Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned is set in a small village and valley in rural Europe. The village, Rennes-le-Chateau, is a real village and is the location of a Great Enigma -- either that or a Great Scam, depending on your level of belief.
The case begins when Gabriel is invited for a weekend at the home of a currently dethroned royal scion. Grace is delighted, assuming that at last they're moving into the kinds of circles a family like the Ritters ought to hobnob with. But it turns out that the 'Prince's' motivation for inviting Gabriel was not a social one. He has a new infant son and is concerned for his safety because the Prince's family has been plagued for generations by what seem to be a secretive sect of vampires.
It turns out the Prince was right to be afraid. The very first night Gabriel watches guard over his infant son the boy is kidnapped. Gabriel gives chase and winds up at the train station. He follows the kidnappers to Rennes-le-Chateau but quickly loses their trail.
Gabriel will come to realize that the mystery that surrounds the Prince's family and the mystery of this ancient little town are not only connected, but will involve both very real current political agendas and ancient secrets. Once at the town, Gabriel discovers that a tour group arrived about the same time he did. He considers all of the members of the tour suspects even, perhaps, his old friend Mosely, who just happens to be 'on vacation' with the tour. Grace soon joins him and while Gabriel investigates the suspects and his leads on the kidnapping, Grace is convinced that the mystery is tied to the Rennes-le-Chateau's enigma and she sets out to solve it.
Installation And Settings
The game installs on the first of three CD's. The rest of CD 1 and through to CD 3 includes the music and game data for the next three days worth of adventure. The game itself installs without a hitch and you are given an icon on your desktop to start the game.
At the beginning of the game Gabriel Knight accepts an invitation to visit Prince James of Albany in Paris. Prince James is the heir to the throne in Scotland. Gabriel accepts the invitation, with some reservation though, and Grace and Gabriel set out to investigate an unusual disease plaguing Prince's family. On the first night of the watch an unknown visitor enters the house and kidnaps the baby. Gabriel pursues the intruder and eventually leads to a train. Gabriel is knocked out by someone and wakes up the next morning in a small rural French hotel.
As per usual with the Gabriel Knight series, this game is huge. The story line that unfolds through out the game is done be the master story teller, Jane Jenson. This story revolves vampires and links in the Templars and the Holy Grail mystery. The way Jane Jenson mixes history and fiction and the comparisons she makes is quite good.
The game has gone through many manifestations in its time from being a 2D game to a FMV video game to now. Instead of rehashing the old engine to get it to try and cope with the new demands of the story and games players, Sierra has completely redone the games engine from the bottom up. The joy of this new games engine is the powerful camera controls. You are not restricted to just one position with a 360 degree movement. You can place the camera anywhere you want with great ease.
Within the game as with the previous two, you get to control Gabriel and Grace throughout the game. The good thing I have found with the Gabriel Knight series of games is that when you are controlling Gabriel of grace you don't have to stand in a room with objects and move the mouse from side to side with an object in your hand to try and find out what you should do next. This does have a lot to with once again with the comprehensive story that Jane Jenson unfolds.
In this game Gabriel's voice is supplied by Tim Curry. Although it is generally well done, after long periods of time you might find that his voice starts to annoy you. Most of the other voices used in the game are very good and all the voices are animated and choreographed very well.
One of the joys of the game is the control system that has been made so you have an excellent camera control system and lets you get around the game very quickly. One of the benefits of the camera system is that you are not limited to where you want to look. You can also use the camera to move across the room or area very quickly because you can go to the end of the room and click on the door and Gabriel appears behind the camera so you don't have to wait for him to walk across the room.
Graphics, Sound & Music
The graphics that are used in the game are breathtaking with the countryside and the rooms done brilliantly. The way that the lip sinking is some of the best I have seen. On the sound and music side of things, the sound is well done, but after a while the music does start to annoy, but in general it is quite good. As mentioned before the graphics and the lip synching is excellent.
On the whole this game is quite good, it has a strong story, but can be a tad slow at times. Excellent graphics and lip synching. This game will keep you going for a while and the new graphical engine is a mass improvement. Only the lack of depth in some of the story might let it down.