As gamers, there are some games that throughout the years we return to over and over. It may be because we consider it to be the perfect game, or the pinnacle of a certain genre. Or it might be that they remind us of a specific time of our life and playing that game brings back all the emotions associated with it. Whatever it might be, as gamers we invariably have such games and today I would like to talk about one of mine.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars by Revolution Studios is not only one of my all time favourite point-n-click adventures, but also one of my all time favourite games. Over the years I have played and replayed this game many times. Whenever I am feeling slightly fatigued with gaming I know I can always load up Broken Sword and it will help to rekindle my joy of gaming.
The first few bars of music and then the opening words of George Stobbart, the main character, that greet you when you first click into the game, still send shivers down my spine.
"Paris in the fall. The last months of the year, and the end of the millennium. The city holds many memories for me – of cafés, of music, of love... and of death."
I don’t think I have ever played a single game that from its opening line has drawn me in so quickly. The combination of the softly spoken voice-work with the wonderful orchestral music sets up the mood expertly and really puts you in the shoes of the protagonist.
As you progress through the first few scenes you get a great feel for George and the world in which you are about to become embroiled. He strikes the perfect balance between being a hero and an everyday man, someone who you would love to go down the pub with for a pint or two, if only to hear about the scrapes he manages to find himself in. In addition to George are a host of other interesting characters: including my favourites such as Sergeant Moue with his collection of matchboxes and Lady Piermont with her outrageous sense of entitlement based on the fact that she is British. Characters like these litter the game and help make the puzzle-solving a joy.
Alongside these characters is a soundtrack that has, in my opinion, yet to be surpassed. It fits the game perfectly and whether it is the opening piece that I spoke of earlier; the Irish ditty that plays when you are in the pub in Lochmarne; or the little tinkle that plays every time you solve a puzzle; it all just seems so right and contributes to creating an amazing atmosphere. I think it is this soundtrack and the atmosphere it creates in particular, that makes me come back to the game so often. It’s haunting, uplifting and stirring all at the same time and every time I hear the first few bars of the music from the opening scene, all the memories I have of the game come flooding back to me. It is this association that really draws me in each time.
The final ingredient Revolution added that will forever have me returning to the game is the story and, more specifically, its focus on the Templars. For most of my life I have loved reading about history and the Knights Templar in particular has been one of my favourite areas of study. It is the mystery surrounding these Crusading Knights that has always fascinated me and it is this mystery that Revolution puts front and centre throughout the game and indeed the whole series.
When you add all these ingredients together they create a heady mix that results in the perfect game, one that continues to delight me every time I fire it up. There are those who say that Day of The Tentacle and Sam and Max stand head and shoulders above Broken Sword and although I can see the sense in that, as both those games are great, for me Broken Sword has the edge because what Charles Cecil and the team at Revolution have done, gives it that extra little something.