Gabriel Knight 2: Werewolf hunt

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

In our previous episode of Gabriel Knight 2, Gabe stumbles upon a very naked Von Zell eating a very dead person in a very black cave.  This is, I might remind you, also in a game that’s included three museum tours to date.  I can’t complain, the plot is actually moving along!

aaa1Gabe bursts into Von Glower’s room, retching.  “What’s wrong?” Von Glower says.  “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

Oh man, that hoary old chestnut?  No, he’s seen mutilated corpses and cannibalism.  Can’t that be enough for today?

Anyway, Gabe takes Von Glower out to the cave to see the bodies (Von Zell has left in the meantime).  And then, because Gabe is a supreme idiot that can’t fathom that this creepy guy in charge of a hunting lodge and who promotes this primal philosophy might actually also be in on the killings, he spills every single piece of information that he knows.  He’s like an exposition fire hose, spraying Von Glower with “werewolf this” and “missing persons that.”

Von Glower declines to notify the police but insists that the two of them hunt down Von Zell themselves.  Gabe agrees.  Did I mention that Gabe is a supreme idiot?

aaa3Because time is of the essence and there’s a killer on the loose, Von Glower and Gabe wait until nightfall (um… why?) and change into the most pompous hunting gear outfits.  At least Gabe has the good sense to be embarassed at how he looks.

The pair head out into the woods (this is all part of a very long cutscene, by the way) and promptly after Von Glower tells Gabe to stay right behind him, Gabe veers off because he hears a wolf howling.  Gabe also has no weapon.  Did I mention that Gabe is a supreme… oh, I did.

aaa4At least Gabe has his ugly talisman that he starts waving around in the dark.  Oh, yeah, flashlights would have been a good idea too.  Well, if you haven’t started listening to common sense now, it’s probably too late.

This begins the cat-and-mouse hunt portion of the game.  Basically, Gabe’s got to find the wolf, use his talisman to scare it away, and guide it to a certain ravine.  If Gabe doesn’t act quickly enough then there’s an actual game over since the wolf rips out his throat.

aaa5It’s just so awesome.  I reloaded and watched this sequence three times, just to see Gabe get his just desserts.

aaa6All in all, this sequence is pretty well-done.  It’s got the right level of tension — especially knowing that you could die — and every time the wolf pops out it’s hard not to jump.  Gabe forces the beast to a cliff, where it leaps on him and takes a big hunk out of his leg.  But then Von Glower shows up and things get a little weird.

aaa7The wolf (Von Zell in werewolf form) stops attacking and gets all anxious.  Then Von Glower hesitates to shoot it, tossing Gabe the rifle instead.  The wolf keeps nodding his head in the direction of Von Glower, miming to Gabe to, y’know, shoot the real threat.  Even if Gabe tries (and I did), he doesn’t shoot.  Instead, there’s just one option to kill the beast, who then morphs back into a dead, naked Von Zell.  Gabe and Von Glower leave the body behind and go back to the lodge to get Gabe patched up.

Gabriel Knight 2: Things get gross

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

We rejoin our werewolf hunter-slash-pervert creeper as he casually breaks into people’s rooms to see what kind of undies they’re wearing and what scented oils they like to put in their bath tubs.  I’m finding it harder and harder to relate to Gabe, which is a good thing when I think about it. Gabe, what you are doing is not normal.  Then again, if it was, would I be playing it?

gabe1Gabe is initially elated that he managed to sneak into Von Zell’s room and find his personal ledger.  I guess he’s a little deflated once he remembers that, oh yeah, he can’t read German.  Seriously, Gabe, what were you doing for the past year in Germany?  Be a man and pick up a Rosetta Stone or something!

gabe2Well thank goodness that the most important piece of evidence in this book  was thoughtfully written in English from one German native to another.  I like the newspaper clipping as a nice touch.

I guess we know why Grossberg bought the farm!

Gabe scouts out Von Zell’s bathroom and spies a muddy orange footprint on the floor.  Hmm.  Probably a totally innocent thing.  Maybe the guy used the mud lodge!  Or he’s got an odd fetish that is probably best to ignore.

