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Both a series of PC point-and-click Adventure Game titles, created by Jane Jensen (who had worked on King's Quest VI) and published by Sierra, as well as the name of their primary hero.

The first game was Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. Gabriel Knight is an author and owner of a bookstore in New Orleans, as well as an investigator who uses his work as the basis for his novels. However, afflicted with freaky dreams nightly, he comes to learn that he shares a family history with a local Voodoo sect within the city, one that hinges upon being able to free his bloodline from a curse that befell them years earlier. With the help of his assistant, Grace Nakimura, and local police Detective Franklin Mosely, Gabriel discovers his roots, learning that he is descended from a German family, the Ritters, whose men were all Schattenjägers, tasked with taking out the supernatural Big Bads of the world, which he accomplishes in this game by healing the bad blood between his bloodline and that of Malia Gedde, a N'Awlins resident who hides a dark secret.

Next came The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery, a Full Motion Video entry which managed to buck the well-known trend of FMV games. This time, Gabriel has returned to his family home, Schloß Ritter, to assist the local citizens with what they believe to be a werewolf attack. Grace, feeling snubbed back in New Orleans, books a flight out to join him, and the pair take their respective lines of research, resulting in the revelation that the werewolf in question has a history with King Ludwig II of Bavaria, one which nearly takes Gabriel's very soul.

Finally comes Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned. Gabe and Grace are asked to protect a prince's son from a new supernatural threat, and while they pursue the kidnappers, links to the Knights Templar and even more incredible things are discovered the deeper they delve.

The entire series is available for digital purchase from GOG.com.


