BROKEN SWORD: SHADOW OF THE TEMPLARS
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 9, 2015
After building my new super secret base at Chichen itza, I decided to take some time off. So I left my crew to their own devices (against my better judgment, but what the hell), packed my suitcase and left for what I'd hoped would be a few weeks of relaxing. Well, no such luck! No sooner had left the premises than my phone began to ring frantically, though the franticness with which it rang might have mostly to do with my ringtone. In hindsight, choosing the Spongebob Squarepants theme as my ringtone was probably not one of my more brilliant ideas. When I answered the phone, the voice of a lady from the airport told me my flight was cancelled. No matter how hard I pleaded, begged or threatened to wipe her entire family off the face of the earth, she still couldn't get me another flight. So I did the only thing I could think of; I went back into my HQ and boarded the Small Red TimePod, I had built for just such an occasion, and set off for Paris, 1992.
So as not to divulge my true identity, I posed as an American tourist named George Stobbard. Man, what a vacation that was! I witnessed a bombing, met a saucy little minx named Nicole and together, we traveled the globe in order to unravel one of the biggest conspiracies known to man. When the world was safe again, I traveled to England for a little peace and quiet. In a local pub, I met a guy named Charles Cecil. We got to talking and I (aching to tell someone about my adventures and getting steadily more inebriated) told him everything that had happened to me over the last few weeks. He seemed very interested to hear what I had to say and I didn't mind the attention, not to mention the free pints.
When I returned home the next day, I had a splitting headache and a constant nagging at the back of my mind. While on vacation, I'd had a constant feeling of Déja vu, but I couldn't figure out why. Now, safely back home, sipping coffee on top of my secret HQ, it hit me like a ton of bricks; Why everything that had happened seemed so familiar, the guy I was talking to in the English pub, everything seemed to fall in place. Damn that Charles Cecil, he stole my adventure! The only thing he changed was the title. Instead of calling it "The awesome and studly, all-powerful Sadhonker defeats evil, saves the world and gets the hottest girl in town", he called it "Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars"
Released in 1996, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars took a new approach to point 'n click adventures. Charles Cecil opted to make it into a more cinematic experience than previous games in the genre had done. To this end, he changed the dialog system and hired seasoned animators to breathe life into the characters he created. I remember sitting behind my PC in my room and playing this game into the wee hours of the night with only a bottle of cola and a bag of chips to keep me company. Over the course of a few nights, I traveled the world, saved mankind and yes, I will admit I kind of had a crush on Nicole. Come to think of it, in a matter of speaking, she was the first woman ever to spend the night. Come on, you have to keep in mind that I was, at the time, a sixteen year old nerd, what more did I need?!
That being as it may, Broken Sword really did lift the point 'n click genre to new heights. The characters and events were more realistic than ever before, the dialog system was more advanced and the gameplay was absolutely perfect! All this made Broken Sword an experience I have never forgotten and will never forget as long as I live (ok, ok, I will admit that was a bit overly dramatic, but I really, really, REALLY like this game). I already liked the point 'n click genre in general, frequently playing games like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, Discworld, etcetera, etcetera. But it wasn't until I played Broken Sword, that I actually saw a game not just trying to be funny and entertaining, but also carry a serious undertone, as well as a more complex story. The combination of all these things was what really set it apart from other games of the same genre.
As American tourist George Stobbard, you witness a bombing of a Parisian café and are sucked into a world of secret societies and good old-fashioned greed. Together with Nicole Collard, a French journalist, you set off to unravel the mysteries of the mysterious Templar cult. During your journey, you meet lots of colorful characters, some good, some really bad. Every character adds his or her part to the story of Broken Sword, immersing you ever deeper in this world of lies and deceit. As you get ever closer to solving the mystery at hand, you'll visit awesome places and will have to try to solve the numerous puzzles that you come across. With every puzzle you solve, you'll move that much closer to your goal.
Because the characters and environments were all designed and hand drawn by some of the best animators in the field, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars looked absolutely stunning! Though it still had that cartoony quality, the characters looked more life-like than any character in a game up till then had ever done, with a set of movements to match. The game's soundtrack even more increased the cinematic quality of the game, and made the whole experience even better than it already was. The voice-acting was really well done and gave the characters their personality.
Thinking back to when I first played Broken Sword just makes me want to play this awesome game all over again. And while it is possible to play the game by using my original copy of the game and an emulator, it might be a better idea to play the Director's Cut. In March 2009, the Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars Director's Cut was released for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, closely followed by the games release for iPhone, iPod and iPad in May 2010 and for PC in August 2010. The Director's cut features quite a bit more gameplay and dialog, while at the same time clarifying some of Nicole Collard's back-story. In some completely new created sections of the game, players even get to control Nicole in a few, as she tries to solve a few puzzles of her own.
So all in all; Is Broken Sword a fantastic game, not to mention a fantastic series? Yes! Are the characters still as cool as we remember them from days long gone? Yes! Am I secretly still a little bit in love with Nicole Collard? ...No comment, your honor! All I can say is that, if you haven't played this game before, you should. If you have played it before, you should play it again. In fact, what are you still doing here?! Go, get out of here and play it right now! If anyone needs me, I know where I'll be. I'll be unraveling a global Templar conspiracy... and trying to convince Charles Cecil to give me writer's credit for the game. Wish me luck!
BROKEN SWORD: SHADOW OF THE TEMPLARS