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

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Just returned from Syria alive, full of great memories. In fact this might be my second favourite “location” after Paris, packed with both humour and suspense. I found neither Syrians nor Americans that much of caricatures, except maybe for the kebab seller (ironically he was the most memorable character from this section for me, love listening to his selling speech). It also helps that we may, once again, experience the good old Syria, when there were no civil wars or “democratic” bombings on the horizon, although Dwayne Henderson’s presence kinda predicted them. Tbh I didn’t think much of him before playing BS2 where his character fully developed; here he is just a funny weirdo.

Intense Degree - 29 January 2020 06:02 AM

1. Let’s talk music! I absolutely love the soundtrack to Broken Sword by Barrington Pheloung.

I also love how the game sounds, although the music pieces are so brief that I don’t know if I can remember a single melody. Well, the Syrian bar had a memorable song Grin I’d say this whole section (Paris + Syria) featured very nice works by Pheloung. Terrible news of his death, BS will not be the same without him.

2. What sort of puzzles really feel ‘Broken Sword-y’ to you?

Hmmm… I would probably also go with the 50 bucks puzzle followed by a night at the museum and a hand buzzer, it was such an elegant solution, partly because both the buzzer and the dirty tissue felt like running gags rather than useful inventory items. This was my favourite puzzle as well I guess, even though I died hundreds of times before solving it.

The one puzzle that gave me a lot of trouble on my first playthrough (and a little during this one as I comepletely forgot about it) was opening the towel cabinet in the WC - there was no indication that it had been locked with a key which made me running in circles.

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

Apart from the kebab vendor I enjoyed Andre Lobineau - not so much his character (not a very pleasant one), but rather him being a source of George’s jealousy Smile At one point he even goes like “Is there anything between you two?”, and Nico just tells him to buzz off. Also a nice touch in George’s and Nico’s relationships is how he feels more and more at home during the visits - from the way he greets her to the way he sits.

As for the quotes, I always laugh at George’s monologue at the cathedral when he looks at the seats. So silly and out of place:

I thought of all the people who must have sat here over the decades. All those Parisian derrieres, the firm buttocks of the young ladies, the flabby flesh of the old men… That wasn’t a pleasing image, so I went back to the young ladies. (in full voice) -Woah.

The whole “mysterious Sewer Jacques” urban legend was hilarious, somehow reminded me of the Guybrush Threepwood “wanted” list Smile And the irony behind Nico’s exclamation after George returns from the hospital and tells her the news:

That’s despicable! What kind of guy would pass himself off as a doctor and take advantage of a dying man?

     

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I’m just reporting back on the next section of the game: Paris

Thanks Intense Degree for the interesting snippet about the other works of Barrington Pheloung.
I have to be honest in that I loved all the musical stuff in BS - soundtrack moments are the beginning & the pleasing musical intervention that lets you know when you’ve succeeded in solving a dilemma! 

The puzzles that feel very Broken Sword to me (bearing in mind that I’d hadn’t really played a true adventure game prior to it) are the goat puzzle, the Hotel Ubu one getting the manuscript out & getting the hospital janitor out of the way. These puzzles all required for me a little out-of-the-box thinking. I don’t know whether BS did this first & therefore typical of BS but as you alluded to a different type of puzzle I’m not sure that we agree here? 

I’m not playing the DC version this time but I have played it more than once in the past. My thought is that the revelations about Nico’s father and his relationship with the Carcherons as interesting as they are, are completely unnecessary & therefore irrelevant - i.e. padding. 

My favourite puzzle was trying to find a way to get that janitor out of the way because I wanted to access that cupboard (without knowing why!)
I liked the character of the janitor too but would the politically correct (or is it now ‘woke’) police be on that due to the way he was portrayed!
My favourite character this time though as sleazy as I find him is actually Lobineau & the line of dialogue is George’s observation of him as “He was a thin-faced pallid… with a questionable taste in outlandish clothes. My mother used to dress like that”

I did note that in this section up until now the lively amusing dialogue wasn’t quite as apparent as it was previously.

Back soon about Marib. 

     
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Guys, real life is playing up again and I’m a little late with section 3. Will try and get it done tonight or tomorrow. Apologies all.

     

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Section Three: Chess, Children and Churches

So, we’ve discovered a secret society in the shape of the Neo-Templars, come across the Hashashin in action, come face to face with yet another clown and learned of the mystery of Sewer Jacques – surely a mystery that will never be solved!

