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The Beast Within - A Gabriel Knight Mystery
( Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within )

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela

Many reviewers named this the 'Game of the Year' for 1995, and we well understand why.  It is the one of most professionally produced, realistic games that we have ever played, and gave us a real glimpse of the possibilities for gaming in the virtual reality world of the future.

The actors playing the parts are absolutely perfect for their roles:  both Gabriel (Dean Erickson) and Grace (Joanne Takahashi) are exactly as you imagined them to be, and Von Glower (Peter Lucas) is so good as the 'Black Wolf ' that he practically steals the show.  All of the acting is top-drawer, even the bit parts are perfectly cast and realistically portrayed. The music is wonderful and is handled expertly in the story for heightened suspenseful effect, and the beautiful settings were shot on location throughout Germany.  But it is Jane Jensen's original, engrossing, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting story that keeps you enthralled until the very end.

As the story opens, Gabriel is still at his family's castle in Rittersberg, Germany, where we left him at the end of the first Gabriel Knight adventure the previous year, and Grace is still taking care of his bookstore in New Orleans.  He has written a financially successful novel about his previous adventures, and now thinks of himself as a writer and researcher, not as the 'Schattenjager' (or 'Shadowhunter', the title that he inherited when his uncle Wolfgang died) whom the people depend on to fight their battles with the Supernatural.  So it is with some reluctance and quite a bit of typical skepticism that he agrees to investigate a series of mutilation murders that are thought by the people there to be the work of Werewolves.  However it isn't long before both he and Grace (and you, the player) are caught up in a web of horror that has been going on for over 200 years, and which now threatens their own survival and may offer no means of escape.

But be forewarned:  this well researched game is about Werewolves, and as such it includes all of the implied sexuality and grisly details inherent in that classic theme. So we would NOT recommend this game for children... it is acted far too well and realistically for that (including a few phrases of strong language) and could be frightening to them.  But we will say that for the subject matter, it was all handled with admirable taste and restraint. There is really only one major graphically explicit scene of blood and gore (one necessary to the plot), and even that could have been a lot worse than it was. The game instead, thankfully, relies on fine acting to create suspense.  Our only disappointment with the game was the way in which they handled some of the ending:  particularly an illogical 'wolf's-eye-view' maze that had to be almost blindly navigated, where you were being continually killed off every time that you made one wrong move. We recommend using a walkthrough for that part.

This is a 6 CD, 3rd person, point & click game, where you direct real people in real settings with real props. Usually you see a mini movie to set the scene, and then you take over and direct the action, alternating between playing Gabriel and Grace. There are also mini movies between incidents, and one or more to finalize the chapter and lead to the next.  So the effective result is that you wind up feeling as if you yourself are personally within the movie and experiencing the action. The game also includes a map for easy scene changes to other locations in Germany, and a hint button that tells you if more needs to be done at a particular location.

It's an excellent and very scary game.  Turn off all the lights and play it in the dark, if you dare!

  April 2000  Mr. Bill and Lela

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Developed (1995) and published by Sierra-On-Line.

Both Gabriel Knight 1: Sins of the Fathers and Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within had been boxed together in what was called the Gabriel Knight Mysteries Limited Edition. It also included two Gabriel Knight novels, a bonus soundtrack CD and a sneak peak at Gabriel Knight 3.

Rated:   M   for Mature 17+  (mature sexual themes, strong language, realistic blood and gore)

Minimum System Requirements:  DOS  Windows   MAC

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Rosemary and Gordon's Walkthrough" available here!

"Walkthroughs" available here!

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