(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.)
Done with the farm, Gabe hops in his VW and goes down to the subway, where I’m treated to this delightfully simple and elegant travel map:
My brain locked up for a good ten seconds just staring at that thing. A good thing that German is such a comforting foreign language to look at and not at all like an explosion of consonants that would come after a hearty, snot-filled sneeze. Prinzregentenplatz! Bless you.
The boxes in borders are my destinations, so in this mess there are only four options to go with. Whew. That makes it better. Wouldn’t want to end up with Gabe wandering around Estonia due to my poor navigation.
Gabe first goes to the police station where a hilarious exchange between this (not going to say Nazi guard not going to say Nazi guard) officer and himself takes place. Because Gabe doesn’t speak German and that is in no way going to impact a game that takes place entirely inside of Germany, the officer keeps barking at him as if he’s a Wolfenstein boss and Gabe makes ambiguous hand motions and talks slowly. Gabe tries to talk to the commissioner, but I guess he’s tied up with Batman so that’s a no go.
Next stop, the zoo! This game doesn’t stop beating you over the head with its love for bad green screens and FMV sequences, which is why I had to sit through a minute of a bored zookeeper walking into a wolf exhibit, tossing the animal some food, and walking out. Exciting!
I will say that I’m actually liking the new Gabe — his voice, at least. He’s not a horrible actor, but his voice-overs are far less grating than Tim Curry’s sometimes were. Of course, that’s not to say he isn’t prone to moments of milking the cow, as he overacts while calling a wolf over to him. But it’s entertaining, at least!
I get my first interactive dialogue session, this one with the zookeeper. It’s mostly clicking on keywords to see what he’ll say followed by the actors going into these unnatural pauses for the game to “reset” their motions. So pretty much like every awkward conversation I’ve ever had.
We talk a bit about the escaped wolves, which he thinks couldn’t be responsible for the killings. He won’t let me in to see the wolves, but mentions that Herr Doktor Klingmann would have that authority. Well, with a name like that, he’s bound to be a grandfatherly type and certainly not someone with a mad scientist lab in his basement!
Aw, no mad scientist lab? I am disappoint, Klingmann. He is an obvious nut about wolves — just look at that poster! — unless this is a zoo that only has wolves. It’s Germany, so I’m not going to rule that out. Would be the coolest zoo ever.
He’s a charming one, this guy. Insists I call him by his title and then he prattles on about how awesome wolves are, how he admires nature’s “purity,” the “primal language of death” that wolves apparently speak, and how he’s found like-minded souls to share his views. So Herr Doktor, you’re totally a werewolf, aren’t you? Dang, why isn’t that one of the dialogue choices! But you so are. Stop peeing on me to mark your territory.
Since I obviously need to get back to see the wolves and both Thomas and Klingmann aren’t cooperating, it’s up to the newfound power of technology to save the day! Fine, I’m using a tape recorder to trick someone like it’s Scooby Doo. With some trial and error, I spliced a tape with the Doktor telling the zookeeper to show me in.
Man, Gabe has *never* looked so smug as he does when he pulls off this deceit.
So anyway, Thomas takes him into the kennel where one of the wolves comes up and Gabe gets a chance to check her out. He notices she’s wearing a tag and then he pets her to get a clump of hair. That freaks both the zookeeper and the other wolf out, and the other wolf begins growling (but behind a chain link fence, so that’s the danger?). Anyway, the humans run out of there like they’re Keystone Cops and I’ve got another item for my inventory. Sorry, Thomas, it’s an adventure game. I gotta steal as much as I can.