Retro Respawn – Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

Point and click adventure games are one of my favorite genres of video games to play. So, I was more than happy to cover this week’s Retro Respawn and talk about my first experiences with them.

Developed by Revolution Software and released way back in 1996 on PC and the OG PlayStation. Of course, I am talking about none other than Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. I’m going to abbreviate the title for time-keeping purposes (TSOTT).

 

In the Beginning…

TSOTT is the first game of the Broken Sword series. It takes place in both real and fictional locations throughout Europe and the Middle East. You assume the role of George Stobart, an American tourist visiting the beautiful city of Paris.

You’re sat outside of a nice little café, enjoying a coffee and reading the paper. That is until a rather unsettling John Wayne Gacy-looking clown appears and blows up said café quicker than that Gangnam Style song did on YouTube, but not before taking off with an old man’s briefcase. And, of course, in typical Murder She Wrote fashion, this American busybody decides to take it upon himself to investigate this assassination attempt and uncover who exactly is behind it.

Along the way you will also take the role of Nicole Collard, a French photojournalist who was supposed to meet the old man, Plantard, in the same café where George was, whom she believed had information on a string of assassinations involving the same person but in different costumes.

After finding various clues in the surrounding areas, you manage to track the killer down to a nearby hotel and then proceed to find a manuscript belonging to Plantard, which you then discover to be related to the Knights Templar (it’s very The Da Vinci Code-esque, if you ask me). In turn it takes George and Nicole to unravel this conspiracy.

 

Such Beauty, Much Love

Let’s talk visuals. When compared to other games from around the same era, TSOTT is a punch above the rest. With its painting-like approach to the backdrops, down to the animated character models, this game has some of my personal favorite picturesque images I had seen on my first time playing.

At times I even found myself putting a halt to what I was doing just to embrace the scenery in all its elegance, with audio to match the game at its most intense moments down to its most relaxing. It is genuinely hard not to ‘stop and smell the roses’, as it were. It is also no wonder TSOTT was both nominated for, and a recipient of, many awards.

It also set records, with over one million copies sold by 2001, which for this type of game at the time of its release was an astounding achievement.

 

Easy-Peasy

Gameplay-wise, it’s your standard point and click layout. You’ll walk around and interact with various objects while trying to decipher which clues, objects and NPCs combine with each other.

It has a simplistic control scheme, so even the newest of players shouldn’t have any trouble picking things up. Though there were moments where I’d find myself scratching my head in confusion like a person that’s just bombarded a load of stinging nettles.

But it certainly didn’t sway thoughts of the game in general. And by “moments”, I mean the infamous goat part of TSOTT. I swear to God that part has given me more restless nights trying to figure out how to get past the damn thing than Bronson has had prison sentences. But don’t let that throw you off.

 

Final Thoughts

Unless you’re a fan of point and click adventure games or a fan of the Broken Sword series in general, there isn’t much reply value with this game. With that being said…I have been back to the game multiple times over the years merely to enjoy the ambience and its gripping storyline.

All in all, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is a truly incredible game that still stands strong to this day. And if this article doesn’t entice you into playing it for yourself, then I will personally cover myself in fish paste and jump into a pool of hungry piranha! But seriously, you should definitely check it out. Wait a minute, who’s that clown that’s just walked in here?….oh f#$@!!

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