Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
|Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars|
|Publisher(s)||Virgin Interactive (PC)|
BAM! Entertainment (Game Boy Advance)
Ubisoft (Wii, Nintendo DS)
Revolution Software (iOS & Mac OS X (Director's Cut))
Kalypso Media (PC (Director's Cut))
|Designer(s)||Charles Cecil (director)|
Barrington Pheloung (composer)
|Platform(s)||PC (DOS, Windows), PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, Mobile phone, Wii, Nintendo DS, iOS, Mac OS X|
Game Boy Advance
Wii (Director's Cut)
Nintendo DS (Director's Cut)
PC & Mac (Director's Cut)
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (released as Circle of Blood in the US) is a point-and-click adventure game released to the PC on November 5, 1996. It was released on the PlayStation in December that same year and on the Game Boy Advance March 19, 2002. It has also been released to the Mobile phone, and re-released to the Wii, PC, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS and iOS as a "director's cut". According to Charles Cecil, it sold around a 1,000,000 copies in the mid-1990s. The game follows George Stobbart - a young American patent lawyer, who is a eye witness and victim of a bomb attack on a small Parisian cafe.
In 1994,Charles Cecil, Noirin Carmody and Sean Brennan invented the game while having dinner together and talking about the mythology of the Templars. The game is serious in tone, but also has plenty of humor and graphics animated in a style of classic animated movies. The game takes place in both real and fictional locations. The Shadow of the Templars was the third game built with the Virtual Theatre engine.
Critics praised The Shadow of the Templars for its story, puzzles, voice acting, dialog and gameplay. The Game was spawned by a number of sequels. They are known as the Broken Sword series. Cecil also led the development of the sequel, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror. Revolution released a remake in 2009, which also got very good reviews from the gaming press.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Development
- 4 Marketing and release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Legacy
- 7 References
- 8 Other websites
Gameplay[change | change source]
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Through a point-and-click interface, the player takes the role of George Stobbart through the game's world. A player interacts with the environment by selecting from multiple commands.
Players must properly construct action combinations between commands and the world's objects in order to successfully solve puzzles and progress in the game.
While talking with other characters, the player can choose between topics for discussion, such as objects from your inventory (on top of the screen), or other (on the bottom of the screen). The in-game action is often interrupted by cutscenes, non-interactive animated sequences that are used to provide information about character personalities and advance the plot. Like other Revolution Software's Games, in The Shadow of the Templars, the player character's death is possible.
The audio of the game includes recorded sound effects, orchestral music and recorded voices of voice actors. The game graphics are animated in a style of classic animated films. The game was directed by Charles Cecil and the original score was composed by Barrington Pheloung.
Synopsis[change | change source]
Setting and characters[change | change source]
Judging by the likes of the surroundings (and the opening quote: "Paris in the Fall. The last months of the year, and the end of millennium..."), Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is supposedly set at the time of the release of the game. The game follows George Stobbart (voiced by Rolf Saxon), an American patent lawyer on vacation, travelling Europe, in Paris who is knocked out by the explosion caused by man dressed as a clown. Throughout the game you meet many other characters, including Nicole Collard (voiced by Hazel Ellerby), Khan, Flobbage, André Lobineau, Sergeant Moue, Inspector Rosso, Flap and Guido, Lady Piermont, Sean Fitzgerald, Countess de Vasconcellos, The Hendersons, Plantard, Nigel Peagram (a.k.a. Molly Peagram), Jacques Marquet, Pierre Carchon, Bruno Ostvald, Eklund, Klausner, The Grand Master etc.
The game starts of in Paris, France. Later in the game you also visit many other countries, including Ireland, Syria, Spain and Scotland.
