Broken Sword

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Paris in the fall. The last months of the year, and the end of the millenium. The city holds many memories for me. Of cafés, of music, of love... and of death.

Broken Sword is an adventure game series created by game designer Charles Cecil of Revolution Software. The game series revolves around the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard in several fictitious stories based on history and mythology. The first two games in the series are controlled by a traditional point-and-click interface. The third and fourth installments are based on a 3D graphics engine, with the third game using a direct control mechanism. The fourth game returns to the standard point-and-click interface, but within the 3D environment. A film, based on the first Broken Sword game, has been planned and is ready to be written.

The games in the series are:

  • Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (Circle of Blood in the US): set in France, Spain, Syria and Ireland. Features The Knights Templar.
  • Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror: set in Central America, the Caribbean, London and France. Features Aztec mythology.
  • Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon: set in England, France, Prague and Egypt. Features Arthurian legend.
  • Broken Sword: The Angel of Death: set in New York, Istanbul, Rome and the Vatican City. Features The Knights Templar again.
Tropes used in Broken Sword include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Paris is full of them.
  • Adventure Duo: George and Nico.
  • Adventure Narrator Syndrome: At one point in The Sleeping Dragon, you find a "large iron key" twenty feet away from a "large iron gate". Response to using one on the other: "There was no reason to try that."
  • Angry Guard Dog: Faced in the second and third game.
  • Artifact Title: The Broken Sword artifact/place is not referenced in the second game at all, and only serves as a minor background element in the third. The German title, Baphomet's Fluch/Curse, is even more this.
  • Bag of Holding: Nico has a small bag to keep all the items they collect along the way. George has his handy pockets. Note that said pocket managed to somehow hold, at the same time during the second game, a folded surveying Theodolite, a bucket of maple syrup, a fish and Mayan artifacts, among other items.
  • Banana Republic: Quaramonte City in The Smoking Mirror.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: In the second game, George has to throw biscuits inside a bush to make bees come out and pursue a stunt actor.
  • Block Puzzle: Almost every other room in the third game, which was slightly controversial with casual adventure gamers.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Petra in The Sleeping Dragon.
  • Book Ends: The first game begins and ends with an explosion, even apparently reusing parts of the same animation. Averted in the Director's Cut, in which the game starts with Nico witnessing a politician being shot instead.
  • Car Cushion: The Jeep, in Syria.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "The door ... was locked."
    • George's "I can explain everything!" in the first two games.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The manhole-opening tool in the first game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the first game, you get a prank item that shocks whoever shakes your hand. You know it's going to come in handy at some point.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Charles Cecil voices Gehnen.
    • Neil Richards (co-writer and scriptwriter) voices Henri in The Serpent's Curse.
  • Deadpan Snarker: George, Nico and André are most prominent examples. The last two with added Frenchness.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: A few examples in the early games, but unfortunately averted in the third.
    • Also, a lot of the random junk you could examine in the original is taken out in the Director's Cut, averting it here as well. A lot of the time, it really is just some funny observations or unimportant descriptions. But an entire character gets cut at one point.
    • At one point in The Sleeping Dragon, you find a "large iron key" twenty feet away from a "large iron gate". Response to using one on the other: "There was no reason to try that"...
  • Double Entendre: In the first game, George shifts the conversation into talking about a drain cover tool, which nobody is remotely interested in. Upon showing it to someone a second time, he tends to say things like;

George: "I already showed you my tool, didn't I?"
Museum Curator: "Oui, monsieur. Most impressive!"

