Gray Matter is the first adventure game by renowned author Jane Jensen since the release of Gabriel Knight 3: the story mixes eerie goings-on with supernatural events in best Jensen-style. ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Philippa Alexander ...
Samantha Everett (voice)
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Malik (voice)
Karen Hayley ...
Various Characters (voice)
Steven Pacey ...
David Styles (voice)
Adrienne Posta ...
Mrs. Dalton (voice)
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Gray Matter is the first adventure game by renowned author Jane Jensen since the release of Gabriel Knight 3: the story mixes eerie goings-on with supernatural events in best Jensen-style. Neurobiologist Dr. David Styles is one of the game's central characters: since losing his wife in a horrible accident some several years ago, he has become a recluse, seldom leaving Dread Hill House, his English country estate. When student and part-time street performer Samantha Everett shows up at his doorstep, she unexpectedly becomes his assistant. Hailing from America, she has been traveling through most of Europe the last couple years. Her first task: finding six test subjects at Oxford University for one of Styles' experiments. The experiment starts off innocently enough, but then inexplicable incidents start mounting. Players control both Dr. David Styles and Samantha Everett in their bid to uncover the secrets and find out the truth. Gray Matter tackles questions concerning the nature of ... Written by Anonymous

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Adventure

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29 October 2010 (Germany)  »

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Trivia

Names of some of the St. Edmund Hall dormitory residents are references to actual or fictitious people, with their first and last names switched: "Doe, Grace" and "Nakimura, John" form John Doe (the standard "unidentified person" name) and Grace Nakimura (the female protagonist from the game Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993) by the same writer); "Jensen, Roberta" and "Williams, Jane" form Jane Jensen (the writer of the game) and Roberta Williams (the author of many classic adventure games); "Curry, Claude" and "Verilhon, Tim" form Tim Curry (the actor who voiced Gabriel in "Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned") and Claude Verilhon (a.k.a. Rael, the leader of The Raelian Movement, a UFO-centered religious organization). See more »

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References Godzilla (1954) See more »

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A decent game that doesn't have the flare Gabe Knight did.
9 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

Jane Jensen is one of those names that revolutionized the industry of graphic adventures in the good ol' days of Sierra On-Line. When she decided to fly solo and came up with Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, inadvertently, she set the bar really high for gaming developers across the board, but also for herself. The sequel, Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, also became a breakthrough in that it was one of the first games that used full motion capture. The GK franchise was that stupidly good.

It's inevitable to compare Gray Matter to the GK series, not only because they share the same author, but also because many elements are similar. The genre is the same, gameplay is similar, some general aspects of the storyline will seem familiar, the game is broken down into chapters (or days), there's a male and female protagonist and so forth.

The story is not great, and considering Jensen's curriculum vitae, this is a huge flaw. The narrative is downright linear, you can see the plot twists from a mile away and the character development is not really deep enough to relate and care about the little pixel-breathing guys. That being said, it has that appealing, mysterious and somber thing going on, which is yet another thing that shares with the GK universe. There was a clear effort to add content to the story by creating secondary objectives and bonuses that you can strive to clear before progressing with the main plot-line. For example, you can find out more about the supporting characters. Sadly, it doesn't really add anything substantial enough to be worthwhile.

The gameplay is basically point-and-click. You hover the mouse over something and it changes to the appropriate cursor. It feels comfortable enough to become organic and natural, but, like many adventure games, that's basically all you do: you click stuff until something happens, which can become a bit dull. Jensen's latest title also implements the "hotspot" system, popular in many adventure games to date, which is a not so subtle way to get hints as to what you should interact with next by placing a label on objects. If you still need more help getting through the game, each location in the map has a certain coloring if there's something that you still have to do there or it turns gray if the opposite is true.

Puzzles, for the most part, are easy and unchallenging, especially the ones that involve "magic tricks". Sam, the female lead in Gray Matter, is a street magician by trade, so you will reach certain points where you have to execute a trick from your magic book to get an item from someone, or persuade them into doing something. This was a feature that promised a whole lot more than what it actually delivers, which is basically just reproducing something that is already written in said magic book, being corrected if you got it wrong and repeating the process until you can pull the trick off successfully.

The voice acting and general style of the game is probably its strong suit. The actors do a good job delivering their lines and sound like high quality professionals. Stylistically, the cutscenes follow a sort of graphic novel, alla Max Payne, that becomes really enjoyable to look at. Sadly, they are not abundant.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good for an adventure game. It's 3D models over 2D backgrounds, which might seem like an ancient way of doing things with today's technology, but it's really well accomplished and some of the scenery is just plain beautiful to look at, especially towards the end of the game.

In the sound department, Jensen's husband and the man behind the memorable music in the GK series, Robert Holmes, graces us yet again with his talented ear and compositional talents. The music is just plain good. Unsurprisingly, it seems to share the same general direction of the entire project: it falls just a tad short of being as awesome as Gabriel Knight's soundtracks.

Summing up, Gray Matter is a decent adventure game. It doesn't really bring anything new to the table, and it's unavoidable to keep comparing it to its spiritual predecessor, partly because the New Orleans-based writer was a landmark in graphic adventure, but also because it feels like Jensen's stuck to a known formula for success and played it safe, most likely not meeting the expectations of a long-awaited title for a considerably-sized fanbase.

All in all, an okay game.


5 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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