Plot[change | change source]
Extended story in the Director's Cut[change | change source]
The game opens in Paris with journalist Nicole Collard receiving a request to go to Palais Royale to interview a famous media tycoon and potential candidate for President of France, Pierre Carchon, also famous for his lecherous behaviour. A mime hangs around outside Carchon's home, whom Nico ignores and carries on inside the house. She meets Carchon's wife, Imelda, and Carchon reveals he knew Nico's father very well, Thierry Collard. Soon, there is a noise in the drawing room, Carchon investigates only to be shot. Nico rushes to the scene to see the mime over Pierre's corpse. She is knocked to the ground before she can do anything and wakes up to find Imelda going to call the police.
After persuading her that she wants to find the truth and help, Imelda allows Nico to access Carchon's room, which contains an elephant carving exactly the same as that of Nico's father and a stone cylinder, which contains a hidden code of letters. On Carchon's corpse, Nico discovers a ticket stamped "Bateaux de la Conciergerie" and goes to investigate the dock. By using the letters on the cylinder, she discovers a secret office area where Carchon and many others met for business. After writing her story up and publishing it, her editor tells her to drop the story at which Nico becomes angry. However, she receives a mysterious phone call from a man called Plantard who tells her he needs to speak to her about her story.
Original story[change | change source]
The next day, an American tourist George Stobbart enjoys a coffee at a Parisian cafe and sees an old man entering the cafe with a briefcase. Almost immediately, a clown arrives with an accordion, who steals the man's briefcase and drops his accordion. The accordion detonates and blows the cafe up. George manages to survive and investigates the cafe. He is soon interrogated by Augustin Rosso, a renowned police inspector who utilizes psychic techniques to question witnesses. George then meets Nico outside the cafe taking pictures, who explains that she was meant to meet the old man, Plantard. After agreeing to help with her story, George traces the clown's steps to the nearby sewers. Acquiring the clown's nose and a scrap of material, he exits the sewers and meets a war veteran, who explains a man exited the sewers before with a briefcase. Showing the scrap of material prompts the veteran to reveal the killer dropped his jacket and gives George the tailor's name and phone number. George attempts to find out more from the tailor, Todryk, but without the killer's name, Todryk is uncooperative.
George goes to Nico's apartment and she discovers an address inside the clown's nose for the costume shop where it was purchased. George goes there and learns the killer's name, Khan and that he hired both a clown and a pixie costume. Todryk then tells George of the Hotel Ubu, the killer's accommodation. Outside the hotel are two shady characters, Flap and Guido, who search George's pockets searching for something important. With the help of an English aristocrat, Lady Piermont, George obtains an ancient manuscript from the hotel safe, which Khan deposited. While infiltrating Khan/Mourlin's hotel room, he also finds a matchbook from the Club Alamut, which seems Middle Eastern. After evading Flap and Guido who are searching for the manuscript and returning to Nico, she deduces the manuscript is related to the Knights Templar, a wealthy and powerful order of knights wrongly accused of heresy and burned at the stake by the Inquisition. The plan was hatched by Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V in a bid to gain the Templars' amassed wealth but the treasure remained hidden. On the manuscript, there are several pictures: A knight with a sword and a bull, between them a gem is balanced on a tripod; A knight with a crystal ball; A man weaving on a loom with a ship in the background; a woman looking at a looking glass to see three bearded faces. Seeking help at the Crune Museum, George discovers the tripod on the manuscript is in the museum itself, being discovered in Lochmarne, Ireland. Nico explains a professor named Peagram had an excavation in the village.
George travels to Lochmarne, Ireland and questions a man named Sean Fitzgerald about working at Peagram's dig. Fitzgerald reveals they found a hidden Templar chapel beneath the local castle ruins and Peagram entrusted a package to him, to be delivered to a 'Jacques Marquet'. Fitzgerald panics and attempts to flee, only to be run over by a Ferrari driven by a man in a pixie costume (Khan). George offers to fix the landlord's beer pumps and goes into the cellar, discovering Sean's package, a gleaming gem that Peagram discovered, identical to the one on the manuscript. Making his way inside the castle, George uses some plaster of Paris to open a secret door where he discovers a mural of a hanged man with 'Montfaucon' underneath. Meanwhile, Nico attempts to find out more about her father's involvement with Carchon. She deduces quickly that Imelda is in danger and rushes to Palais Royale to save her. Nico is too late but the dying Imelda gives Nico a key, which fits the box her father gave her. Nico opens the box and finds out the truth. Her father and Imelda were lovers and her father worked for the government as a sort of spy against Carchon's secret organization.
