Puzzles are at the core of Adventure gameplay, they provide challenges for you to overcome with brains rather than brawn. For Action Adventures, they offer a break from the hacky-slashy-stabby-shooty element of title.
Every week I’ll bring you a new puzzle, drawn from some of the best and worst adventure or puzzle games I’ve ever played. Every once in a while I’ll even leave you one of my own for you to solve. If you do, I’ll find a way to reward you!
For this week’s puzzle, I’m digging something out of the Sierra bag of goodies again, a nice puzzle from Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, a game that’s already been in The Weekly Puzzle before. But that’s the thing about the classics, isn’t it? There’s always a reason to come back to them.
This puzzle happens late in the game, and completing it marks the beginning of the final arc. Seeking answers, Gabriel goes to Schloss Ritter, the ancestral home of his family. He hopes to find Wolfgang Ritter, but his uncle is gone by the time he arrives. Searching through the castle, Gabriel stumbles on a chapel depicting the battle between St. George and the Dragon and the details on the Schattenjäger Initiation ritual. To complete the ritual you need to first translate it, and then perform each of its steps, finding the ingredients around the castle and improvising a few of them.
What makes this puzzle special is that in terms of the game’s narrative, it feels as if everything leads there. Even if it’s not the end of the game, it feels like the culmination of everything you’ve done and gone through up to that point. You become the next Schattenjäger and gain a firmer grasp on the mystical real you only begin to discover during the previous chapters. In terms of characterisation, it marks a change, an evolution in Gabriel, no longer screwing around, cheating and lying his way out but performing the ritual with the respect and seriousness it deserves, even if he has to improvise some of the ingredients. Finally, in Gameplay, you need to keep a careful eye on your surroundings to figure out how to use the items you have to perform the ritual successfully.
This is a puzzle that works on all fronts, and is one of my favourites in the game.
I’ve asked this before, but is there any puzzle in the Gabriel Knight series that you love? Tell me about it in the comments! Just please don’t mention the moustache puzzle from Gabriel Knight 3.