Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

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Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Gabriel Knight - Sins of the Fathers cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
Director(s)Jane Jensen[1]
Bill Crow
Producer(s)Robert Holmes[1]
John E. Grayson
Designer(s)Jane Jensen
Programmer(s)Tom DeSalvo[1]
Artist(s)Terrence C. Falls
Darlou Gams
Gloria Garland
Writer(s)Jane Jensen
Bridget McKenna
Composer(s)Robert Holmes
SeriesGabriel Knight
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
Genre(s)Point-and-click adventure
Mode(s)Single player

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a 1993 point-and-click adventure game written, designed, and directed by Jane Jensen, and published by Sierra On-Line. It is the first game of the Gabriel Knight series. Sins of the Fathers follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of a rare book store, and fledgling writer, as he investigates a series of local murders he plans to use as the basis for his new novel. Its CD-ROM version includes voice-acting by Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Leah Remini among others. A remake titled Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition, co-developed by Jane Jensen's Pinkerton Road and Phoenix Online Studios, was released for Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android on October 15, 2014.



The icon bar gameplay screenshot

Sins of the Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. Its story unfolds, mostly linearly, over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions which must be performed before proceeding to the next day. However, within each day, play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game, a running score is kept as new challenges, both required and optional, are completed.[3]

Unlike newer graphical adventure games using context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the Fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" so that the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on- screen object.[5] The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: "WALK", "LOOK", "ASK", "TALK", "PICKUP", "OPEN/CLOSE", "OPERATE", and "MOVE". Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle.[6] Also located on the "icon bar" are the "INVENTORY" and "RECORDER" buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the "CONTROLS" and "HELP" buttons. Clicking on the "INVENTORY" button will open the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use "READ", "OPEN", and "LOOK" commands with any inventory item.

The "ASK" and "TALK" cursors differ in their functions. The "TALK" cursor functions as a short, general, interaction with most characters. The "ASK" cursor is available in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the displayed list. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists, while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the "RECORDER" button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.

At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code.


The game begins in Gabriel's store, St. George's Books, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having suffered a recurring nightmare, Gabriel learns from his assistant, Grace, that his friend Mosely has photos for him to help him with his book based on a spate of killings across New Orleans, dubbed the "Voodoo Murders", mostly because the killings have Louisiana Voodoo overtones. During his visit to the police station, Gabriel discovers his friend is attending another similar murder at Lake Pontchartrain. While there, Gabriel and Mosely spot Malia Gedde, an African-American socialite, pull up to the crime scene. Gabriel becomes infatuated with her, and later has Grace determine where she lives, posing as Mosely to meet her. Gabriel also investigates the voodoo angle of the murders, tracking down more information on a partial pattern, and any snake scales that could be matched with one found at the scene. During his investigations, Gabriel meets a number of individuals connected to the voodoo scene, including a voodoo museum's curator, Dr. John, and a member of a French Creole family. He also meets with a Professor Hartridge at Tulane University, who, upon being shown a reconstruction of the pattern from the crime scene made from additional partials from the other murders, identifies it as a vévé that is used in Voodoo. Hartridge agrees to examine and do more research to discover its origins while Gabriel continues his work.

Mosely brings in a known crook and drug addict named Crash to interrogate for information on the murders, but learns nothing of use. Gabriel manages to get information from Crash after spying him visit a rada drummer in Jackson Square, where he learns that the murders are connected to a Voodoo Cartel. Before he can learn more, Crash dies, forcing Gabriel to look elsewhere for information. To his annoyance, Gabriel learns that Mosely has ended the investigation, claiming it was the work of gangsters from Chicago, though he knows otherwise. Gabriel forces him to reopen the case after recovering plenty of information proving the voodoo element of the murders is real. He demonstrates that the cartel is a threat by showing him a newspaper article from 1810 that describes a murder done in the same manner. He convinces him that the group killed Hartridge because he had uncovered information on the reconstructed vévé; and evidence was found linking Dr. John to the murders – a scale from the python in his museum. Mosely soon disappears, suspecting the cartel might have influence on the police, after learning no-one would help him. Gabriel confirms this chilling truth when he goes to Mosely's office to retrieve a tracking device.