Back in Paris, George tracks down Jacques Marquet to the Hagenmeyer clinic. Posing as a doctor George gains access to Marquet's ward and finds him suffering from serious wounds. Marquet reveals he has hired Flap and Guido to steal the tripod from the Crune Museum. Another doctor soon intercedes and George exits. Soon, Marquet's ECG machine goes haywire, prompting security to bust open the door. They discover Marquet has been suffocated and the bogus doctor has escaped. George then asks Nico's old colleague, Andre Lobineau at the Crune Museum for his help with the manuscript. He also reveals Montfaucon is a place in Paris. George hides in an Egyptian sarcophagus until nightfall when Flap and Guido attempt to steal the tripod. George is successful in distracting them until he loses consciousness, when another unidentified thief breaks through the skylight and steals the tripod. Back at Nico's, Nico reveals she herself was the thief and gives George the tripod. George goes to Montfaucon and enters the sewers, where he discovers a secret meeting of important people including a Nobel Prize winner George met at the hotel, claiming to be the Templars. They discuss that they are looking for the Sword of Baphomet and that one of them, Klausner has gone to Syria to get a lens. George deduces that Plantard and Peagram were members of this organisation as well. The player also assumes Carchon was involved too. As they leave, George uses the tripod and gem, which splits a beam of light and lights up letters spelling 'Marib'. Nico explains Marib is a village in Syria.
George travels to Syria and discovers that Khan has already been here and asked about George and Klausner. A taxi driver named Ultar offers to drive to Bull's Head where Khan requested to go. Exploring Syria, George meets Duane and Pearl Henderson, an American couple looking for ancient souvenirs. He also deduces that the crystal ball on the manuscript is in fact the lens that Klausner was meant to obtain. George finds a statue on a stand belonging to a boy, Nejo. George sells this to Duane for $50, allowing George to pay to go to Bull's Head Hill. At the Bull's Head, George finds Klausner's corpse and takes the lens. He also discovers an idol with three bearded faces (Baphomet) and a Latin inscription describing Britain. Khan then arrives and holds George at gunpoint but George manages to escape jumping off the cliff onto Ultar's truck.
Back in Paris, Andre has deciphered part of the manuscript and it leads to the De Vasconcellos family in Spain, who were once connected with the Templars. George travels to the Villa of the family, discovering only the Countess and her gardener Lopez remain. Sneaking past Lopez, George manages to convince the Countess of his intentions and she leads him to the De Vasconcellos mausoleum, where George discovers a chessboard puzzle. Solving it opens up a panel with the De Vasconcellos chalice inside. The Countess entrusts it to George and wants him to find her missing ancestor Don Carlos.
Back in Paris, George travels to Montfaucon where the local priest polishes the chalice. Meanwhile, George uses the lens on the statue in the church and looks through it to discover a hidden image of a burning man. The image on the chalice matches a tomb in the church, and George deduces that it is in fact Don Carlos' tomb. Andre reveals that an idol of Baphomet has been discovered in Paris. George visits the site, and manages to create a copy of the guard's key using the remaining plaster of Paris, soap and paint. He gains access to the excavation and puts the chalice near the idol where the reflection shows the image of a church with a square tower. George visits the Countess again with Biblical references on Carlos' tomb. They show the way to a secret area inside a well where George discovers a chessboard mural with a river running through it.
