BROKEN SWORD: The Shadow of the Templars
( Circle of Blood )

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela

This game is a real winner!  It combines the very best aspects of traditional adventure games and mystery thrillers, with even a little romance thrown in for good measure, and a suspenseful and slowly evolving story that will keep you glued to your seat.

You are young George Stobbart, just a regular guy from California on vacation in Paris, the city of love.  You are sitting outside a French cafe one day, watching the world go by and trying unsuccessfully to pick up the waitress, when out of the corner of your eye you notice a well-dressed gentleman carrying a briefcase enter the restaurant.  He is followed by a garish-looking clown, in full makeup and costume, playing an accordion.

Moments later the clown reappears on a dead run, but now he's the one carrying the briefcase!  But before you even have time to question what's going on, a massive explosion rips out the entire front wall of the cafe, sending you flying, luckily, into one of the restaurant's table umbrellas.  When you finally come to, at first dazed and confused, you are naturally anxious to know what happened, and why.  What was in that briefcase that was worth killing for?  Little do you know that your questions, and your efforts to find the clown who almost killed you, will change your life.  You will follow a path of deception and murder that leads you into the very heart of an evil plan, a plan that revolves around the legendary mystical powers and treasure of the Knights Templar!

And so begins the long, engrossing and often humorous, professionally written script for 'Circle of Blood'.  But don't be put off by the name of the game, or the picture on the box.  It was first released in Europe as 'Broken Sword: the Shadow of the Templars', and was renamed for release in North America.  But the original name is more descriptive of the story.  Essentially it is just a mystery to be solved, and success is dependent on using your wits and your investigative skills.

You will meet and talk to many people, and you should exhaust all topics of conversation in order to obtain vital clues.  The topics available are determined by what you have learned to date, so make sure that you return to talk to them again after new developments.  One of the people that you meet early in the game is a beautiful photographer named Nicole Collard, or Nico. She not only becomes your romantic interest, she will also give you suggestions about what to do next if you telephone her.

This is a 2D, 3rd person, point & click game, with an easy-to-use interface.  The music is good and the graphics were rendered by professional movie animators, with an attention to detail that makes you feel as if you really are visiting the various worldwide locations in the story.  There is a map for easy travel and new locations are added to it as the story unfolds.  Note that each location that you visit may be larger than the area that you see on the first screen, so make sure that you check all of the edges of the scene, as well as other places within the picture, for any exits that may be hidden.

The puzzles are excellent and integrated into the story. Many of them require creative and sometimes daring thinking... we remember spending an awful lot of time with a certain toilet brush, a nasty Billy goat, and trying to take blood pressure.  Don't forget to click your right mouse button on objects for descriptions and clues:  it is essential to solving one or two of the puzzles.  And yes, you can die, so make sure that you remember to save before facing something dangerous.

A totally addictive game (with a great ending!) that should please both adventure gamers and mystery fans alike.  We loved it!

©  1999  Mr. Bill and Lela

Full View Screenshot

Developed (1996) by  Revolution Software, Ltd  and published by  Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

Rated:   K-A   for Kids to Adults

Minimum System Requirements:  DOS   Windows

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Witchen's Walkthrough" available here!

"Rosemary and Gordon's Walkthrough" available here!

Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  1999, Revised 2001
All Rights Reserved