Gabe returns from his snooping to go downstairs for a chat with the friendly Hennemann.  Lots more character snippets here, but the most interesting reveal is that the club has another lodge in Altdorf — where many of the missing persons cases were.

gabe3Showing the wolf tags that Gabe took from the exotic animal dealer to Klingmann sets off a pretty interesting cutscene.  Klingmann reveals that he helped to steal the wolves for Von Zell to get into the club but had no idea what they were for.

Time to gear up before we go exploring outside!  Gabe picks up a lantern, matches, and a pair of shears.  I like how Gabe always tests everything (does this match light?  Oh yes it does!) before stashing it inside his Infinite Trenchcoat of Holding +1.

gabe4The woods are pretty in a Silent Hill-we’re-all-gonna-die kind of way.  It doesn’t take much exploring to find more muddy wolf prints, all leading to a dense thicket.  Fortunately, Gabe has matches and commences burning down all of this old growth in his pursuit to find justice.  Well, he WOULD have if the game had let me.  I guess gardening shears work too.

gabe5Gabe finds a cave and goes inside with the world’s tiniest lantern.  I really regret not taking a picture of it, because dang it is small.  Maybe the GK2 dev team ran out of money for its props, I dunno.  Anyway, Gabe’s making a lot of noises about how bad it smells in there — and to the game’s credit, it does a really good job ratcheting up the creep factor as to what Gabe might discover.

In the darkest part of the cave Gabe almost falls into a hole and then shines his light down to see…

gabe6A naked Von Zell eating one of several corpses.  Hey Von Zell!  What up, my man!  You didn’t tell me this was a BBQ!  Save some ribs for me!

Can’t say this is a surprise.  Gabriel Knight 2 might pay a lot of attention to details and backstory, but it also is quite ham-fisted with its foreshadowing.  But that screenshot makes up for any shortcomings.  I might even make that my new Facebook profile pic.

NEXT TIME ON GABRIEL KNIGHT 2: Gabe throws up.

Gabriel Knight 2: Tiger time

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

azx1

What was Grossberg (one of the victims) up to?  That’s the driving force of the hour, as Gabe takes the dead man’s ledger and tracks down a guy named Dorn who was doing… something… for him.  But Dorn doesn’t really want to talk, and since Gabe hasn’t changed his clothes in three days now, can you blame him?  Probably has a ripe stench coming off that trenchcoat. To get him to talk, Gabe has to trot back to Harry, withdraw 14,000 bucks from the Ritter account, and then pay Dorn for previous unknown services rendered.  That gets Gabe in the door of a stinking kennel.  Man, what wonders $14,000 gets you these days!

It turns out that Dorn is an exotic animal dealer.  Looks like Grossman was buying these animals — in particular two wolves — perhaps to serve as hunting targets for the club.  Dorn informs me that he can get gorilla but not hippo.  Good to know.

Well, there’s nothing left to do here but deal with the tiger.

azx2What?  There really is a tiger!  I wouldn’t just make that up for dramatic license, you know.

The kennel where the wolves were previously kept now has a large tiger in it, because Germany is so dang awesome it hurts.  To calm it down, I try having Gabe offer up a couple of fingers.  That doesn’t work, so why not one of those horrible phallic sausages from way back when?  Good tiger.

azx3The seams of the game is definitely showing in this part, because there’s no indication that the tiger is anywhere on the set — or is anything other than some footage perhaps cribbed from a National Geographic special.  Gabe does his darndest to overact with his reactions to sell us on the clear and present danger, but I’m not buying it.  You’re just flinging a wurst across an empty green screen stage, dude.

At least he’s able to recover the wolf tags from “Parcival” and “Hilda.”

With that it’s finally time to go on this epic hunting trip that the game’s been building up for so very long now.  Gabe meets up with the goofy-dressed hunting troupe, and they all truck into the mountains to a much bigger lodge.  With nothing to do, Gabe starts barging into people’s rooms and…

azx4My eyes!  Ze goggles do nothing!

This dude is surprisingly cool about being interrogated while taking a bath.  Come to think of it, in game-time we only arrived at the lodge 40 seconds ago.  How is he naked and in a steaming bath already?