The story has wound us in, the stakes have risen as we have Indiana-Jones-ed our way round various corners of the world meeting (and sometimes upsetting) all sorts of weird and wonderful people on the way.

But the show isn’t over, as the saying goes, until the fat lady sings, or at least until we’ve unmasked the real villains of the piece and stopped their world dominating plans.

Play until

This will be our last section and so we will play right through to the end and there is therefore no end date. Enjoy!

Endings

Much is made of the differences between the introductions for the original and DC, but there are some differences to the very end of the game too. The DC has an extra section but misses out, I think, the original credits with a few words about Broken Sword 2. Nothing earth shattering, but in case you’re interested…

OBVIOUSLY THESE VIDEOS SPOIL THE ENDING SO IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED DON’T WATCH!

Original Broken Sword Ending credits:

(watch from 9:15)

And the DC ending for those interested:

(watch from 9:19)

     

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

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Optional bits to discuss this time

1. How do you feel about the pace and tone of this third section? – I’m thinking particularly of Spain and the site of Baphomet.

2. What’s your favourite section/country from the whole game?

3. I’m not sure how many of us playing are British – or to be more specific, are familiar with British regional accents. We’ve got Sam (with Mr Shiny) with his Birmingham/Black Country accent and then our companions on the train with Newcastle. How on earth do either of there work internationally I wonder?!

4. There are lots of great relationships between characters in the series whether long term or just for a short while. Difficult to ignore the ‘George and Nico’ thing, but I also enjoy the whole George and Andre ‘situation’. What’s your favourite character and/or relationship from this game?

5. I regard this game as having a very high standard of writing in terms of story, characters and dialogue, but if there is one moment for me that fails, it is right at the end where George is invited to join with the Templars and is almost tempted to (‘Brotherhood of man?’). Don’t get me wrong, I understand the well established ‘You know…you and I are not so very different Mr Bond…’ thing in a showdown, but it really seems ridiculous here, what on earth does George see that might tempt him? What do you reckon? Or are there any other bits that seem to fall a bit flat?

6. What’s your favourite puzzle from the entire game and what’s your least favourite?

7. I think many of us playing along this time know the game really well. Can you remember, the first time or couple of times you played, did you use a walkthrough at all and if so where? (No shame in using a walkthrough when you’re really stuck – at least so I think). Of course, if you first played it back in the mid/late 90’s, internet walkthroughs might not even have been an option…

8. Let’s talk Goat puzzle! Due to what I can only think of as ‘dumb luck’ I managed to solve the goat puzzle fairly quickly on my first try. Just really because I was clicking around all over the shop and not because I am some kind of puzzle master. In a way I’m quite sad about it, because I never experienced the full frustration of this supposedly super hard and unintuitive puzzle. Personally, I just can’t see what the problem is, but maybe you can – how was your experience with the goat first time round?

     

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I’ve finished the game already, so I can already kick-start some discussion and offer my perspective on some of the questions Intense raised. Once the Broken Sword story starts to flow it’s hard to put the game down, hence my finishing somewhat early. I guess that is a clear trait of a very high quality game.

1. The pacing of this third section. In my opinion it’s the strongest section of the game, both from a plot development perspective, the narrative paces well and we spend less time talking to many characters and it feels more action packed….as George gets in some dire situations at various places. The whole manuscript puzzle comes together in this third section. Earlier it feels like we are only focussing in one of the quadrants, but now it becomes very clear how the clues were set-up, the fact that each quadrant of the manuscript represents a specific clue needed to pinpoint the location of Baphomets Sword and where the clues lead to. Also we start to get an understanding of what it was all about.

2. By far the Spain section (combined of course, since you get here twice). This is my absolute favorite part of the game. Not only does it maintain that Indiana Jones feel, but here I strongly sense also an inspiration drawn from the Gabriel Knight games. The quality of the writing, the voice acting, the way the story fuses historic facts and fiction, the drama of a family dynasty in which you not only have to retrieve a lost artifact but also have to undo the wrongs of the past by locating the lost children have a very strong Jane Jensen feel to it. You can feel the melancholy in this section. I’m positive Sins of the Fathers must have inspired the designers, and boy they did achieve some of the level of story excellence that the Gabriel Knight games are known for in this particular section of the game.And still the designers found a way to put some lighter humor in this section, primarily focused on the gardener with an additional excellent visual gag in which George has to locate water and the game shows how time passes while doing so. Another excellent example on how to add lighter humor even in a darker section.