This series demonstrates examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Von Glower.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: All over the place in GK3.
  • As You Know: Some of the dialogue trees in the first game run into this.
  • At the Opera Tonight: A rare example of the opera in question -- "Der Fluch Des Engelhart", written exclusively for the game -- being important to the plot. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Ax Crazy : Garr von Zell in The Beast Within.
  • Badass Bookworm: Grace. She studied tai chi, too.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Mild exception in SOTF, where Dr. John clocks Grace a good one, prompting Mosely to gun him down.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Grace and Gabriel.
  • Big No: In the first game, when Gabriel first sees Tetelo possess Malia, after Wolfgang tears his own heart out so Gabriel can get the Schattenjäger amulet, and when Malia willingly falls to her death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the Beast Within most articles, notes and conversations written or spoken in German are never translated, partially to emphasize Gabriel's inability to communicate in this language.
    • And of course, 'Ritter' is German for Knight.
  • Black Magic: Voodoo in SOTF
  • But Not Too Black: Malia Gedde has a bronze skin color, especially compared to Dr. John.
    • True, but Tetelo is "black-black" and Malia is implied to be the descendant of her and the German Gunter.
  • But This Is Ridiculous
  • Butt Monkey: Mosely, very much so. The guy has pretty rotten luck in general and Gabriel also tends to take frequent advantage of him.
  • Cat Fight: In The Beast Within, Grace and Gerde, albeit verbally and nearly one-sided from Grace. In GK3, Grace and Madeline.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Sins of the Father, Gerde was little more than a slightly helpful maid in Yodel Land costume. In Beast Within, where Grace has far more interaction with her, not only is she dressed more modernly, but she also comes into her own as a character, especially given the knowledge that she was in love with Wolfgang.
  • Chess Motif: Near the end of GK3, there's a puzzle involving a chessboard. In order to solve it, Gabriel must move in the style of the Knight piece.
  • Concert Climax: In The Beast Within.
  • Continuity Nod: In Sins of the Father, when trying a certain action on Grace, Gabriel's fourth-wall comment is 'Don't mind if I do!'. Doing the same with the French tour guide in the third game results in 'Mind if I do!'.
    • You can see the scars on Gabriel's arms that he sustained in Sins of the Fathers in the opening sequence of The Beast Within.
  • Cowboy Cop: Arguably Mosely, who does things for Gabriel he probably shouldn't.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Killing the very source of a werewolf's infection will end his curse. This becomes very important after Gabriel is infected and he must find and kill the head of the Bavarian werewolves to become human again.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The immortal in part 3.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gabriel and Grace both have their moments.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Preiss in The Beast Within
  • Disney Villain Death: Malia Gedde (and along with her, Tetelo)
  • The Dragon: Dr John.
  • Dream Sequence: Gabriel experiences a dream during his first visit to Schloß Ritter, which proves to be a metaphysical means for him to take up the title of Schattenjäger.
    • There's another in The Beast Within in which Ludwig shows Gabriel the last actions of his life, which helps Gabriel solve the case, and free himself from the werewolf curse.
      • Grace also has a dream sequence early on in The Beast Within, in which she's fleeing from a pack of wolves and gets rescued by Ludwig, only for him to turn into a wolf as well. It turns out to be significant foreshadowing of the plotline.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: If the player has Gabriel investigate the Schattenjäger library in SOTF, he comes upon books relating to werewolves and vampires, the antagonists in the next two games.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Wolfgang, Dr. John.
    • Heck, to compensate for the fact that you can't die during the first 90% of each of the games (which is kinda unique in Sierra games), most of the deaths that do occur in the last sequences are in fact usually pretty gruesome. Getting your heart ripped out or your jugular slashed, getting your throat ripped open by a werewolf, getting sliced in half or your spine broken by being "folded the wrong way" are all part and parcel of the uglier side of the Schattenjäger business.
  • Gratuitous German: But then, who really wants to ditch the word Schattenjäger in exchange for its boring translation, "shadow hunter"?
  • Gypsy Curse: The source of all the werewolf activity in The Beast Within.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wolfgang, and in a big way. He literally rips his own heart out in order to let Gabriel retrieve the Schattenjäger talisman.
  • Herr Doktor: Herr Doktor Klingmann, of course.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Tim Curry as Gabriel in the first and third installments. Also Michael Dorn as Dr. John, and Mark Hamill as Mosely! Iconic, veteran voice actors Jeff Bennett and Jim Cummings also had minor roles.
    • Hell, just check out the imdb page, and prepare to have your mind blown.
  • Human Sacrifice: Features heavily in Sins of The Father.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The villain of the third game summons a demon to kill Gabriel. Gabriel killing the demon kills the villain.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Lampshaded at one point in Beast Within, when Grace comes upon a quite large "PRIVAT" sign, about as long as someone's torso. To show that she's taking it with her, the actress -- the camera's POV being from the neckline up -- holds it upright and slides it down... somewhere... and then turns back around and walks back towards the camera. There's no noticable bulge in her clothing, and she's not wearing her large coat at the time. It's actually rather amusing.
    • Hell, at one point she has a pigeon wrapped in a pillowcase stuffed into her coat, which she then smuggles past a bunch of guards at a major tourist attraction.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: "You must do it!", as he throws Gabriel his rifle.
    • Mild subversion: von Glower can't kill von Zell because of their werewolf bond, and it's entirely possible the whole hunting trip was just a Batman Gambit to get Gabriel to do the job for him.
  • Leitmotif: Some of which (Gabriel's theme, the Schattenjäger theme) span over all three games.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gabriel.
  • King of Beasts: Schloß Ritter has a lion motif in its decor that Grace unabashedly snarks on: "King of beasts. That about sums it up!"
  • Large Ham: Kriminalkommissar Leiber.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In the first game, Gabriel has a whole closetful of white shirts and jeans. In the sequels, the characters apparently didn't pack more than one set of clothes to travel abroad.
  • May-December Romance: Gerde and Wolfgang.
  • The Maze: Bayou St. John in the first game. You can't navigate without a tracking device.
  • Made of Iron: Dr John is every bit as resilient as he is big. In certain death scenes he takes a roundhouse kick to the face or several right hooks to the jaw followed by several blows to the stomach. None of them even make him flinch.
  • Meaningful Name: Gabriel Knight, hearkening to the angel and the job, of course; furthermore, the name "Ritter" is a German title meaning roughly "knight" and translates literally into "(a male) knight."
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: GK3's infamous "cat hair mustache" puzzle, which Old Man Murray used as an example of how adventure gaming killed itself and which is the inspiration for the current trope image. You must make a fake mustache to disguise yourself as a man who doesn't have a mustache (after drawing one on his ID) by scaring a cat through a hole you've rigged with tape and then affixing the stolen cat hair to your lip with maple syrup. 'Cause that's what makes the disguise pop.
    • Actually, the "get a fake mustache to disguise yourself as a man without a mustache" thing makes sense in a way, since Gabriel and Mosely look nothing alike, but having a big moustache on both the man and the photo can well cause a casual observer to think "yep, same guy". As to how you get it and how you attach it to your lip... no excuse.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Gabriel, of course.
  • Multiethnic Name: Grace Nakimura.
  • Multiple Endings: The first game has two possible endings depending on whether or not you give Malia your hand during the finale. Since there were sequels, only one of them is canonical, as the other one involves Gabriel's death.
  • Novelization: The first two games were adapted into books by Jane Jensen.
  • The Other Darrin: Dean Erickson replaces Tim Curry as Gabriel in The Beast Within. Curry returned for the 3rd game.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Tetelo.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Night Visitors.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Black Wolf who turns out to be Von Glower, plus all of his subordinates.
    • This depiction is, however, way more consistent with European folklore than most portrayals of werewolves in fiction.
  • Playing Against Type: Tim fucking Curry is the hero?
  • Prophetic Names: Gabriel's bookstore is named "St. George's Rare Books"; St. George, the mythical dragonslayer, is the patron saint of the Schattenjägers.