During his investigation, Gabriel learns more about his family while visiting his grandmother. He learns that they originally came from Germany, that his grandfather changed his name, and that his grandfather mentioned something called Schattenjäger. His grandfather's original name helps Gabriel realize that a man named Wolfgang Ritter is a long lost relative; this prompts him to call him. Ritter invites Gabriel to come to Germany, but, after learning that the cartel is having a meeting in the Bayou St. John, he decides to pursue matters in New Orleans first. Gabriel, in disguise, tracks the location of the meeting in the swamp and discovers the cartel is headed by Malia. He realizes that she is possessed by a Loa spirit named Tetelo, who identifies him as a witch-hunter. Gabriel is rescued by Grace before anything can happen to him. Later he calls Ritter about what he has found out. He soon learns that "Schattenjäger" comes from two words meaning "Shadow Hunter", a sort of modern-day inquisitor, and that his family has been involved in it. Worse, Tetelo stole a talisman of immense power from one of Gabriel's ancestors. She had it hidden with her remains, after she was discovered to have been involved in voodoo murders centuries ago, and was burned to death as a result. Unable to find her remains in the Gedde's family tomb in New Orleans, Gabriel travels to Bavaria, Germany to meet Ritter and to research the second possible location where her remains were taken.

In Germany, at Schloss Ritter, the family's home, he meets a German woman named Gerde who tells him that, shortly before Gabriel's arrival, Wolfgang disappeared after visiting his library. She has no idea of its location in the house. Searching the building for it, Gabriel undergoes an initiation ritual for Schattenjägers hoping that it will help him find it. During that night's sleep, he is visited in his dreams by a dragon who initiates him, passing onto him the mantle of Schattenjäger. In the morning, Gabriel discovers the library is attached to Wolfgang's bedroom. He learns from the books that Tetelo's remains are hidden in Benin in a snake mound of a "wheel within a wheel". Travelling to Africa, Gabriel ventures into the snake mound when, upon solving a puzzle, he finds himself dodging mummies. He meets Wolfgang, who helps him to get into the inner chamber of the mound where the pair attempt to open a sacrificial table. In the process, Wolfgang is killed, leaving Gabriel angry at Tetelo and swearing vengeance on the spirit.

Returning to New Orleans, Gabriel learns, from a note left by Malia, that Grace has been kidnapped. In the note, Malia urges him to leave New Orleans or face being killed. Meeting with Mosely at his book store, the pair learn the cartel's power is strong, but decide to shut them down. Gabriel travels to the location he believes their hounfour, a sort of voodoo temple, is hidden, and manages to find Grace. Using disguises, Gabriel interrupts the cartel's latest ritual, and wards off Tetelo, destroying a stone idol that powers the Gedde tribe. During this moment, Gabriel becomes torn between fulfilling his duty as a Schattenjäger, or saving Malia.

The game can end in two ways. If Gabriel fulfills his duty, he is killed by an angered Malia, and both Grace and Mosely reflect on what Gabriel did and whether it could have ended differently. If he chooses to save Malia, Tetelo tries to stop him, but Malia regains control and realizes that Tetelo is a threat, and that the cartel will do more damage if she remains, so kills herself to end the Loa's hold. Both Gabriel and Grace reflect on the former's new status and his future, before Grace notes that Gabriel seemed to have changed, though a passing remark makes her realize she was wrong.


The plot and atmosphere of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was inspired by the film Angel Heart.[7] Game designer/director Jane Jensen recalled that she was given a great deal of freedom in creating the game's concept: "One of the great things about Sierra was that Ken Williams really believed in the artistic vision. If he gave you the chance to do a game, that was your responsibility. Nobody told you what to do with it. If it didn't sell, then you wouldn't do another game for him, but he would let you have that freedom."[8]

During development, Sierra's SCI game engine was upgraded to "SCI 32", and the team struggled to switch Gabriel Knight onto the new engine. Because of this, Jensen later wrote that they "fought bugs and snafus for six months. Despite this, we made our Christmas date – it just made what had been a very smooth project a bear."[9]


Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was first released in North America by Sierra On-Line cross-format as both a single CD-ROM disc and as a set of eleven 3.5" floppy disks on December 17, 1993. The CD-ROM version, besides voice acting, also included video sequences that, in the floppy version were included as a sequence of still images.[3] The game has been subsequently re-released both individually and as Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition,[10] a compilation with the first sequel, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery.[11]

Release Listings:[10]

MAC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (US) – 1994
PC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of our Fathers (US) – 1993
PC – Best of Sierra No. 1 (UK) – 1997
PC – Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition (US) – 1998
PC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (Good Old Games) (US) – 2010


Sins of the Fathers
Aggregate score
Review scores
Adventure Gamers5/5[3]
AllGameMac: 4/5[13]
PC (floppy): 3.5/5[14]
PC (CD): 3.5/5[15]
Just AdventureA[16]
Adventure Classic Gaming5/5[17]
Adventure Lantern90/100[18]
Computer Game Review1994 Adventure Game of the Year[20]
Computer Gaming WorldAdventure Game of the Year, June 1994[21]
CES1993 Best of Show[20]

Gabriel Knight was not a major commercial hit. According to Todd Vaughn of PC Gamer US, "Jensen's hope for a King's Quest-sized success fell a little short of the mark."[22] The game and its sequel, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery, sold a total of 300,000 copies by December 1998.[23]

When previewing the game in November 1993, Computer Gaming World's Johnny L. Wilson stated the opening sequence "was the first time I've actually experienced fear when viewing a computer game". He wrote that "Gabriel Knight is an exceptional blend of art, game and understanding. It is mature audiences for all the right reasons".[24] In March 1994, the magazine's Charles Ardai stated that Gabriel Knight justified being called an interactive movie, with "audio and video that outshines any cartoon and a story that could scare the bejeebers out of Stephen King ... one of the rare titles that lives up to the promise of the overhyped tag 'multimedia.'" He praised the "exceptionally well-performed game"'s voice actors, but observed that the large conversation trees reduced the horror and tension. Ardai liked how "Gabriel Knight throws the player convincingly into the world of satanism and live sacrifice, of seedy and lecherous New Orleans", predicting that "Gabriel has the makings of a first-rate series character, albeit a troubled and disturbing one". He concluded that the game "is really a preposterous bit of silliness" but "top-notch Hollywood-quality entertainment".[25] In April 1994 the magazine said that the CD version—"the only one to own"—was "Challenging and thought-provoking, an experience not to be missed, for those mature enough to handle it".[26]

In June 1994 Gabriel Knight and Day of the Tentacle won Computer Gaming World's Adventure Game of the Year award. The editors wrote that the former "introduced elements from graphic novels ... nightmarish dream sequences and a dark human story that reads and plays extremely well". Virginia Capers won the Best Female Voice-Over Acting award. The editors had expected to give the award to someone portraying a specific character but were "totally overwhelmed" by Capers as the narrator, stating that "Her performance alone makes it worthwhile to purchase the CD version".[21] In 1996 the magazine listed a zombie ripping out the player's heart as #7 on its list of "the 15 best ways to die in computer gaming".[27]

In 2011, Adventure Gamers named Gabriel Knight the 16th-best adventure game ever released.[28]


The comic book based on the game, originally included with the physical copy of the video game, was later posted in Sierra Studios's page.[29]

20th Anniversary Edition[edit]

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition
Developer(s)Pinkerton Road Studio
Publisher(s)Phoenix Online Publishing (Phoenix Online Studios LLC)
SeriesGabriel Knight
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.6, iOS 8.0, Android 4.0
Release2014-10-15 (Mac OS, Win)[30]
2015-07-23 (Android, iOS)[31]
Genre(s)Point-and-click adventure
Mode(s)Single player

On October 8, 2013, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition was announced for the PC and Mac.[32][33] It was developed by Jane Jensen's new studio Pinkerton Road Studios and released by Phoenix Online Studios on October 15, 2014. The reimagining[34] includes improved graphics, a remastered soundtrack, and new puzzles and game play. A version of the game for Android and iOS was released on July 23, 2015.[35] A Linux version was said to be coming at the time of the game's announcement but the statement was later retracted.[36][37]

MP3 soundtrack was unlocked for all buyers in 2013-12-13.[38]