3. An absolute miracle I’m sure   Smile We have to forgive the game to try to make an globetrotting adventure while maintaining everyone can speak the same language. With more budget and time they probably could get some of the accents a bit better, but there are few that were really annoying.

4. The countess and George is also a relationship that starts from distrust and develops to George to become the savior. There are so many excellent relationships in the game that I can’t find one particular outstanding beyond obviously George and Nico.

5. Well, this never bother me, because in my opinion the game makes it perfectly clear why George is almost tempted. The assassin explains prior to dying that the Sword of Baphomet symbolizes a colossal energy that bestows extreme charisma to those that are touched, to the point they can control the will of those around them….very similar to a Jedi power it seems to me. So the grand master was being infused with this energy during the ending sequence and used his new power to persuade George and Nico to turn to their side. You can see from their posture they are being held under some form of trance they can’t escape from. The fact the George still breaks out of this spell attests to his quite strong character.

6. My favorite puzzle is the entire Spain section, which again kind of functions as one larger puzzle that is being broken in half by the Baphomet’s site puzzle….which is excellent and entertaining as well.
My least favorite puzzle? I really couldn’t say….there aren’t any bad puzzles in the game. I’d have to think very hard to name one just like that. I’ll see what everyone else comes up with and perhaps I might agree Wink

7. The first time I played the game was in ‘96 and there were indeed no walkthroughs, so I had to figure it out myself and ask friends who were playing the game to see if they’d figured it out. If memory serves I think I managed to complete the entire game without that much difficulty other than some patience…I’m pretty sure it took me at least a couple of weeks to finish the game and at least about 15-20 hours.

8. The goat puzzles had me stumped the first two times I think….I even forgot how I solved it for the second time. I’m pretty sure someone helped me with this puzzle as the game indeed does not give you the proper clues in advance. It’s too easy though to paint this puzzle then as a bad one…It’s become too notorious and infamous that we still love it Smile

I really enjoyed playing Broken Sword again and it still stands as my nr 1 adventure game of all time. I’ll post some final thoughts later on, after seeing some of your thoughts and considerations.

     
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Ok, I have finished the game too. The ending was at best OK. the c4 activity was not well done. And contradicted itself at least how C4 worked was explained to me.

However, seeing George and Nico together was amazing and I loved that aspect of the game. You wonder if Nico would move to America for George.

Anyway, it’s a classic and I loved every minute of playing it, thanks to intense degree for running this, one of the very best adventure games ever published. The game has aged very well.

FYI While I do prefer BK5 to this one, the DC version of this game is a close second. the remastered BK2 is quite good too, a distant third and I thought BK 3 and 4 to be budget releases at best. 

I have heard that BK3 and BK4 do have a following, but I thought they were OK at best and that BK5 was a “return to form” for the series.

Heart

     

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I’m not sure what the issue is with the C4 mechanism, other than that it is explained to make it work it requires a smaller explosion rather than merely a lighter. During the ending sequence George throws the torch on the old gunpowder which is not sufficiently potent to blow up the church, but apparently still creates a smaller fire sufficient to set off the C4.
I’m no explosions specialist, but it didn’t seem that odd to me.

@Intense Degree,
I think you added the same video’s in your last post. Both videos show the ending of the original version and not the DC version.
I just looked up the DC ending on Youtube, but there don’t appear to be the end credits with the closing music piece. Is that correct or can you still find it in the menu? I really don’t remember from my last playthrough.
It’s a real shame though, because I think the music that plays of the end credits is really really good and at the very end of it you get a variation of the main theme which is absolutely stunning, in my opinion the most beautiful piece of music of the entire game. Such as shame they left this out of the DC. Oh well, yet another reason why the the original is THE definitive version.

     
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Marib
As with the Ireland section I did find the characters to be stereotypical especially Dwayne Henderson & his wife Pearl. I wasn’t crazy about Dwayne in this first game & thought he was more interesting in BS2.

I liked the character of Nejo & his explanation of how he was able to speak English so well. Also the way he acquired the toilet brush. 
That was one puzzle that had me stumped on first playing the game as when you look at the kebab seller you don’t see him using the toilet brush until you discover it’s been stolen so I didn’t think to look at him again. So I think that’s my favourite puzzle.
Also same here with not realising that the towel dispenser needed to be opened with the key

I also enjoyed the way the tone of the game changed from comedy to serious in this section & found
this to be my 2nd favourite location - I like the atmosphere of the village, enhanced by the soundtrack, & the sense of life even though there are very few people.