Once Gabe gets past the shock, they chat about Grossman (this guy was paying Grossman for those exotics) and how everyone hates Von Zell.  VON ZELL!  YOUR DAY IS COMING!

azx5I love how everyone but Von Glower is constantly calling Gabe out for being very nosy and weird, because he totally is.  I mean, the guy can’t go two minutes without barging into a man’s bath or — as you can see above — rappelling from one window into the next.  Don’t invite Gabriel Knight over as a houseguest is the lesson this game is teaching me.  He’ll steal your stuff, sleep with your women, and break into your rooms.

azx6Actually, check this out because I’m finding it a little ridiculous.  Gabe is making a big, BIG deal out of using this rope to… walk four feet over on a ledge that isn’t very steep, not to mention that there are plenty of handholds along the way.  Even if it was this treacherous, how does using the rope sideways like this help?  He’s leaning back, but the roof slopes to his right.  By the power of physics, he should fall right anyway, rope or no.  I guess he just wanted to put on a show for the imaginary cameras.

Gabriel Knight 2: In which stuff starts actually happening

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

One of the aspects of adventure games that I’m less fond of is how you can get stuck in a particular locale or part of the game for a very long time while trying to figure out how to progress.  There’s a tipping point that occurs between the pacing being acceptable and “if I have to see this screen one more time I’m going to swallow my tongue to end this suffering.”   Even while Gabriel Knight 2 has kept the investigation element of the plot moving along, so little has happened and so many of these locations have been repeated that I’m starting to go a little nuts.  Was the first game this boring at times?  I don’t recall.

We need stuff to happen.  And today, it does.

q1Grace brings the copy of Ludwig’s diary to Georg, confirming the creation of a lost Wagner opera.  Being a “one-upper” kind of guy, Georg whips out a Wagner diary and the two have the weirdest date ever.  Again, I am playing a game that’s spending an inordinate amount of time reading diaries.  Is this Lisa Frank Goes To Germany?  At least this ends chapter 4 and our current time with Grace.

q2OK, when I said that I wanted stuff to happen, I didn’t mean that I wanted to see Gabe get it on with a really, really bad actress.

Let’s back up.  Chapter 5 opens with Gabe recounting the night before, which started with drinks and laughs with Von Glower and ended with Von Glower pawning off his snuggle toy to Gabe, Gabe getting lucky, and Von Glower creepily caressing Gabe’s hair while he’s asleep.  I cannot help but think that Grace will probably castrate him when she finds out about this, if the Gerde Incident was any indication.

q3It’s the big day of the hunting trip, although the members haven’t started gathering yet.  Gabe returns to the club, snarks a bit at Xavier, and retrieves his tape recorder from the magazine that I remember planting (in Syp time) weeks ago.

He returns to Harry, his lawyer, and gets the latest mailed report from Grace.  Harry says that the Bavarian national forest has had a long string of missing persons over the past 10 years or so, so I guess it’s a good thing that Gabe is going there completely unprotected.  Well, he’s got a sausage in his pants pocket.  That will slow down the wolves somewhat, I imagine.  Harry continues to help out by translating the tape, which has the hunting lodge members talking about the killings, the wolves, and how Gabe is asking too many questions.  Harry is dutifully concerned.  I like Harry.

q4Gabe heads to the police Kommisar and uses the same tape to convince him to let Gabe check out the account books that the police confiscated from the victim Grossman’s place.  When the big, beefy Kommisar and his big, beefy partner leaves the room, Gabe rips out an account page, then lies to the Kommisar as to the location of the club.  Right now I think that Gabe is actively trying to get eaten.

