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AG Community Playthrough #57: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

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Joined 2009-04-28

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Section One: Clowns and Leprechauns… (and mimes?)

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



Given that it looks like we’ve all played Broken Sword before (although please feel free to join if you haven’t) I think we may as well take on a fair old chunk of the game for our first section. I also think that means we can be relatively loose with spoilers – let’s not give everything away for anyone who’s following along, but I don’t think we need to be super cautious.

Play Until

For the first section we’re going to do Paris, head off to Ireland and then stop when we get back to Paris from Ireland. That will be Nico’s apartment if you’re playing the original and outside Pierre Carchon’s apartment if you have the DC.

You have until Tuesday 28 January to complete that. If we all rattle through quicker than that, then we can easily bring the date forward.

What were going to play breaks down into two fairly obvious sections, so I’m going to suggest that you might want to come back and share any thoughts on Paris once you’ve played that and then Ireland once that bit’s done. Entirely up to you obviously.

Fear Of Missing Out?

Feeling a little jealous of all the extra bits that you could be playing in the DC because you chose the original? Or just want to remind yourself of what is involved? Well fear not, because courtesy of youtube you can flick through/catch up with what you’re missing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBLyMlU8ooU

The video above is all of Nico’s extra scenes from the DC which aren’t in the original. If you want to watch what the DC has before the original parts of the game, then watch from the beginning up until 36:14.

The next part of the video is Nico’s extra scene between (1)George meeting Nico outside the café and getting her number, and (2)George turning up at Nico’s place. That runs from 36:15 – 49:58

And for anyone playing the DC, or just following along who wants to see that original intro once more…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uudul4IRZTg

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

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Optional things to discuss

Once again, please do give us your own thoughts in your own way, but if any of the below are helpful then answer what you like and ignore the rest.

Paris

1. How does it feel to be back in the world of Broken Sword? What have you forgotten and which memories really stand out?

2. (Original) How do you feel this first section has aged in terms of graphics and puzzles?

3. (DC) How do you feel the original (playing as George) and DC (playing as Nico) parts fit? The look is more modern in the DC for sure, how about the new puzzles?

4. Broken Sword is, I think, quite a wordy game when it comes to dialogue. Maybe not to the extent of The Longest conversation Journey but there is a lot to talk about. Do you agree? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

5. One of the things I often forget about BS1 is the interface. Not particularly controversial now, but quite different I thought at the time from other games I was used to. Do you like it?

6. What’s your favourite puzzle/character/line of dialogue from this section?

Ireland

7. One criticism that is sometimes levelled at the Broken Sword franchise is that the characters are all extreme caricatures and although they may be entertaining they are in no way believable. What do you think about the portrayal of Ireland/The Irish in this section?

8. What’s your favourite puzzle/character/line of dialogue from this section?

9. Let’s talk voice acting, and particularly Rolf Saxon who voices George Stobbart. I was lucky enough to see him at AdventureX a couple of years ago talking about his role in the series and let me tell you it is so strange to hear George’s voice coming out of Rolf’s face! Don’t believe me? Have a look at this!

But of course, for those who played it in German, they have their own George. It is absolutely unthinkable to me that anyone but Rolf could have played the part, what do you think?

 

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

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Joined 2011-06-07

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It’s great to be back in the world of broken sword!
I’ve played through the Paris 1 chapter, so thought I would already start commenting on the first set of questions, but first of all:

I really recommend everyone playing the original Broken Sword to install the Broken Sword music patch! It basically replaces most of the music with the higher quality music from the DC. This works really well, since most of the music is the same….of course this does not affect cutscene music unfortunately. The sound quality difference is really noticeable in most places. You can download it here:

https://www.moddb.com/games/broken-sword-the-shadow-of-the-templars/addons/broken-sword-1-music-patch

1. I really love the first Paris chapter. There are some really great backgrounds with lots of little animation and it really captures the Paris atmosphere. I haven’t forgotten much of it to be honest, though these days I tend to skip some of the dialog options that aren’t mandatory, because this chapter has a couple of lengthy dialogue that gets a bit old if you’ve played through the game already so many times. The introduction is still impressive and sets the tone so well….it’s probably the most memorable part of the Paris chapter, but I still fondly remember the Hotel Ubu and the way the puzzles have been setup.

2. It hasn’t aged that much to be honest. This first chapter features some of the best investigative gameplay I have ever seen in an adventure game….from chasing the clown to ending up in Hotel Ubu is just one grand puzzle that easily surpasses those of contemporary games and modern ones alike. I’m still surprised how well the graphics hold up. Sure the resolution is very low by today standards, but they still managed to put so much atmosphere in the background design. Character animation (walking, climbing etc…) is still one of the best in any adventure game and certainly of the mid 90’s era. Just look up the small scene in the alley where George opens the garbage bin and the cat jumps out. Not a pivotal scene, but loaded with animation and fantastic sound and music design. You see this extra touch of care throughout the game.

