The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (also known as Gabriel Knight 2 or GK2) is a computer
adventure game released by Sierra On-Line in 1995. Unlike the original Gabriel Knight released in 1993, The Beast Within was produced entirely in full motion video. The technology was popular at the time of the game's production with the recently introduced storage capabilities of CD-ROM, but was expensive to produce and led to a linear storyline. The third Gabriel Knight game used a rendered 3D engine a few years later instead.
The game was released for PC and Macintosh. The Macintosh version used a video player developed by Sierra instead of an off-the-shelf technology such as Quicktime, and had a tendency to crash or run slowly on680x0 processors.
Storyline[edit | edit source]
the Voodoo Murders case (The Sins of the Fathers), and he is approached by the local villagers, led by Werner Huber. Sepp Huber's daughter Toni has been murdered by what be believes is a werewolf, though Munich police believe it is wolves that escaped from the zoo about two months earlier. Huber implores the schattenjager to act. At Gerde's prodding, Gabriel agrees.
Gabriel travels to the Huber farm, where he finds a footprint that suggests that the animal that attacked Toni was much larger than the zoo wolf species, and also finds wolf fur that does not match their color. While investigating at the zoo where the wolves escaped, Gabriel surmises that the zoo manager, Klingmann, has given an implausible explanation for the wolves' escape. Gabriel finds that Klingmann has recently obtained a hunting license at The Royal Bavarian Hunting Lodge, a very exclusive men's hunting club. With help from his lawyer Harald Übergrau, Gabriel persuades the founder of the club, Friedrich von Glower and the secretary that he is of noble Germanic blood, and von Glower welcomes him into the club as a guest.
Meanwhile, Gabriel's partner Grace Nakimura travels to Rittersberg to help, though Gabriel had indicated in a letter to her that she should not. She is immediately at odds with the castle's caretaker, Gerde, and also with Werner Huber, neither of whom will tell her anything about Gabriel's case or where he is. With some persuasion, Huber divulges that it involves werewolves. Grace steals the key to the Schattenjäger library from Gerde's room, and begins her research. She finds mentions of a werewolf in a former Schattenjager journal, that of Victor Ritter. The case was in 1750, where a man, Klaus von Ralick, is tried and executed by the town for werewolfery. A book on werewolves in the library contains both information on werewolves and an unsent letter from a later Schattenjager, Christian Ritter, to King Ludwig II warning him of someone called The Black Wolf, in 1864, whom Grace also believes is a werewolf. Grace contacts Professor Barclary from Yale University for information on Ludwig II, and he says he will contact a friend from the University of Munich who may know more.
After learning of Ludwig's involvement, Grace questions Werner Huber, who tells Grace that Ludwig II was driven to suicide by politicians. Grace heads to the Rittersberg Town Hall where the Mayor Herr Ernest Habermas gives information on the case from April 1750. He translates the trial record of the werewolf, who was brought to the town hall, interrogated, and was allowed to confess. He was then quartered and burned alive.
Learning that von Ralick gave a confession that was recorded by the local church, Grace gets Father Getz atSt. Georgs Church to let her see the confession, which the mayor translates. Von Ralick's last confession indicates that he was called "The Black Wolf" by his friends, due to his terrible treatment of his peasants in particular a Hungarian gypsy whose family was passing through. Von Ralick raped the young girl, and she committed suicide as a result. Her family places a curse on von Ralick, that he should take the form of his horrible personality. Among the church records, Habermas also finds a letter, dated 1764 and sent from a Buenos Aires lawyer to the church inquiring about von Ralick's death for his family.
That night, at Schloss Ritter, Grace and Gerde receive an American visitor, Meryl Smith, who suddenly has a psychic vision telling her that Gabriel must beware the Black Wolf.