With the clues they have (the river, the church and the Latin phrase), George, Nico and Andre work out that the Templars are heading for Bannockburn in Scotland. George and Nico catch a train there, but Flap and Guido are aboard having followed them. George discovers Nico along with an old woman are missing. He reaches the guard's carriage where the old woman (Khan) throws Flap out of the carriage while Eklund (the bogus doctor who killed Marquet) is knocked out after shooting Khan. George and Nico reach the church in Bannockburn and witness the Grand Master of the Templars acquiring a strange power from two huge Baphomet idols (the Sword of Baphomet). Inspector Rosso is revealed to be in league with them as well. After trying to tempt George into their ranks, the Grand Master orders Eklund to kill them, but Eklund is killed by Rosso, who is then killed by the Grand Master. The couple try to escape but are blocked by Guido. Nico saves the day when she throws a handbag of C4 (from Khan) onto some burning gunpowder. They manage to escape as the church explodes which kills Guido and the Templars and presumably the Grand Master.
Afterwards, George and Nico return to Paris and go on their first date on the Eiffel Tower.
Development[change | change source]
Original[change | change source]
The idea of making the Broken Sword game came about in 1994, like many other ideas, over a dinner with plenty of wine, with Charles Cecil, Noirin Carmody, and Sean Brennan, who was then head of publishing at Virgin Interactive. They started talking about the mythology of the Templars, and what rich historical background it would create a game. And so, "Broken Sword was born".
Charles Cecil was the director and designer of the game, Tony Warriner and David Sykes were the designer-programmers, and Noirin Carmody was the commercial director. The game uses the Virtual Theatre engine, which is also used for the second Broken Sword game, and all of Revolution's previous games.
The team at Revolution had very high ambitions for the game, but there was a lot of competition. Revolution had a team which created some very successful adventures, but to move to the next level, they needed to bring the best from other creative industries. Charles Cecil convinced a layout artist, Eoghan Cahill to join the project. He and his friend Neil Breen, who had both worked at the Don Bluth studios in Dublin, drew all the backgrounds in pencil, and the team then digitally colored them in Photoshop. The main characters and the introduction were created by an animator, Mike Burgess, who worked for Red Rover animation studio. Tragically, Burgess, who was about 20 years old, died a few months later.
The development process was very exhilarating, but often fraught. On its release, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars was received very good both critically and commercially.
Audio[change | change source]
A few years earlier, Charles Cecil played for a cricket team with the composer Barrington Pheloung. They had since lost contact, but when Charles contacted him to suggest that he might like to write the music, he took the offer.
Revolution already cast Hazel Ellerby as Nicole Collard, but had trouble finding an actor for George Stobbart. Hazel, who went to Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, suggested her former schoolmate from Guildhall, Rolf Saxon as George. Charles offered him the job and he accepted it. However, according to the credits, they were 2 actresses voicing Nico - Hazel Ellerby, and Rachel Atkins. The rest of the credited voice actors in the original are David Bannerman, Rosy Clayton, Jack Elliott, Steve Hodson, David Holt, Peter Kenny, Richard Mapletoft, Matthew Marsh, Colin McFarlane, Don McCorkindale, Gavin Muir, Paul Panting, and Andrew Wincott. In the German version of the game, George Stobbart is voiced by Alexander Schottky.
The Director's Cut[change | change source]
On March 21, 2009, Ubisoft released a special edition of Shadow of the Templars for the Wii and Nintendo DS. According to Charles Cecil, The Director's Cut came about, thanks to a group of Broken Sword fans, who started an online petition, beging him to bring the series back to the Wii and the Nintendo DS. The special editions are extended versions of the original. The game was programmed by Tony Warriner and Joost Peters. In The Director's Cut, Hazel Ellerby returns to voice Nicole Collard in the new sections, for the first time since the original. Rolf Saxon, like in every sequel, also returns to voice George Stobbart.
After releasing the original game to the GBA, Cecil thought it was time to reward fans with something new and different by making The Director's Cut. So, he decided the game would start a day before the famous Parisian cafe explosion in the original game, and it fills in some of the back-story of Nicole Collard, a pivotal character in the game. To this end Charles Cecil also drafted in the acclaimed comic book artist, Dave Gibbons, with whom Revolution worked previously on their 1994 cult classic adventure, Beneath a Steel Sky. In edition to working on the visual references for the game, Gibbons has also produced a comic book, to accompany the game's DS release (see Comic). Gibbons said that he decided to return to work on this video game, because he knew producing character shots with a range of expressions would be a challenging thing to do, but he knew he would enjoy it because of his involvement in the past.