3. I won’t touch the DC again, so I’ll hold commenting on it Crazy

4. Slightly on the overdone side in my opinion. Especially if you’ve played the game before you’d tend to skip quite a bit of the dialog (which you fortunately can) or even skip certain dialog options and some aren’t necessary to complete the game. I hate it when games force you to talk about everything.

5. YES. it’s in my opinion the BEST point and click interface. Yes, it’s a simplified version from the Sierra P&C, but I actually prefer you don’t have to right click to several interaction options. Broken Sword puts the most applicable action to your left mouse button and you can look at any object using the right mouse button…which sometimes gives you even an addition ‘look closely/inspect’ option beyond the more generic ‘look at’ option. Works extremely intuitive for me and I haven’t found a better interface since. There, I said it Wink

6. Best dialog line (sorry Americans) is easily: GEORGE: Don’t shoot! I’m innocent, I’m an American. MOUE: Can’t make up your mind eh?
Best puzzle: The whole sequence from following the clown all the way and in Hotel Ubu! I know, this is cheating a bit, but I do see it as one large puzzle.

I’ll go more into the other questions when I’ve completed the Ireland chapter.

     
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Made it to the check point.

Now, let’s talk about the game. Yes, the graphics, while colorful, are low resolution. I am Ok with that, but a step down from Broken Sword 5.

Next, the DC let’s you play as NIco, and she is always a joy to play. So to me the DC is a big plus for this. Her puzzles however are at best OK, it does involve a few slider puzzles which are Pretty crappy.

Later games like Broken Sword 5 let you play as Nico as well and I enjoyed those games because of this. And I do believe that the George and Nico parts work together well, The Nico section does add some background information on why she is there.

Lastly, the DC version has some modern touches, like hotspot locations and a hint system. Which is handy for when you get stuck.

And I do like using a touch screen, to me they make the game easier to play.

It is quite fun to replay the game, I have forgotten much of the game over the years so this is like a first time play through in many ways.

The plot is starting to thicken, so I am looking forward to playing more of the game. Although we did play a large chunk of the game to get to the checkpoint. Having 2 week play periods is an interesting way to do a CPT.

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I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Also made it to the checkpoint and back in Nico’s appartment. I’ve enjoyed the Ireland chapter, though within O’leary’s Pub there is a lot more talking going on. Fortunately the dialogue is filled with witty remarks and a lot of humor. And then there is the infamous goat puzzle. I remember how difficult it was to solve this the very first time, primarily because this puzzle breaks the user interface convention the game maintained to this point, but once you know, it’s pretty easy to solve.

Moving on the final questions:

7. The Irish section and characters are pretty recognizable and as far as I understand possible a bit caricature. But the same applies to the french people in Paris and the portrayal of french policemen. I think it’s unavoidable when making an adventuregame that plays out in different countries that differences between countries and cultures are being amplified and that people become a bit caricature. It’s part of the fun and it’s pretty harmless.

8. I like the final puzzle down in the castle to open the hidden door using the statue and the goat puzzle aswel. Favorite line in the chapter: DOYLE: Sorry, I was miles away.
Not sure why I like this one that much, maybe the way it was pronounced, just put a smile on my face.

9. Yes, Rolf Saxon is George Stobbart. I couldn’t have any other voice actor portray George Stobbart. That is just the way it is. Same goes for the actress that did Nico. Unfortunately the sequels feature different actresses for Nico and that is a real shame.

     

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Intense Degree - 14 January 2020 12:02 PM

9. Let’s talk voice acting, and particularly Rolf Saxon who voices George Stobbart. I was lucky enough to see him at AdventureX a couple of years ago talking about his role in the series and let me tell you it is so strange to hear George’s voice coming out of Rolf’s face! Don’t believe me? Have a look at this!

 

That’s the first time I’ve seen Rolf, and I didn’t find it strange at all. In the interview he says he’s a novice voice actor and I think that’s a big sign, that he sounds exactly the same in acting as he does in his natural speaking voice. A lot of his expressions, facial and verbal, remind me of George.

     
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Oof, for a moment I thought the guy in the red shirt was Rolf Saxon, but it’s just Richard Cobbett. I also don’t find this strange at all and with that beard all over his face I can imagine him being an older, darker version of George. P.S. Hasn’t finished the chapter yet, so I’ll won’t answer other questions for now.

