Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a 1993 point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Sierra On-Line, Inc. (the now defunct Sierra Entertainment). It is the first game of the Gabriel Knight series and was first released in North America on December 17, 1993, but has been subsequently re-released both individually and as Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition, a compilation with The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery. The game follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of a rare book store and fledgling writer, as he investigates a series of local murders he plans to use as the basis for his new novel.
Sins of the Fathers was released cross-format as both a single CD-ROM disc and as a set of eleven 3.5" floppy disks. The CD-ROM version included voice-acting by Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Leah Remini among others. The CD-ROM version also included video sequences that the floppy version instead included as a sequence of still images.
Sins of the Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. Its story unfolds over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions to be performed before proceeding to the next. In this way, the game proceeds mostly linearly, since the puzzles on a given "day" must be completed in order to reach the next day. However, within each day play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game a running score is added to as new challenges (both required and optional) are completed.
Unlike newer graphical adventure games that use context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" in which the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on screen object. The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: WALK, LOOK, ASK, TALK, PICKUP, OPEN/CLOSE, OPERATE, and MOVE. Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle. Also located on the "icon bar" are the INVENTORY and RECORDER buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the CONTROLS and HELP buttons. Clicking on the INVENTORY button will open up the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use READ, OPEN, and LOOK commands with any inventory item.
"ASK" and "TALK" differ in that "ASK" results in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters, while "TALK" results in general, usually shorter, interactions and is available for most characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the list displayed. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the RECORDER button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.
At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code. Once the phrase is complete the player will select the SEND button to send the message.