As the brainchild of writer and series creator Jane Jensen, Sierra’s 1993 original Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, was a point and click adventure title both engaging in its dark content and intelligent in its puzzle design.
In the vein of heroes like Murder She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher and The Adventures of Tintin’s erm… Tintin, Gabriel Knight is a creative professional way out of his depth. A scruffy yet insightful slob, Gabriel is the kind of anti-hero that presents a level of loveable believability not afforded to the likes of many squeaky-clean heroic characters.
The owner of St George’s Rare Books, Gabriel is a slovenly hack mystery writer, whose research into a new book entangles him in a mess of gruesome voodoo murders springing up around 1990s New Orleans. Gabriel is in for more than he bargained for, and hilarity, puzzle solving, and horrific violence ensue.
Only being five years old at the time of its release, I was way too young to be playing the original game when I did at around age seven. Never actually owning the game, and owing to the ephemeral nature of older software, it took me several years and many replays before I eventually finished it at around 16 years of age. Ridiculously, my first-ever completion involved a 60-minute speedrun as a result of a mistake I made right at the end of the game that caused me to start all over again. As such, the puzzles and story are pretty firmly engrained in my memory and I could probably recite step-by-step the process for finishing it for anyone willing to listen, which is likely no one.
Fast-forward to 2014 and the childlike glee with which the now 26-year-old me exploded at the news Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition’s imminent arrival. I was however skeptical as to the necessity of this remake, as I would still play the original as a GOG.com release in perfect nostalgic happiness. And that’s just the problem I think, whilst I did enjoy playing it and taking in the lovely updated and clearer textures and models, this game did not need to be remade. A fact further exacerbated by the inclusion of several annoying and finicky bugs often with the games speech and models.
Another strange choice is that several parts and puzzles of the game have been removed or altered in favour of other less faithful ones. On that note, the original speech track has been redone, glossing over Tim Curry’s amazing performance of Gabriel’s southern drawl.
All this aside,Maybe it’s the writer in me that loves the character of Gabriel so much, or the fact that the game sprung forth from the mind of a writer, but it really shows in the depth of the characters and weaving of the narrative, even if it does go a bit over-the-top by the end of the game.
It is still unknown whether or not we will ever see another Gabriel Knight sequel, the two that followed Sins of the Fathers never hit it as big as the first game in the series ever did.
Whilst the remake of this game is a tad unnecessary, the story is as enjoyable as it ever was, and I would recommend it for the fans of the series who haven’t given Sins of the Fathers a go in a while. Or you could just play the original off GOG.com, your choice.