     

PC means personal computer

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There haven’t been many comments last few days, so we’d welcome a few more.
I guess when the plot thickens and the more interesting chapters come into play, there is a little more substance for discussion.

     

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Joined 2013-03-10

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Just bought directors cut game on steam sale for just over a £1
Looking forward to catching up with you all without the fear of death.
I’m just a Lucasart girl at heart I guess.

     
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You can play any version you like of course, but unless it’s a hoax, I understood that also the steam version now offers the original game as a DLC. I can’t verify it as I have the GOG version, but if it’s true you at least have the choice,
If the possibility of dying worries you, there are only a few moments in which that can happen actually, but they can indeed come at a surprising moment so saving frequently is advisable.

     
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Yea, I believe they gave the players until the 28th to complete the first section of the game, which is a LONG time. And the part of the game to complete is pretty big too. I hope around the 28th we start getting in some additional comments on.the game.

I’ve been done with the first section for quite some time, I’m ready to go to play more!

Heart

     

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I’ve completed the first section of the game.

PARIS
It was only a few years ago I replayed all of the BS games but being back in the world of the original which I haven’t played for many years reminded me of the magic I felt when I first played the wonderful intro which is the one memory that really stands out. What I had forgotten was how humorous I found most of the dialogue. Also how well-structured the game was.

As far as puzzles go I didn’t feel that they had aged at all except perhaps for being a little more challenging than we’ve got used to in more recent games.
Graphically I feel the game has aged from a clarity point of view although as the DC version seems to look better perhaps there is something I can adjust? But bearing in mind that the game at the time was designed to be viewed on a smaller screen it doesn’t look so bad on my large widescreen monitor.
It may look better though if there was any way to alter the on-screen dimension?  Otherwise I would agree that the artwork & attention to detail have held up well & the animation is superb. 

So far on playing the original I’m not really missing any of the extra scenes & puzzles included in the DC (which I non-the-less did enjoy & it’s worth playing). Also the story so far is flowing along without them.

When I first played the game I thought there was an over-abundance of dialogue but more recently I’ve come to appreciate it more & think it’s good thing particularly as not all of it is necessary & can be omitted otherwise it can be skipped through.

I like the interface - I find it very intuitive & easy to use but some may say that this is another aspect of the game that shows its age in comparison to the simpler interfaces of modern games?

I think my favourite puzzle in this 1st section is the way to get the manuscript out of Hotel Ubu. It took me quite a long time to work this out when I first played the game before I realised that I could use the manuscript on the ground at the back of the hotel because the hotspot was a magnifying glass rather than the action cogwheels.
I think my favourite character is Mrs Piermont. It’s difficult to pinpoint just one line of dialogue as a favourite but I loved most of the innuendo-ridden banter between Mrs Piermont & George which reminded me of the Carry On films!

See you when I get back from Ireland.

     
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I was wondering: Are there any graphical differences between the original and the DC (outside of the added portraits) for the scenes that are included in both? I was under the impression they are exactly the same.

I usually the play the original in a window through ScummVM and the DC has it’s own launcher that can also be minimized, it’s not directly comparable. I was wondering if anyone knows more about this….

     
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No, they are not the same. The DC version has higher resolution graphics with improved animation. Both are fine on the PC and not everyone likes the DC version.

I am playing it on a DS, which the DC was created for and it’s one of the very best PC to DS conversions I have ever seen.

“enhanced Director’s Cut features prettier and updated graphics. And that, if you ask me, is the only thing the DC has over the original.

For Shadow of The Templars (Broken Sword 1), the original edition is by far the best. They added some Nico prologue and completely removed the great “Disney-esque” animated cutscenes, especially the amazing “Paris in the Fall…” intro, replacing them with this sort of comic book panel presentation, which isn’t bad, but definitely isn’t on par with the cinematic original videos. The Nico extras are really pace-breaking, just so you know. I’d say to stick to the original release.”

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I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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I’m aware of the differences between both versions, primarily on gameplay, narrative and the graphical style of the new added scenes and portraits. But I always assumed the backgrounds from the original game were re-used and simply up-scaled to the higher resolution the DC game is operating in.

I’ve found the original backgrounds a tad blurrier compared to the added new backgrounds, so I have the impression they are still the same ones. If this is not the case, then I’d have to check it out again and have a more thorough look…..but I’m pretty sure these backgrounds weren’t redrawn and the likelihood they were able to scan them from the original source at a higher detail level seems pretty low to me….especially since the quality of the original voices and cut-scenes were also not redone or improved.

The one element from the original game they were clearly able to improve on is the quality of the in-game music. I don’t know if it was re-recorded or they simply were able to find the original music recordings before compression was forced upon it.

     

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