Gabriel Knight 2: Lilies of the valley

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

So interesting story: This past weekend I was visiting my parents, who are preparing to go on another European trip.  We got on the subject of castles and I mentioned how this video game I was playing had us take a virtual tour of Neuschwanstein.  My parents told me that they visited there on their last trip and we spent 10 minutes comparing notes.  Apparently the game is incredibly faithful to the actual tour and details.  Neat!

w1Grace goes back to her boyfriend, the slightly offputting Georg, who talks about the wolf panels at the castle and mentions that they might be related to the lost Wagner opera.  Georg thinks that Wagner was too egotistical to have worked on a secret opera that he didn’t talk about, but Grace wonders if there was a reason for that secrecy.  A sponsorship deal with Reebok, perhaps?

w2Then it’s back to what this game does best: letter writing!  On typewriters!  What, is this 1972?  Where are the bloomin’ werewolves?  Why does playing Grace’s storyline feel like a developer is farming out his bachelors research project to me?

w3If you wanted to get a character in an adventure game arrested, you would simply have to make everything lootable.  They’d shoplift themselves right into a 20-year sentence by the time they walked down a city block.  So I’m not surprised that Grace is captivated by lillies outside of a church — because they’re clickable.  Dunno why random flowers are such a big deal, but the pastor gives her one.  Maybe he’s putting a curse on her and by accepting the lilly she’ll turn inside-out within the day.

Hey, I need to amuse myself when they’re talking in un-subtitled German.  Give me a break.

So now that Grace has a lilly, what to do with it?  If you answered, “Go to the lake where Ludwig II drowned and throw it in as a tribute,” then you defy video game logic as much as this game does.  Seriously, how was I supposed to know how to do that?

w4Good thing I did, because as Grace puts the lilly in and says a prayer (to whom?  Ludwig?), a face pops out of the water’s reflection.  Guess ol’ Luddie is haunting the riverbanks and makes a rare appearance whenever someone throws a lilly on his watery grave.  Next show at 3pm, kids!

OK, I head back to the museum and see one of the entries mention “by the power of the lily,” so I guess Ludwig had a thing for them.  And swans.  And wolves.  Too much symbolism, perhaps?

w5A stroke of good fortune (and programming) — the son of the guy who got to read and interpret Ludwig’s diary faxes me a copy.  In it, it shows how the guy struggled with his werewolfy nature and how Wagner’s music had an impact on it.  Guess the connection is becoming more clear!

Gabriel Knight 2: Castle cruising

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

c1This does not look like a church.  This looks like the portal to the nightmare world.  Well, in you go, Gracie!

Actually, it’s a memorial chapel for Ludwig and Grace doesn’t go in, but heads on by and checks out the lake where Ludwig and the doctor drowned.  There’s a totally cheery black cross in the middle of it:

c2Dallmeier, the Ludwig expert, shows up to talk shop.  Ludwig does sound like an interesting guy, although I am vastly curious how the makers of this game decided to draw him into a werewolf plot.  Dallmeier talks about how Ludwig agreed to let Prussia take over Bavaria and be a vassal king, and how he was both Catholic and a homosexual.  He also tells a bit of Gudden, the Black Wolf, who sat on the Prussian court with a mysterious past.  Dr. Gudden was also the arresting doctor who was found dead with Ludwig in the lake.

c3Grace has one stop left on her Ludwig tour: the Neuschwanstein castle.  I actually know of this castle, because it’s kind of famous for being one of the inspirations for the Cinderella castle at Disney.  Didn’t know that Ludwig II had it made, but I never really knew much about the guy before this game anyway.

c4The game has a cool “tour tape” button for this portion of our museum hopping.  It provides a voice-over tour for the castle, Ludwig’s obsession with building them (werewolf sanctuaries?  Naw…), and his fascination with Richard Wagner.  I learned that Ludwig had a thing for swans, which I guess is why Gabriel was dreaming of one?  Ludwig haunting his dreams or something?  The tour tape said that the swan motif symbolized “majesty and purity.”

c5The tour through the castle is pretty  engaging, especially since I’ll probably never be there in real life.  Ludwig’s bedroom features a host of hand-carved wood that took 4.5 years to create.  Off to the side is a rather sinister little chapel with a “Black Madonna” and other religious paintings.

c6A portrait of the man Ludwig emerges more clearly in this place.  He was obviously discontent with his status as a lesser king and retreated into fantasy as a result.  His castle, his interest in opera, and his love of mythology came out of this.  The castle is kind of a solo playground with themed rooms for his imagination.

c7In his study, the tour tape tells Grace that Ludwig was studying the occult before he died.  There are also a LOT of wolf paintings in the last room.  Should have consulted your local Watcher and Vampire Slayer, man.  Get the Scoobies on this thing!

