux, whose home is considered unnatural by her. The tour is abruptly stopped when they come across the murdered bodies of Mallory and McDougal at one of the valley's tourist sites, and when Gabe investigates, he deduces the men were forced to kneel before having their throats slit and bodies drained of blood in a gruesome manner while they had made their own investigations. After relaying the deaths to James, who asks him to continue his work, Gabe visits Larry and reveals what he saw the night before, angering him and getting him ejected from his house, although Gabe soon finds him setting up a wake-up call for that night. Under the guise of a journalist at Grace's insistence, Gabe questions Montreaux at his vineyard about the Grail, Templars, and viticulture, and notes an oddness in the manner he uses to discuss the matters, including wine. While he and Mosely head off for dinner later that evening, Grace makes an attempt to visit the town's local museum, and finds a document taped to the door that she overheard of during the tour, called Le Serpent Rouge. Grace manages to work out a number of the riddles before spending the rest of the evening with Wilkes, learning that he had uncovered through a seismic survey, that there is a hollow under the valley, though leaves him when he makes a drunken pass on her. During the night, Gabe heads out to uncover what Larry wanted to do, and digs up a manuscript he buried behind his home, learning his true name as Larry Sinclair, and the topic of his work; a family tree linked to Jesus Christ. When he returns, a nightmare forces him to admit his feelings for Grace and the pair sleep together.
After Grace spends the early hours of the morning working on more riddles, Gabe reveals what he uncovred during the night, but although Mosely wants to read it, Gabe ushers him out and eventually reveals what he did with Grace during the night, much to his disgust. Following this, Gabe meets with Larry to discuss why the Freemasons are in the area when he learns of his connection to Prince James, and then later discovers the murdered body of Wilkes near another tourist site, after he learns he disappeared during the night, deducing that his recent findings had prompted someone to eliminate him. During this time, several individuals handle the manuscript that he had found; Mosely, Buthane, and Buchelli, with the latter burying it. Grace, who finishes solving the riddles of Le Serpent Rouge and pinpoints the Grail's location, recovers the manuscript, and all three are accused by her and Gabe of its theft. The latter deduces the role of all three; Buchelli is a Vatican priest, Buthane works for the French Internal Secret Service, and Mosely works now for the CIA, to which all three reveal their agendas for being in the area. Knowing that all three of them and most of the others, Arnaud, Estelle, Baza, and Howard, aren't involved in the kidnapping, Gabe has another meeting with Montreaux after returning the manuscript to James when he arrives in town, but the second conversation he has with the vintner is unsettling. Taking a quick check in his garage, Gabe uncovers evidence identifying him to be involved in Charlie's abduction, but is forced to escape from him and his men when spotted doing so.
While Gabe attempts to lose his pursuers, Grace tails Emilio, who heads out for a secret meeting with Prince James' assistant, Mesmi, behind the local church, while also learning about who left the document at the museum. Grace meets with Emilio soon after, and learns the truth behind his visit to the area; Emilio was part of a group called the Magi, who have been protecting the bloodline descendants of Jesus, from a rogue group of theirs, who seek to absorb the blood of the messiah for their own ends. Emilio reveals how he has returned to the area because of the secret it contains, and how he intends to remove it from the area because of the danger posed to it by the ones who kidnapped the child. The news of Prince James' son being in danger prompted him to provide assistance to both Grace and Gabriel during their investigations; Grace had learned during her work, that the words Gabe had heard were not "San Greal" but "Sang Real", meaning royal blood, marking Charlie as a descendant of Jesus. 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 a number of deadly puzzles and traps. During the time he spends dealing with them, Emilio reveals much about Jesus' life and the Magi's role to Grace, eventually revealing a major truth to his identity. Emilio had been a devoted member to the messiah, but on the day he was crucified, Emilio had taken some of his blood, drunk it, and immediately regretted his actions. Baza had been forced to walk in secret anonymity, earning the name of "Wandering Jew", and having to watch those of the bloodline being targeted by the rogue group as a result. After passing the traps and tests, Gabe soon arrives to find Montreuax in the process of sacrificing the infant. Despite Montreaux's efforts in stopping him, include 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, marking his lineage. Upon returning to the hotel, the tour group, hotel staff and the Abbe await in the lobby, and quickly ask about what happened, learning of the child's safety. Although Buthane tries to flirt with Gabriel during the moment, he rejects her advances, revealing who his heart belongs to, but 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.