Unlike in the original, players control Nico in some parts of the game. New puzzles were designed for each platform. Besides the new character artwork by Dave Gibbons, The Director's Cut also had a new first person view for certain puzzles.
Unlike the original game, the updated version also allows for multiple solutions to puzzles and a new co-operative mode for two players. In the DS version, there is no voice acting, only subtitles. A version for iPhone and iPod touch was released on January 20, 2010. In May 2010, a version with higher resolution and a digital comic was released on the iPad. A PC version was released on August 27, 2010 on various digital distribution services.
Marketing and release[change | change source]
Revolution made a comic book for the DS release of The Director's Cut in 2009 (see Comic), and also a launch trailer. On the release of The Director's Cut on iPhone and iPod touch on January 24, 2010, Revolution released the launch trailer on their YouTube channel, revolutionbevigilant. On the 8th day of Apple's 12 Days of Christmas, Revolution made The Director's Cut free for download for 24 hours.
Purchase[change | change source]
The original is currently available from Sold Out Sotware and Good Old Games (if you buy The Director's Cut). The iPhone version of The Director's Cut can be purchased from the iPhone/iPod Touch AppStore. The iPad version is also available on the iPad AppStore. The Mac version is available from Steam and the Mac AppStore. The PC version can be purchased from Intel Appup, Steam and Good Old Games, and also as part of the Broken Sword Complete package from Mastertronic. The Wii and DS versions are currently available in stores.
Downloadable content[change | change source]
The Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut Original Soundtrack was released on the iTunes Store on December 28 December, 2009. If you buy The Director's Cut on Good Old Games, you also get the original game, original manual, HD wallpapers, the soundtrack, 11 avatars, and the comic book.
Comic[change | change source]
The comic book of the same name was created by Charles Cecil and very well known artist Dave Gibbons for the DS release of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - Director’s Cut in March 2009. The short comic provides a further glimpse back into Nico’s past, leading readers right up to the events of her playable segments in the game.
Reception[change | change source]
Sales[change | change source]
Critical response[change | change source]
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars got very good reviews from critics. Adventure Gamers praised the game's story, puzzles, art, voice acting and interface, and called it a true masterpiece and adventure gaming at its absolute finest. However, the magazine stated that long conversations may put some players of. Joe Antol of Adventure Classic Gaming stated that it's one of the best adventures he has played in a number of years, and that it's a "must play and experience" adventure title for any adventure game lover. Game Over Online praised the GBA version, saying that Revolution did a great job redrawing the game's visuals, and that its patience, maturity and depth are some things that are rarely seen on the GBA. RPGFan stated that even if the GBA version can be buggy at times, it's still a worthy addition to any GBA library, and is one of the finest examples of how a well-crafted graphic adventure should be done. James Gordon of HonestGamers praised the games graphics, sound and story, and even called it one of the best GBA games to date, he stated that you may not want to play it more than once, even though he did. PC Gamer praised the game's story, puzzles and art. However, unlike most critics, the reviewer has criticized the voice acting, saying that it is not quite professional, and at times annoying. He also criticized the puzzles, stating that they were good, but some required to much pixel-hunting. "Mr. Bill and Lela" of Mr. Bill's Adventureland stated that it's a "winner" and a totally addictive game, which combines the very best aspects of traditional adventure games and mystery thrillers, with even a little romance thrown in for good measure, and a suspenseful and slowly evolving story that will keep you glued to your seat.