The development was announced when Jane Jensen solicited a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of 3 games.[39] The Kickstarter page[40] included a US$16 pledge level listed 'Mystery Game X', which is also included in all the exceeding pledge levels. The campaign's funding level has never reached the $600,000 needed to justify developing Mystery Game X, so the game was developed without crowdfunding campaign.[41]


Series creator Jane Jensen created a 3-part comic based on the 20th Anniversary Edition video game, which took place six months after his last quest, ’The Temptation’. Chapter 1 was released in 17 December 2014.[42] Chapter 2 was later released with Chapter 1 in single file.[43] Chapter 3 was released with Chapters 1 and 2 in single file.[44]


  1. ^ a b c Jensen, Jane (1993). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Technical Manual". Sierra Online, Inc.: 35–36. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Release Information for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
  3. ^ a b c d "Adventure Gamers : Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Review by Quandary". Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  6. ^ Jensen, Jane (1993). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Technical Manual". Sierra Online, Inc.: 7–8. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "DetectiveMosely comments on "I am Jane Jensen, creator of Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter and Pinkerton Road game studio. Ask me anything."". Archived from the original on 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  8. ^ Kollar, Phil (2012). "Hunting Shadows: The Rise and Fall of Gabriel Knight". Game Informer (229): 98–99.
  9. ^ Jensen, Jane (June 4, 1998). "Designer Diaries; Gabriel Knight 3". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 24, 1999. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". GameSpot / CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  11. ^ "The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery". Adventure Classic Gaming. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Reviews". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  13. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  14. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  15. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers CD-ROM > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  16. ^ "Review: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  17. ^ "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers – Review – Adventure Classic Gaming". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  18. ^ "Gabriel Knight Review – Adventure Lantern". Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  19. ^ "Gabriel Knight Review -". Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  20. ^ a b "The Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Overview". Archived from the original on 2001-06-26. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  21. ^ a b "Announcing The New Premier Awards". Computer Gaming World. June 1994. pp. 51–58.
  22. ^ Vaughn, Todd (November 1995). "The Beast Within". PC Gamer US. 2 (11): 44–46.
  23. ^ Gornstein, Leslie (December 10, 1998). "Violence Not Wanted: Can't We Play Nice?". Orange County Register. p. C01.
  24. ^ Wilson, Johnny L. (November 1993). "Between Dark And Daylight / Gabriel Knight Explores The Shades of Gray". Computer Gaming World. pp. 14–15. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  25. ^ Ardai, Charles (March 1994). "Voices In The Knight". Computer Gaming World. pp. 32–36.
  26. ^ "Invasion Of The Data Stashers". Computer Gaming World. April 1994. pp. 20–42.
  27. ^ "The 15 Best Ways To Die In Computer Gaming". Computer Gaming World. November 1996. p. 107. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  28. ^ AG Staff (December 30, 2011). "Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  29. ^ Graphic Novel
  30. ^ Gabriel Knight Out Now!
  31. ^ Gabriel Knight is Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets!
  32. ^ Jensen, Jane (8 October 2013). "jensen_jane". Twitter. Twitter Inc. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  33. ^ Bittar, Cesar (8 October 2013). "MGX Announced: Phoenix Online developing Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father Remake!". Phoenix Online Studios. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  34. ^
  35. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (July 23, 2015). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers remake now on iOS and Android". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  36. ^ Hathaway, Weldon (8 October 2013). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Remake Announced!". Pinkerton Road Studio Official Forum. Pinkerton Road Studio. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  37. ^ Hathaway, Weldon (27 November 2013). "GK *not* releasing on Linux". Pinkerton Road Studio Official Forum. Pinkerton Road Studio. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  38. ^ Gabriel Knight – Bonus Content Update – A Special Unlock for All Schattenjaegers
  39. ^ A few words from Jane Jensen!
  40. ^ Jane Jensen's Moebius and Pinkerton Road Studio
  41. ^ Gabriel Knight and starvation wages at Pinkerton Road
  42. ^ Gabriel Knight: The Temptation Comic (chapter 1)
  43. ^ Gabriel Knight: The Temptation Comic
  44. ^ Gabriel Knight – The Temptation Full Comic

External links[edit]

20th Anniversary Edition[edit]