Gabriel disregards Grace's findings and continues to focus his investigation on the hunt club. Overnight, a new wolf killing occurs near the club, and Gabriel persuades the police investigator, Kriminalkommisar Leber, to speak with him by threatening to talk to the press about what he knows. Lieber divulges what Gabriel already knows: that the zoo wolves cannot be the killers, and that only one animal is responsible. The most recent victim's name was Grossberg, a local furrier, and Gabriel discovers from Grossberg's secretary that Grossberg knew one of the hunt club's members, Hermann von Aigner. Sneaking into the club's basement, he discovers that the club imports exotic animals to hunt. He finds a notebook of Baron Gar Von Zell's indicating that all of the club members, save von Glower, owe von Zell large sums of money.
Von Glower, in his home, tells Gabriel about the club's philosophy: he believes animal senses and instinct were lost by humans with the advent of civilization, and wants to redevelop them through hunting and hedonism. Each member of the club brings the hunter philosophy into their careers. By interviewing most of the club's members, Gabriel is led to believe that von Zell has become extremely aggressive within the past 6 months, a hallmark of someone becoming a werewolf. He then asks Ubergrau to run a search of missing persons cases that occurred in or near woodland areas over the last ten years, the areas where the hunt club has lodges and regularly visits. Back at the Hunting Club Gabriel is invited to a hunting trip out in The Bavarian National Forest. At the Huber farm Gabriel finds a dead rabbit, and the player sees a pair of glowing eyes peering at him in the bushes before he goes to bed.
Grace has a nightmare in which she is in a formal gown being chased through the snow by a pack of wolves. In the dream, Ludwig II picks her up in a horse-drawn sleigh, then transforming into a wolf himself. After waking, Grace looks up a biography of Ludwig II in the library. She meets the Smiths at Werner Huber's tavern, and at the urging of the Meryl has her and Gabriel's reading using Tarot Cards. Meryl states that the message about "The Black Wolf" was from an unknown source. Gabriel's reading indicates that he is struggling with a decision that will result in a major transformation, that will mean either salvation or doom.
Grace mends her relationship with Gerde after finding her mourning over Wolfgang Ritter, with whom she had a romantic relationship before his death. Grace then travels to theHerrenchiemsee Castle Museum where she discovers Ludwig's association with Richard Wagner, Elisabeth of Austria (his cousin). She is directed by the receptionist to the Wahnfried Wagner Museum in Munchen.
At the Wagner museum she meets Georg Immerding, a music student who watches the museum. From him she learns the story of Wagner's life, his death and about the Wittelsbacher theater, which she learns was fitted with occult crystals near Wagner's death. From Georg she discovers there is a journal belonging to Cosima Wagner, Richard's wife, on display, and that there was a lost opera being worked on by both Wagner and Ludwig II.
Professor Barclay refers Grace to Josef Dallmeier, an expert on Ludwig, and she meets him at Seeshaupt later that day. Dallmeier tells her the political history surrounding Ludwig, and about how he was bitten by a wolf after a hunting accident which resulting in him becoming sick and then more erratic and paranoid. He also talks of the meetings between Ludwig and Wagner. Dallmeier also knows of Ludwig's diary which he has been trying to find for five years; the book is in the hands of the Royal Archives and the only person allowed to see it was a biographer Sir Richmond Chapel. He also knows of the The Black Wolf, whose name was Paul Gowden, but who disappeared from record when he was awarded a title by Bismarck. Grace decides to track Gowden down through his entitlement deed using Ubergrau's help.
Grace heads to Neuschwanstein Castle, where she learns more of Ludwig's history and his love of the opera. She notes the mysterious opera scenes in the Singer's Hall depicting wolves. Grace writes a letter to Ubergrau about the permit, and then writes a letter to Gabriel about her findings. Grace is referred by the Ludwig biography publisher to the son of Sir Richmond Chapel, Thomas Chaphill who is living in England. He says his father was not allowed to disseminate the content of Ludwig's journal in anyway. Out of options, she takes the lily to the Starnberger See to ask Ludwig's spirit for help. This apparently works, for upon returning to Rittersberg she finds that Chaphill has decided to send her the English translation of Ludwig's diary.
