Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tales from Bavaria with Mr. Gabriel Knight

When people ask me how I learned English, I proudly point out computer games, adventures mainly, as the single source of my achievement. Because Mr. Potter, our English teacher in middle school, probably was a garbage collector in his country, and definitely not a professor. He was mumbling about last days soccer game at his table usually. I remember the color on his face the day Galatasaray won over Man United, poor bastard. He always looked like he had suicidal tendencies, probably dead by now.

Anyway, here is one of those games that helped me achieve what Mr. Potter couldn`t: GABRIEL KNIGHT : THE BEAST WITHIN 

The game was released for PC and Mac in 1995 from Sierra, a once-triumphing developer and publisher. And guess what, it was produced entirely in full motion video. So imagine a low-res video that your old webcam used to shoot, it looked like that. 

Except the fact that the guy looked like he was floating on a still picture instead of stepping to the ground, it was marvelous for the time. Phantasmagoria looked somewhat better than this, but it was mainly because that game was shot in darker places, where you could not see the details. This guy tried harder, shooting things in Schwarzwald of Germany, where everything looks green. And because of all the videos, the game came in 5 CD-ROMs, or 3456 floppy disks.

The storyline weaved together a werewolf story and some Bavarian history with some sexual intrigue. Our guy, Gabriel, inherits a German castle in Bavaria, Germany and the legendary title of Schattenjaeger (means shadow hunter, unlike English, I learned proper German at school) comes together with the castle. 

A small girl gets killed in the village and the villagers give the task of investigating this to the Schattenjaeger, well to us. The catch is, they believe that the killer is a werewolf. We are not alone though, we got our Asian helper Grace Nakimura all along our quest. Along six chapters Gabriel and Nakimura conduct their investigations separately until the very end, where they join forces together and kill the bastard.

I remember the ending of the game being very difficult and was timing based, chasing a werewolf in a Wagner opera. It felt creepy at the time, may look ridiculous now - time is a bitch when it comes to technology. 

pics and additional info from retro-roms.blogspot and wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. Best post yet.
    I remember not playing this game because I thought it would be too scary. Not sure exactly why - Maybe the badly composited characters into the under-art directed backgrounds or the acting somehow less realistic than a 5 pixel police quest character..