Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game from Sierra On-Line, popularly known for the King's Quest and Space Quest series. It was created by novelist, and former Sierra On-Line employee Jane Jensen. Sins Of The Fathers was the first installment in a new franchise for Sierra in the mid-90's, and marked a more mature turn for the company's games. Far removed from the fairy tale universe of King's Quest and the zany craziness of Space Quest, Gabriel Knight followed an anti-hero plagued by disturbing nightmares through a murder mystery linked to voodoo and his own family's dark, mystical past.
The CD-ROM version of the game featured some of the highest production values for a multimedia game at the time, boasting the voice talents of Tim Curry and Mark Hamill among others. The game also featured an outstanding soundtrack for an adventure game of its time, which was composed and performed by Robert Holmes, husband of creator Jane Jensen.
Sins of the Fathers was followed up by Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, and concluded with Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the damned.
A novel based on the game was also released, and it follows the game closely.
The gameplay in Gabriel Knight consists of commanding Gabriel entirely via the mouse to interact with people and the environment to unravel the mystery of the Voodoo murders and progress the plot. The player has the Move, Operate, Open, Read, Inspect, Question, Talk to, Push, and Take commands as well as being able to use any items Gabriel has in his inventory on the environment, characters or each other.
Speaking with characters in the game also plays a large role in progressing the story by providing clues and plot points. Conversations are fully voiced and different characters will have different replies depending on plot progression and other circumstances. Gabriel records conversations via a tape recorder so conversations can later be reviewed by the player to help find clues.
The story is divided up into several chapters or days, and when the story has sufficiently progressed the day will end and the next chapter will start. It is however possible for the player to miss a necessary clue, item or action in an earlier chapter making that particular instance or play through impossible to finish.
While Gabriel has no health, there are several occurrences in the game that can lead to his death if not handled properly by the player.
Environments in Gabriel knight are colorful and static. They come in a wide variety of vantage points, and views. Characters are animated simply but convincingly with the use of early age motion capture technology. The game is also interspersed with several short live action clips and comic book panel animations used to progress the story. When entering a conversation, the player is also given a more in depth look at the characters facial features on a black background. These conversations are also successfully lip synced to the voice actors recorded dialogue.
Gabriel Knight has an extensive Midi Soundtrack that plays throughout the game with each location having it's own distinct background music. Characters, conversations and narration are also fully voiced (CD-ROM version) by voice actors.