The diary evinces Ludwig's descent into madness after the hunting trip to Schaenn where he was bitten by a wolf. It also tells of his initial infatuation and then deteriorating relationship with "Louis", his name for Paul Gowden. Calling Louis treacherous, he speaks of experiments he conducts with Richard Wagner and his music. He also talks about Wagner's "new opera" and the crystals. Grace is now convinced that Gowden was an alpha werewolf who turned Ludwig in to his beta, and that the opera was meant to undo the curse by forcing Gowden to change into a werewolf before a large group of people. Armed with this knowledge, Grace talks to Georg about the diary and he then agrees to show her pages from Cosima Wagner's diary that confirming the existence of the opera.
Gabriel wakes up and remembers the night before: He and Von Glower are drunk and discussing each others lives when Detta, a prostitute, comes in and begins to seduce Von Glower before he hands her over to Gabriel as a gift. After she and Gabriel have sex, she leaves him alone in bed, and the viewer sees Von Glower comes in and sit next to the sleeping Gabriel, touching the Schatenjaggar Talisman before leaving. Gabriel returns to the hunting club and retrieves the tape recorder he planted near Von Zell the night before. Harald shows Gabriel the data collected by his secretary regarding missing persons around theBavarian National Forest (where the hunting trip is taking place) and another nearby forest. With Harald translating the recording from the bug, Gabriel discovers that Klingmann and von Zell were involved in the zoo wolves' escape, knowing they were not the killers, and that they are suspicious of Gabriel. They talk about Grossberg, and how von Aigner had given von Zell Grossberg's contact information in order to reduce his debt to von Zell. Gabriel plays the tape for Lieber, who in exchange for this information promises to give Gabriel access to Grossberg's ledger. Gabriel steals the ledger, which shows that Grossberg was 14,000 DM in debt to an exotic animal procurer named Dorn.
After paying Grossberg's debt to Dorn, Dorn admits that he exported the zoo wolves to Taiwan, and Gabriel obtains the wolves' metal identification tags from the cage they were in as evidence. He finds that Grossberg had a new business partner and was going to be able pay back all their debts.The hunt club, including Gabriel, then travel to the Bavarian National Forest for a hunting retreat. Gabriel sneaks into von Zell's room and finds a letter from Grossberg trying to extort 500,000 DM from von Zell to keep secret that he himself had abducted the zoo wolves and had them exported for von Zell, giving von Zell motive to kill Grossberg. When confronted, von Aigner admits he gave von Zell Grossberg's name, and Hennemann reveals that Von Zell introduced Klingmann to the club. Klingmann, when presented with the ID tags, admits that von Zell abducted the wolves in exchange for sponsoring Klingmann's club membership. Gabriel pursues von Zell into the woods , eventually finding him in a cave eating human flesh. In a daze, Gabriel enlists von Glower's help in capturing von Zell after explaining von Zell's role in the murders and that he is a werewolf. The two set out at night to find him. Von Glower is seen putting ear plugs in as they depart. Eventually, Gabriel corners von Zell, in wolf form, using the talisman near a ravine. Von Zell pounces, biting Gabriel on the leg. Von Glower comes upon the scene with his rifle, but refuses to shoot von Zell, saying that Gabriel must do it. Von Zell, still in wolf form, gestures to Gabriel to shoot von Glower, and while he is temporarily confused by this, Gabriel nonetheless shoots von Zell, and then proceeds to pass out.
In a dream, Grace is in a white gown walking towards a painting of Ludwig, who comes alive and kisses her, only to then transform into Gabriel. Ludwig points to Grace who whispers "Beware the Black Wolf" and then has flashbacks of the last few days including the encounter with von Zell. This explicitly details that von Glower was the alpha werewolf, which is why he could not harm von Zell, his beta. This also means that Gabriel himself is now a werewolf. The spirit of Ludwig II comes to him in this vision and shows him the locations of the lost Wagner opera, indicating that Gabriel should carry out the plan that he and Wagner devised over 100 years earlier.
