Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a 1993 point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Sierra On-Line, Inc. (the former defunct Sierra Entertainment). It is the first game of the Gabriel Knight series and was first released in North America on December 17, 1993, but has been subsequently re-released both individually and as Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition, a compilation with The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery. The game 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.
Sins of the Fathers is set primarily in and around New Orleans and includes such real life locations as the French Quarter, Tulane University, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, Lake Pontchartrain and St. Louis Cemetery. The game also includes locations in Bavaria and Benin.
The game follows Gabriel as he follows the police investigation into a spate of killings which apparently have voodoo overtones. Gabriel is hoping to use the investigation as the basis of a new novel, but as the days of the case progress, he is drawn much deeper into a mystery which links the murder spree to the underworld of voodoo myth and practice, and towards a beautiful and mysterious New Orleans socialite. He also draws links between the case and a horrific recurring nightmare which has plagued him all of his life. Gabriel comes into contact with a lost relative in Germany who informs him of his family's heritage. Gabriel finds he has inherited the mantle of Schattenjäger (in English, literally 'shadow hunter'), a sort of modern day Inquisitor, and that only by embracing his calling can he overcome the curse which has almost wiped out the Schattenjäger line and is the cause of both his nightmares and the Voodoo Murders. Gabriel travels to Germany and Africa, before returning to New Orleans for the denouement and has to choose between love and forgiveness or fulfilling his duty (the game offers two endings which differ as a result of Gabriel's actions).
Sins of the Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. Its story unfolds over a sequence of 'days', each of which has a required set of actions to be performed before proceeding to the next. In this way, the game proceeds mostly linearly, since the puzzles on a given 'day' must be completed in order to reach the next day. However, within each day play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game a running score is added to as new challenges (both required and optional) are completed.
Unlike newer graphical adventure games that use context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the fathers uses 'dumb icons' or 'dumb cursors' in which the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on screen object. 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. 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 up 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.
'ASK' and 'TALK' differ in that 'ASK' results in 'interrogation mode' and is only available with main characters, while 'TALK' results in general, usually shorter, interactions and is available for most characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the list displayed. 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. Once the phrase is complete the player will select the SEND button to send the message.
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