Gabriel Knight 2: Wallowing in Wagner

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

b1Grace’s museum trip dug up a few interesting details, but now she’s about to head off on a different direction — to meet a strange man with a sexy voice and the same Ludwig II painting that everyone seems to have.  This is Herr Josef Dallmeier, some Ludwig expert.  He’s peachy.

Grace goes to another museum, this one devoted to Wagner.  She does a bit of shameless flirting with the desk host to get in (and it is just so pathetic:  Him: “You are alone, aren’t you?”  Grace: “Endlessly!”).

b2Ah, the 90s, when every FMV game looked like an extra set on Myst.

b3Looks like Wagner was trying to help Ludwig out with something.  A cure for lycanthropy?  Music and architecture and crystals and acoustics?  Hm.  So who wants to bet that Gabriel gets bitten and has to use the Ludwig/Wagner invention to get cured by the end of the game?  Again, just a guess, but coy this game is not.

b4Grace goes back to flirting with the desk guy.  He says that Ludwig came along late in Wagner’s life and helped save his music.  Grace asks about this lost Wagner opera, but the guy doesn’t know much about it.  Well, you’re a bucket of help.

I swear, if this game is trying to Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago me and try to teach me historical facts on the sly, then I’m going to go into its code and start pulling strings out.

Gabriel Knight 2: Grace is totally into death

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

a1Chapter Four begins and we’re back in the shoes of the intense, driven Grace Nakimura.  Whose life will she ruin today?  I can hardly wait to find out!

a2It’s nighttime and a full moon (because werewolves), and Grace is having a nightmare involving being chased by wolves while wearing a white dress that’s like 40 feet long.  It’s the Rapunzel of dresses, let me tell you.  When she gets to a sleigh, the driver turns into a werewolf and then Grace does that thing where the hero wakes up from a bad dream and sits straight up in bed.  You know, that thing nobody ever does.

a3What to do after a nightmare?  Why, do some light historical reading on Ludwig II, the fairytale prince.  This biography mentions the king’s late obsession with a guy named Louis, who also was into “sensual” stuff.  So he made a wolfie pal and… what?  Got turned into a werewolf himself?  I’m still not seeing all of the connections between the current story and the investigation into the past here.

Grace goes down to the post office and starts grinning like a little girl when she sees that she’s gotten a letter from Gabe.  A love letter?  Oh, please!  Actually, no… it’s more work, but that’s just as good from Grace’s perspective.  Gabe asks her to do some looking into Ludwig II, so I guess we’re off to a good start for the day.

a4At the hotel restaurant, Grace bumps into the weirdo Smiths again and chats them up.  All I want to know is how much product that lady uses in her hair, but that’s not one of the dialogue options.

What they do talk about is how they see themselves as “warriors of the light” who fight against the forces of darkness.  In what I see as a bit of hypocrisy, these hardcore Christians are also into Tarot readings, and they offer to do a reading for Grace.  She gets “the Empress” and Gabe gets “the Magician.”  Mrs. Smith warns Grace of an upcoming trial and that she must use the power of her love to get them through it.  Grace starts sputtering about how she and Gabe aren’t… I mean… you’ve got the wrong idea

Oh Grace, only hypocrites can sit at this table.

a5Because Grace just cannot have a normal day at all, her next stop is back at the church crypt where she sees Gerde mourning over the previous chuckyeager (or whatever, I’m tired of looking the spelling up).  “Oh hey Gerde!  You’re into death too?  Awesome!”

a6Well, Ms. Dense Head finally realizes that Gerde was in love with Wolfgang and probably wasn’t jumping into the sack with Gabe, so she goes to pick some flowers to make it all better.  It’s a long flower-picking scene.  It’s a very, very long flower-picking scene.  I would not have been surprised if “1-800-FLOWERS1-800-FLOWERS” appeared as the sponsor for this scene.