Grace finds Gabriel terribly ill, undergoing the physical effects of becoming a werewolf. She brings Gabriel to Rittersberg and places him in the town dungeon. She collects a letter written by von Glower to Gabriel, that admits he is a werewolf, but stating that he wants to be mates with Gabriel, sending back the Ritter Talisman as a sign of good faith. He says he needed Gabriel to dispose of von Zell, who had become unstable. Grace shows her the letter to Meryl, and she assures Grace they must continue with their plan to put on the lost Wagner Opera. Grace uses Gabriel's vision to recover the pieces of Wagner's opera from Neuschwanstein Castle and Altotting. She returns to Wahnfried and shows the opera to a delighted Georg. Georg agrees to arrange the opera ("The Curse of Engelhart") and conduct its premier at the Wittlesbacher Theatre in two months time. During that time, Grace arranges for the crystals that Wagner devised to be made and installed in the theater, and sends an invitation to von Glower so that he will be in the audience, along with Kommisar Lieber. Grace arranges for von Glower to sit in the correct seat for the so that he will become a werewolf due to the music.
The day of the performance, Grace learns that the crystals may not work, due to the theater having been rebuilt in 1945 with slightly different dimensions. Gabriel, livid with the discovery of the acoustics problem, breaks out of the basement of the theater during the performance and takes over the role of Engelhart during the finale scene at the wedding. The music causes him to change into wolf form, and his howl, plus the music, also forces von Glower into his wolf form. Von Glower flees into the basement, but Gabriel cuts off his exit and forces him into the boiler room with Leber and Grace guarding the door. Near the furnace, Gabriel, still in wolf form, asks Grace to open the large door to the furnace, and when von Glower attempts to escape and attack Grace, Gabriel pushes von Glower into the furnace, killing him and breaking the werewolf curse. Gabriel flees until the curse has worn off. In a final scene, Grace and Gabriel then discuss von Glower on the Marienbrücke above Neuschwanstein, and Gabriel promises that Grace will be his partner in all future cases.
Characters[edit | edit source]
- Main article: List of characters in the Gabriel Knight series
- Dean Erickson as Gabriel Knight
- Joanne takahash as Grace Nakimura
- Andrea Helene as Gerde
- Kay E. Kuter as Werner Huber
- Wesley Mann as Sepp Huber
- Peter J.Lucas as Baron Friedrich Von Glower
- Richard Raynesford as Baron Gar Von Zell
- Wolf Muser as Docktor Stephen Klingmann
- Edmund L. Shaff as Hennemann
- Clement Von Franckinstein as Von Aiger
- Clabe Hartley as Preiss
- Fredrich Solms as Harald Ubergrau
- Nicholas Worth as Kriminalkommisar Lieber
- Russell Mitchell as Ludwig II
- Judith Drake as Meryl Smith
- Bruce Ed Morrow as Mr. Smith
- Micheal Laren as Herr Ernest Habermas
- Brad Greenquist as Georg Immerding
- Chris Tennant as Thomas Chaphill
- Christopher Shea as Micheal Hessel
- Gil Neuman as Thomas
- Etan Boritzer as Xaver
- Jack Orend as Dorn
- Patricia Coleman as Wurst Lady
- Brigitte Kozub as Rittersburg Post Office Lady
- Mary Stavin as News Reporter
- Melenie Good as Detta
- Royce Herron as Gabriel Knight Fan
- Karen Olesan as Hildagunde
- Brian Box as Blacksmith
- Cathy Wilcox as Von Glowers Mother
- Steven Stavast as Professor Bertraim Barclay
- Ross Evans as Dr.Gudden
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
The Beast Within is a point-and-click adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. Gameplay interchanges between Gabriel and Grace in Chapters 1 through 5, and between them both in chapter 6. The game breaks with the previous game's verb system and employs a contextual smart cursor. The cursor can variously mean look at, use, open, take, or speak to.
