Once again Jane Jensen and Sierra decide to completely overhaul the game’s design for the third adventure in this popular series. This time around we are given 3-D rendered graphics and gameplay from the first person perspective, and an increased difficulty level that doesn’t rely solely on finding the correct hotspot to click.
Gabriel has been hired by an aristocrat in desperation, as his baby has been kidnapped and for a reason unknown to Gabriel, would like his expertise in the occult. You follow the kidnappers on a train to France, deep in the mountains to a village called Rennes-Le-Chateau. A tour group has arrived as the same time as you, some to see the sites and some to search for the area’s treasure, rumored to be the Holy Grail. On the tour group, amazingly enough, is your best friend Detective Mosely. Grace follows you to France, and along with her new trusty computer database, helps you crack the case.
The story begins with a fair amount of intrigue as Gabriel gains knowledge of the area and its history, and slowly begins to unravel not only the mystery of the Holy Grail, but of the motives of the many well-developed characters in the game. But half-way through, the game is heavily bogged down in symbolism and lengthy puzzles. Once again, you switch between Gabriel and Grace, but the only real fun comes as Gabriel (despite one intense part early with Grace), who risks life and limb at many opportunities.
Tim Curry reprises his role as Mr. Knight, and does so with the same cocky attitude that made him endearing in The Sins Of The Fathers. Though, those who played the first game without the added speech feature might be turned off, knowing Gabriel in a different light entirely. He adds a little humour and fun back into the series, which is almost necessary in the suspense genre. Sadly, most of the supporting cast seems to be going through the motions. Even John de Lancie is rather plain as one of the game’s villains. To be fair, the scriptwriters wrote some fairly insipid dialogue, but it just didn’t feel as though their hearts were in it.
The graphics, rendered three-dimensionally, are grotesque, not to mention blocky and give little sense of realism. Moving Gabriel and Grace in the world is harder than it should be, though after playing for many hours, it eventually becomes second nature.
While the very predictable, but slow, plot finally begins to speed up near the end, there is little intensity and the final battle with evil is an anticlimax, especially when compared to the endings of the first two games. Blood Of The Sacred, Blood Of The Damned, the last in the series, is lauded by many, but feels more like a puzzlefest than an adventure game. Only for die-hard fans and patient puzzle seekers.