Amusing quotes: “The carpet seller looked craftier than the offspring of a fox and an insurance agent.”
And after George is almost entombed in a cave, narrowly escapes being killed by an assassin & risks serious injury or even death by leaping off a cliff he tells Nico “the worst part of the experience was Ultar’s driving” Laughing 

I got a tad behind but will finish the game in the next couple of days. 

     
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Ok, here is what I know about C4:

“C-4 is very stable and insensitive to most physical shocks. C-4 cannot be detonated by a gunshot or by dropping it onto a hard surface. It does not explode when set on fire or exposed to microwave radiation. Detonation can only be initiated by a shockwave, such as when a detonator inserted into it is fired.”

But hey, it’s only a game and it did make the ending dramatic. And that is what counts.

Heart

     

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

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Ah yes, I thought you mentioned there was some kind of inconsistency within the game narrative on C-4 usage.
You are probably right, but for most people this wouldn’t be noticeable at all….I guess most movies don’t even show the right way to detonate.

     
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Finished the third chapter, enjoyed it very much, that was an interesting change of pace near the end, although I still enjoy the quieter parts of the game. The Spanish chapter felt very cozy and relaxing and even had one chess problem (as simple as they get) which was part of the bigger puzzle which truly felt like the “Broken Sword puzzle”. The puzzle at the site of Baphomet, on the other hand, was of very traditional adventure sort, but I liked it as well. I’d still say the earlier Paris section and Syria were my fav parts.

4. As I wrote earlier, I also enjoyed the whole conflict between George and Andre over Nico Naughty And only now it came to my attention how much time George spends in the company of elderly people - the countess and her gardener, lady Piermont, Sergeant Moue, the fortuneteller, the old policeman, the priest… Then again, Gabriel also spent a lot of time with his grandmother Smile

5. I’m also not the greatest fan of the ending - primarily because it feels a bit rushed, cliched, and you can’t skip the long cutscene (but you can die immediately after). Btw I just noticed how Guido with his smile and knife resembles Malcolm from the first Kyrandia game. I guess that last section (train/castle) generally contains some of my least favourite puzzles/moments.

7. I used the walkthrough alright, and I think I even got it somewhere from the internet. Had to refer to it because of my problems with the interface and the goat, of course. It was very frustrating for little me as I couldn’t get the logic behind it. At the same time I played through Myst or Zork: Nemesis without much trouble Confused But I’d still label Broken Sword as an easy game with only several unexpected and thus puzzling twists.

Anyway, thank you for all the hard work, Intense, this was a very enjoyable playthrough! Nostalgic and fun.

     

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Hey, late to the party but played it with my gf over Christmas (although we haven’t completed it yet)... Wonderful intro Intense Degree!

To answer the first questions:

1. What is your history with Broken Sword (first one or the series as a whole)?
I remember when it came out, at the time Beneath a Steel Sky was my favorite game and I was really looking forward to it. I saved my pocket money to buy it and got it shortly before Broken Sword 2 came out… As a kid though, it didn’t resonate as much with me as Beneath a Steel Sky and I was rather disappointed. I thought it was good but just didn’t like it as much. So, I didn’t play the rest of the series until I became a student and got both BS2 and BS3. I replayed the first game with a friend then and it clicked a lot more with me…

Which version are you going with for the playthrough? We started playing the DC with my girlfriend and I kept thinking that it was not as good as I remembered it. Mostly the sense of pacing is just not that good and having this first part before George’s part ruins the mood of the intro.  I think we’ll switch to the original game especially since she’s never played it.

Names I knew it as Les Chevaliers de Baphomet… The knights of Baphomets

Comedy and seriousness I think the mixture of comedy with very goofy characters within a serious world is maybe what turned me off a bit as a kid? I absolutely loved it later on though…

Installation Yup, I remember that installer Smile

     
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Ok, I know one or two might still be going, but I think it’s time to bring this playthrough to an official close.

Please do feel free to keep on posting (i’ll probably have some final comments myself) but I think the next round of voting might as well get underway while we do.

Thanks all for taking part! Smile

     

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Hi Intense Degree, was just about to ask if there were any further comments since it’s been fairly little going on for the past few days or so.
Do you have any comments on the topics you raised yourself or any feedback on our comments?

     

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