The game is separated into six chapters or "days" which alternate between Gabriel on days one,three and five and also Grace on days two,four and six.
Most of the gameplay is not time sensitive. There is a distinct segment, however, in Chapter 6, that requires the player to quickly react to an adversary. This segment is played out in a first person perspective, where a map is available.Dialog uses a common tree structure found in many adventure games, unlike the Sins of the Fathers, which had a more wide-ranging "interrogate" mode.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
In every Gabriel Knight game, the popular gospel hymn "When the Saints go marching in" can be heard, albeit in different remixes and forms. In The Beast Within it is heard when Gabriel is visiting the Marienplatz
As well as creating the soundtrack for the second game alongside Jay Usher, series composer Robert Holmes wrote an original opera scene for the story entitled "Der Fluch Des Engelhart" ("The Curse of Engelhart"). The libretto for the opera was written by Jane Jensen.
Development[edit | edit source]
Filming for the game happened in "the late summer and early fall of 1995", and Dean Erickson (who played Gabriel) stated that his part took about 3 1/2 months. There was very little overlap between Erickson and Joanne Takahashi (Grace). Will Binder, the game's director, shot each scene in just one or two takes for budget reasons.
The video on the game disks has a resolution of 308 x 167 pixels, at about 10 frames per second. It was encoded using the Sierra Video and Music Data format. The total bitrate for video and sound is only about 70-100 kB/s. 763 video files accompany the game, for a combined 2.96 gigabytes of data, a staggering amount for a game of its time. This represents about 8 hours of total video footage in the game.
Because the majority of games of the time ran in 640 x 480 pixels, the game upscales the footage to twice the height and width. Horizontal interlacing lines were put into the video to mask the pixellation that occured as a result, though this can now be removed by use of a patch. The video suffers from a large number of visual problems, presumably from the digitizing of the film footage using 1995 video technology. The most obvious of these is an alignment mismatch on about 75% of the footage; this is apparently due to the footage being digitized in two parts and composited with a small offset, usually only 1 pixel. A small subset of the footage, most notably seen in Kommisar Lieber's office, has this mismatch of more than 1 pixel. The bottom of the video also has two rows of pixels that appear to be scrambled. Numerous video scenes have desynced audio, most notably the Chapter 6 intro video.
Audio in the game also has several issues. Many scenes were recorded with audio clipping, so that vocal crackling is present on all dialog (the most prominent example is perhaps the conversation with Preiss in the hunt club in Chapter 4). Echo of the dialog from two sources can be heard during some videos.
Reception[edit | edit source]
The game has received nearly universal acclaim on the review aggregator Gamerankings. The game received a 90.5% based on 8 reviews. Gamespot's Jeff Sengstack said "This is the best interactive, live-action video adventure game to date. Everything about it is first rate." Dan Ravipinto, at AdventureGamers, proclaimed "The Beast Within is an incredible achievement.", though he complains that the smart cursor is too simplistic, and that the final chapter's action sequence is an unnecessary break from the gameplay.
Alternate Versions[edit | edit source]
When the game was first released in Germany it lacked dubbing and subtitles and had a few more violent scenes censored. The screen would go black and a short message appeared on screen roughly describing the material that was edited out in a few words (strangely those messages were in German although nothing else was). When the game was later released in its localized German version it was uncensored and branded "suitable for players aged 16 and above".
Notes[edit | edit source]
In Sins of the Fathers, when he uncovers the Schattenjäger library in Schloss Ritter, Gabriel can examine the bookshelves to browse their contents. Among the books he finds are reference material alluding to werewolves, vampires and ghosts— which would turn out to be the supernatural antagonists in his next two games. The fourth game would've involved spirits.