Because flowers makes everything better, the second Grace dumps them on Wolfgang’s tomb, all is forgiven. Gerde finally hands over the keys to Gabe’s car.  ABOUT TIME.  Should have shoved some tulips in your face two days ago.  Man I’m so tired of this village.

a7With the freedom of a car, Grace makes a beeline to… a Ludwig II museum.  Gabe, who wants to see that stuffy fart when we can look at paintings of an even stuffier old dead fart?  The whole Ludwig connection is starting to intrigue, especially concerning the connection around the coup that ended his reign under mysterious circumstances.  A couple other details emerge from this trip to the world’s smallest museum: a painting that features the sleigh that Grace saw in her dream, the fact that Ludwig and Wagner (the music guy) were friends and there was something about a new Wagner opera, and the tidbit that Ludwig became a recluse in his later years.

To this game’s credit, it does expect the player to pay attention.  I’m kind of impressed that any scenes where one or more of the characters are speaking German are not subtitled — we’re supposed to catch the gist of what’s being said from relatable words and body language (or actually learn German, I guess).  I appreciate that.  Feels more immersive.

So knowing what the game has told me already and with no outside information, I’m going to call it.  Louis, a werewolf, bit Ludwig and made him into a werewolf as well.  But since Ludwig wanted to save his soul, he hid himself from his people so that he wouldn’t prey on them.

Gabriel Knight 2: Men Who Sit In Chairs And Talk A Lot

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

e1We’re back for another episode of Men Who Sit In Chairs And Talk A Lot.  On last week’s show, we chatted with Von Glower and his barely restrained primal urges, and this week we’re on to Von Zell, the aggressive tool.  He used to be a close friend with Von Glower but there’s some coldness and tension between the two now.  He’s really short with Gabe, but I can’t help but think that he’s spot-on about seeing through Gabe’s pretenses here — he identifies that Gabe is here on flimsy pretexes and is prying too much.

When asked about the basement trophies — which came from lands obviously far from Germany — Von Zell has a total snit fit and storms off.  Fun to see grown men acting like that!

e2This screen is the bane of my existence in Gabriel Knight 2.  It’s a long street that you have to cross repeatedly, and each time it just slooooowly scrolls as Gabe walks left or right.  I’m not a fan.

e3He wants YOU… to sit down in the chair and talk for a while.  Of course.  Wouldn’t want any action to interrupt all of the chair-sitting and chit-chatting that infests this game.  Gabriel has spent more time on his butt faffing about with various locals than he has boxing werewolves or having swan dreams.  C’mon already!

The police commissar is antagonistic because, let’s face it, Gabe is a smarmy jerk, but he agrees to answer a few questions about the case.  The guy says that there has been five killing so far, all in broad daylight and involving body parts strewn about.  So I guess that nice and neat chalk outline in the previous crime scene was there as decoration?  Or did someone reassemble the body?  Anyway, he thinks the culprit is a pet that’s being taken back to someone’s home.

Asking him about the Black Wolf actually triggers a reveal — the commissar remembers an old case from 1989 were a young girl disappeared and a witness said that she was attacked by a big black wolf.

I didn’t notice this until now, but there’s a handy “hint” button that suddenly appeared that shows which subway stops have tasks to complete to finish out the chapter.  Back to Huber farm for me!

e4Another day, another letter to Grace, another shot of Gabe’s tongue slathering up that envelope.  Again, why do they keep writing letters?  He could just call her on that modern telephone over there, since he knows she’s in the castle.  Heck, he could probably stick his head out of the window and yell to her.

