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GK:2 stands out as probably the best of a brief spate of games that came out in the 90s featuring live actors in streaming video. The game uses excellent actors, a simplified and intuitive method of interaction and a compelling story-line to perfect what was always a flawed gaming system and deliver a fantastic, deep adventure game.
The Beast Within is, obviously a sequel. It rejoins Gabriel Knight, now as a struggling Shattenjaeger in Germany trying to solve a string of murders involving a suspected werewolf. Unlike most sequels, which just provide more of the same, GK:2 reinvents itself. Due to the method of using live actors the interface has been completely retooled. No more do you have to choose between take, move, operate and speak commands. If you can use it, the cursor will change to a dagger and allow you to do so. There is a great deal to operate, which gives you a much greater feeling of being involved in the action than most games of this type. Unlike other live action games, which often leave you feeling like you're just passively watching a bad movie, GK:2 keeps you involved, making you feel like a detective in a dime store murder mystery.
GK:2 stands out, for me, as the best of the series. The quality of the series fell off sharply in the third installment as it attempted to make a transition to full 3-d. Here however, the game designers manage to transition beautifully into a new style, taking the best and discarding the worst.