The Director's Cut[change | change source]
Like the original release, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut also got very good reviews from critics. App Spy praised the game's great looking visual presentation, excellent touch screen controles and challenging puzzle gameplay, and called it a must own games, even for newcomers to the genre, but stated that the hint system can make things too simple, and that the auto-save function is not the greatest. Touch Arcade said: "Whether you're an old fan of the original game, a newcomer to the series, or even someone who's never played a point-and-click adventure before, Broken Sword is a game with mass appeal that will draw you in" and called it "A Point-and-Click Classic Made Even Better". Slide to Play gave both, the iPhone and iPad a 4 out of 4 stars, and called it a real winner, even among other classic adventures. Nigel Wood of Touchgen praised the game's great visuals, sound, and well implemented interface, but called story the winner in the game, as it can "like a good book, keep you glued to your little screen". LEVEL stated that even 13 years after its first appearance, Broken Sword lost nothing of its powers, and called it a fantastic adventure game with lovely characters, strong story and DS-enhanced puzzle solving. Just Adventure stated that the game consists of a rich plot, fun characters and puzzles, and great art and soun. Francis Rizo III of Video Game Talk stated that Broken Sword with its engagingly deep storyline, gorgeous art, fun writing, entertaining puzzles and terrific vocal cast, just raised the bar to a level that will be incredibly hard to meet for any game, and that people should buy it, as it is fun and its success may spur developers to take another look at this somewhat dormant genre, supplementing the wave of Wii ports with something new and original.
Awards[change | change source]
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut was nominated for a British Academy Video Games Award 2010 for Story, but lost to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. In 2010, The Director's Cut won the award for Best European Adventure at the European Games Awards.
Legacy[change | change source]
In 2004, Adventure Gamers ranked Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars at #4 on their list of Top 20 Adventure Games of All-Time. Adventure Classic Gaming ranked it at #3 on their list of Top 10 retro graphic adventure games of all time from PC to consoles, in 2006. Metacritic ranked it at #9 on their list of 25 Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2010. In 2011, Adventure Gamers ranked it at #4 again on their list of Top 100 All-Time Adventures. In 2011, the first two Broken Sword games have been downloaded by over 4 million people.
Sequels[change | change source]
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars spawned three sequels. The first, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror was released in 1997 and is the only game in the series that does not follow the Knights Templar story line. It uses the same engine as the first Broken Sword game. Six years later, Revolution released Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, which moved to 3D graphics, and is the only game in the series that uses a direct control mechanism. It uses the RenderWare engine. In 2006, the company Broken Sword: The Angel of Death (released as Secrets of the Ark: A Broken Sword Game' in North America), which returns to the point 'n' click system used in the first two games, and is the only game in the series not released on any console. The game uses Sumo Digital's engine. In 2009, Revolution released a director's cut of the first game, named Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - Director's Cut. The company released a remastered edition of the second, named Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror - Remastered, in 2010. Revolution has confirmed that there will be a new Broken Sword game in the future, and in 2D, but did not confirm they are currently making one.
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- Revolution Software. ''Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. PC. (September 2010) “Charles Cecil (in the "Director's Message): We started talking about the mythology of the Templars (almost unheard of at that time) and what a rich historical background it would create, particularly a game. And so, ten years before the plethora of Templar-themed entertainment products, Broken Sword was born.”
- Revolution Software. ''Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. PC. (September 2010) “Charles Cecil (in the "Director's Message): We had very high ambitions for the game: but the competition was fierce. We had an excellent team who had writter some very successful adventures, but to move to the next level, we needed to bring the very best from other creative industries.”
- Revolution Software. ''Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. PC. (September 2010) “Charles Cecil (in the "Director's Message): I convinced a very talented layout artist, Eoghan Cahill to join the project. He and his colleague Neil Bree, who had both worked at the Don Blusth studios in Dublin, dre all the backgrounds in pencil, and we digitally colorded it in Photoshop.”
- Revolution Software. ''Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. PC. (September 2010) “Charles Cecil (in the "Director's Message): The main characters and the introduction sequence were created by a brilliant animator, Mike Burgess, who worked for Red Rover animation studio. Tragically Mike, who was in his 20s, died a few months later.”
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