This is the first game of the Gabriel Knight series.
"He started out writing a book on voodoo, now he's fighting for his very soul. Gabriel Knight is the last in a long line of Shadow Hunters, those fated to fight the dark forces of the supernatural. Haunted by a centuries old curse, he is tormented by terrifying nightmares. Now he must spend every waking moment scouring the side streets and back alleys of New Orleans for the key to his dark past. And when he sleeps—the nightmare begins."
The first game in the series follows Gabriel Knight on his daily life managing his bookstore and struggling to write a mystery novel. The game was praised for its strong use of dialogue to push the story and characterisation.
The game uses a system of "days", each of which has a required set of actions to be performed before proceeding to the next. As a result, linear dependencies of actions in the game are guaranteed to be resolved: a certain puzzle must be solved to be able to proceed to the third day, and this may be accomplished on either the first or second day, or require an event that takes place on a day prior to the third.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was designed with CD-ROM media in mind, and employs voice acting, video and graphic novel cutscenes. A floppy disk version was released which is devoid of voice acting as well as most of the digitized sound effects, and the videos are reduced to panel by panel flashes. Graphics and cut-scenes remain intact however, as well as all the content.
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When a series of strange murders with voodoo overtones occur near St. John's Eve, Gabriel begins an investigation for his book. He uncovers his heritage as a Shadowhunter and an ancient curse placed upon his family centuries ago when an ancestor in colonial Charleston failed in his duty. The curse has plagued Gabriel's family ever since and intertwines Gabriel's life with that of the voodoo killer. Gabriel's decision whether to choose love or duty as the priority in his actions provides two possible endings.
During the lead up to release, Sins of the Fathers was given a lot of hype and publicity by some of the large gaming magazines.
Later, a review was used a phrase that that Sierra uses on the package today: "The first time we have actually experienced fear from watching a computer game."
In 1995, just after the release of Roberta Williams' Phantasmagoria and a few months before Beast Within's release, Computer Gaming World gave a whole load of praise once more in its Horror Games Feature Article stating:
- "...it's elegantly paced and complex, unfolding into a crescendo of passion, dread and grief. The elements she [Jensen] uses to drive the action—sex, violence, love, sacrifice, betrayal, and worship both holy and profane—give the story incredible power, as well as a welcome maturity."