Gabe calls a number that he copied down from the police station and finds out that the murdered guy knew one of the members of the hunting lodge.  He then reads through that werewolf book Grace sent him and I see that there’s a paragraph mentioning something happening in Brazil.  Like the mask, Gabe.  Like the… forget it.  It feels as though I know pretty much the entire plot of this game right now and am just waiting for Gabe to catch up.  The hunting lodge a werewolf den.  Von Glower is the Black Wolf and the alpha wolf of the pack.  The zoo guy probably let out the two wolves to cover for the killings.  Von Jerkface is a rogue killer who is making a mess of things and is on the outs from the group.  Grace is nuts.  Gabe likes to smirk.  Roll end credits.

e5Back to the Men Who Sit In Chairs And Talk A Lot club, this time for a fireside chat with Preiss.  He’s oozing sinister intensity, talks about seducing women, and generally makes Gabe uncomfortable.  I’m cool with that.

e6About this time everyone files in and the room becomes a strange cross-breed between the cast of the terrorists from Die Hard and a German soap opera.  Von Zell is remarkably snippy with Von Glower when the Baron says that Gabe can go on tomorrow’s hunting trip.  Frankly, shut up Von Zell — I want to shoot something and bag me a werewolf.  This argument is brought up again a minute or two later (after I bugged Von Zell via a tape recorder in a magazine because I am just that good) and the twit storms off.  He likes to storm off.  It’s becoming endearing.

e7Gabe returns to the farm for the night and finds a dead, mutilated rabbit (I think) outside the door.  A first-person POV shot — in Predator-cam, no less — shows a beast watching him.  The talisman that Gabe wears but is never seen except when it is convenient shields him from attack, however.

And that’s the end of chapter three!

Gabriel Knight 2: More fun with Xavier

(This is part of my journey playing through Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

x1It’s a new day in the game, but snooty ol’ Xavier is still wearing the exact same clothes since yesterday.  He informs Gabe that everyone is out and about, which makes me wonder what Xavier, y’know, does when that place is empty.  It pleases me to imagine that he skips through the halls singing showtunes.

Gabe interviews Xavier about the club, which he finds out was established in 1970 by Von Glower and has a membership of five people.  Xavier has the easiest job in the world, I’m just saying.  Five people?  Who show up once in a while to drink and then turn into murderous wolves?  Why can’t I get a job like that?

x2Doesn’t Gabe look like he’s levitating in this screencap?  That green screen doesn’t do the best job of meshing the two sometimes.

Gabe wanders around the lodge and discovers a locked room, but since his inventory has yet to be expanded with “lockpicks” or “sledgehammer,” I’m going to have to do the adventure game route of coming up with a bizarre setup.

x3Naturally this involves planting a cuckoo clock in a potted plant, because Gabe loves to play games with Xavier.  The idea here is that the clock’s alarm, when it goes off, sounds like knocking and Xavier will come back to check it out.  This fun activity has to be done twice: Once to take the keys out of the podium and once to put them back in once Gabe unlocks the mystery door.  Man, after all of that work, this better be the coolest room ever!

x4OK, it’s the coolest room ever.  There are tons of hunting trophies around, including endangered species and, oh yes, a human skull.  Plus lots of guns and high-powered rifles.  Gabe snarks, “What are these people hunting, ninjas?”  Doesn’t make much sense, but that’s amusing enough that I’ll let it pass.

Anyway, Gabe is caught by a club member but feigns ignorance and Xavier gets a talking-to.  With that bit of fun achieved, Gabe heads out and over to his new friend Von Glower’s house.

x5See, this is why I should never be rich.  I would hate getting this dressed up just to lounge around.  Is that a neckerchief with a robe?  Dang, you are a stylish dude!  Too bad you’re in league with Satan, but you’re still stylish!

“I find nothing more stimulating than a fresh companion,” Von Glower says in a not-at-all-creepy way to Gabe.  “New treasures to reap!”

Von Glower talks about the club and how each of the members were chosen for their great personal accomplishments, and how the group has a desire to get back to their physical natures.  Von Glower is very concerned that humans have lost the ability to be predators.  He’s all but broadcasting, “I AM A WEREWOLF!” although I’ll give the game credit: You don’t often see wine-drinking, philisophical werewolves in fiction.

The mention of the Black Wolf does startle Von Glower and cause him to spill his drink a bit.  He gets frantic covering up, talking about the recent murders, upset about the “pointless slaughter.”  But don’t you want to tap into your primal side?  Get back to nature?  Why doesn’t your club go hunting these “killer wolves”?

x6Cool mask, dude!  It’s Brazilian and I’m totally wearing that to Halloween next year.