  • Dumb Muscle: Flap in the first and third game.
  • Eagle Land: Duane and Pearl Henderson appear to be stereotypical American tourists, but that could just be a cover for Duane's job as a CIA agent. Or Duane just thinks he's an agent pretending to a a tourist, or he's an agent but thinks he's only a tourist. Or he's a tourist. It's never really made clear.
  • Easter Egg: Early in the second game, you can pick up a lucky piece of coal that you can use on various objects and people to have something silly happen.
  • Evil Albino: Susarro in The Sleeping Dragon.
  • Faking the Dead: Late in the first game, Sergeant Moue is said to have died. However, in the second game, it's revealed that he went into hiding after he found out about the Neo-Templars.
  • Fan Sequel: Broken Sword 2.5.
  • Flanderisation: In the Director's Cut of the first game, all new significant pieces of dialogue added for George focused on his foolish aspects. So instead of the dramatic opening in the original, we get a silly rant how he's "really angry" about the café blowing up.
  • Gay Paree: The most common setting in the series.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: It usually doesn't take much to fool a guard or escape from a guard in the game. In the second game, Nico managed to start a elevator generator right next to a bunch of armed guards, and none of them felt fit to ask what she was doing.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Duane: either a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, or just a Moron...
    • George also dons a colourful shirt when heading for tropical climes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bruno in The Sleeping Dragon.
  • Herr Doktor: Herr Hagenmeyer in the first game.
  • Hot Scoop: Nico Collard the freelaunce photojoornaleeste.
  • Human Sacrifice: Aztec god Tezcatlipoca ("The Smoking Mirror") wants them.
  • Joke Item: A few, though some turn out to be Not Completely Useless.
  • Just a Stupid Accent
  • King Arthur: The Sleeping Dragon.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded a few times; for example, after George keeps a blood pressure gauge, Nico questions why he doesn't feel guilty stealing from a hospital.
  • The Knights Templar: The theme of the first game.
  • Leap of Faith
  • Market-Based Title: The US version in the first game is called Circle of Blood. Word of God has no idea why the publishers decided to change the name.
    • The French and German titles are different and still used these days.
  • Mayincatec: The theme of the second game.
  • The Mole: Inspector Rosso in the first game.
  • Momma's Boy: General Raoul Grasiento in The Smoking Mirror.
  • Monster Clown: The first game starts with a clown bombing a café.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: In several games. At one point in the second games, one of the players solves a puzzle and notes that it was done "Using the form of lateral thinking that can get you institutionalized."
  • Nintendo Hard: Some of the new puzzles in The Director's Cut. Especially the ones that make use of the Wiimote's motion sensing.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Fans agree that the first two games are disputed classics. Probably most of the current adult fans were children when those games are first released.
  • Not Completely Useless: The hand buzzer in The Shadow of the Templars. Seems like a Joke Item for most of the game, only to be the only solution to a life-or-death situation.
  • Oireland: Part of the first game.

George: Top of the morning to ya!
Landlord: I beg your pardon?
George: Well that's what you Irish say, isn't it?
Landlord: Do you want something? Or are you just flaunting your xenophobia?

  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Two ghosts can be encountered in the second game. One is harder to notice, but leads to Fridge Brilliance.
  • Police Are Useless: Murder cases get typically closed after few days of investigation.
    • Justified in the first game with the cafe bombing, as Rosso is working with the Neo-Templars all along and almost definitely was ordered to shut down the investigation by his buddies.
  • Press X to Not Die: Occasionally in The Sleeping Dragon.
  • Privateer: Two NPCs are the descendants of a privateer (not a pirate) who claim he was falsely accused of acting without the correct papers by a governor and hung in order to get at his fortune.
  • Reforged Blade: The first game has the antagonists trying to reforge the eponymous weapon in the belief it will restore their order to glory. The heroes stop them.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The Smoking Mirror is significantly easier than The Shadows of the Templars, mostly thanks to limiting the number of location screens the characters are allowed to visit to three or four as well as significantly downplaying the risk of death factor; while you can still die every once in a while, it's always obvious that you're in danger and you're given so much time to react accordingly than an overwhelming majority of gamers have never even realized it is possible to die in the very first scene of the second game if you wait long enough. The third game played this trope again, this time in relation to the second, flirting with It's Easy, So It Sucks! in the process (at least as far as puzzles go because the action and stealth sequences can be challenging at times), and while The Angel of Death upped the difficulty again, The Serpent's Curse was casualized all over again (though it is still significantly harder than The Sleeping Dragon).
  • Shout-Out: George Stobbart's similarity to another famous adventurer fond of ancient semi-mythical artefacts is lampshaded by the line: "Evil Monks. I hate those guys."
  • Shut Up and Save Me: Nico's response if you choose to talk to her rather than untie her in The Smoking Mirror.
  • Starving Student: Nico mentions that she had to drop out of university because of this trope (she couldn't afford art supplies, although she was able to eat potatoes when she was doing printing with them).
  • Stealth-Based Mission: a few times in The Sleeping Dragon despite the game having no camera controls whatsoever.
  • Temple of Doom: Visited regularly.
  • Theme Park Version: In the second game, George meets a cinema crew shooting a movie version of Treasure Island, but with "modern" elements added such as a pirate girl with thigh-high boots.
    • Though it's being shot in black and white.
  • Updated Rerelease: Broken Sword: The Director's Cut, released in 2009 for the Nintendo Wii and DS, with additional content, updated controls and artwork by Dave Gibbons.
    • It can be a little jarring on the PC version though. The new voice for Nico is strange at first, but fine. But the new gameplay sections use higher resolution models and backgrounds than the rest of the game. When you see the new Nico model interacting with the old scenery, it looks weird. Plus, things like the characters no longer walk to the edge of the screen, it just changes.
    • Also, some of the random things that can be examined are cut out, leaving players of the original slightly uneasy about whether the new version's an improvement.
  • World of Snark