  Gabriel: (to a stained glass window of St. George in Schloß Ritter) I named my bookstore after you. Until now, I guess I never really knew why...

  • Put on a Bus: Grace leaves Gabriel to travel to India at the end of GK3.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Gabriel's parents died while he was very young, and hence his grandmother raised him.
  • Recurring Riff: "When the Saints Go Marching In" appears in all three games.
  • Scary Black Man: Dr. John.
  • Scenery Porn: You, as Grace, get to visit Ludwig's castles Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee in Beast Within. And because you're looking at photographs of the real things as your backdrops, they. Are. Gorgeous.
  • Shown Their Work: Say what you will about the writing. The plots and settings interweave various truths and mythologies extremely well.
    • Not to mention the detail of many locales in New Orleans in the first game. (someone went as far as taking photographs for comparison purposes).
  • Sins of Our Fathers: the title of the first game says it all.
    • This theme continues into the second game considering Von Glower inherited the werewolf curse from his father (who gained it through a Gypsy Curse after raping a young girl).
  • Speaking Simlish: Gabriel's cringe-worthy botching of German in The Beast Within definitely qualifies.
  • Taking You with Me: If you choose not to to attempt to rescue Malia at the end of Sins Of The Fathers, she will drag Gabriel down the fiery abyss with her.
  • Temporary Substitute: Kriminal Kommissar Leber fills the Mosely role in The Beast Within.
  • Thanatos Gambit: King Ludwig comes up with a truly spectacular one, involving Wagner's lost opera, crystal chandeliers, and acoustics at a famous theatre. When he is unable to put it into effect himself, he hides the opera throughout his castle, entrusts a diagram to a village woman, and writes a letter to his cousin Empress Elizabeth, hoping that she will do it in his stead (the novelization reveals that a spiteful servant burnt the letter). Over a hundred years later, Gabriel and Grace finally put his plan into action, successfully freeing both Gabriel and Ludwig from the werewolf curse.
  • That Was the Last Entry: Gunter's journal. It's pretty obvious he committed suicide when he writes stuff like "These final words" and "I pray [...] that my punishment in Hell will be long and bitter."
  • This Is Sparta: When werewolf-Gabriel is fleeing the scene of Von Glower's death and Leber has his gun trained on him.

 Grace: "Let. Him. Go!"

  • Tsundere: Grace, obviously.
  • The Unintelligible: The narrator in Sins of the Father has a very thick accent, making understanding her a troubling task without the aid of the captioning.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Gabriel and Mosely. At least some of the time.
  • What the Hell, Player?: In Sins of the Fathers you can try out the various non-speaking icons on Grace. If you click "look," "take," "move," etc., Gabriel will indulge in a little fourth-wall commentary about his attraction to her. If you try to "open" Grace, however, Gabriel says, "I don't even want to think about what you mean."
  • Will They or Won't They?: It's obvious from the start that Gabriel and Grace care for each other, but they don't start to show this until towards the end of Beast Within. Their first actual consummation in Gabriel Knight 3 is followed by very awkward periods between the two, as well as with those around them.
  • Yodel Land: Gerde's outfit in Sins of the Father shows signs of this. In Beast Within, her actress wears much more sensible and modern clothing.
  • Yuppie Couple: Mr. & Mrs. Smith in Beast Within; Mrs. Smith is a big fan of tarot cards, to boot.
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