Paris in the fall. The last months of the year, and the end of the millenium. The city holds many memories for me. Of cafés, of music, of love... and of death.
Broken Sword is an adventure game series created by game designer Charles Cecil of Revolution Software. The game series revolves around the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard in several fictitious stories based on history and mythology. The first two games in the series are controlled by a traditional point-and-click interface. The third and fourth installments are based on a 3D graphics engine, with the third game using a direct control mechanism. The fourth game returns to the standard point-and-click interface but within the 3D environment. A film, based on the first Broken Sword game, has been planned and is ready to be written.The games in the series are:
Arbitrary Skepticism: In The Sleeping Dragon, George decides to put a famous legend to the test. After been recently knighted by a long-forgotten Knights Templar sect, accidentally finding King Arthur's tomb and retrieving Excalibur (as it often happens, it's confused with the fabled 'sword in the stone') AND slaying a dragon, George throws the sword into a nearby lake. Nothing happens. Nico realizes that he believed a hand would come up out of the water and says, "Get real, George." with only the slightest hint of irony. Then the sword suddenly sinks, as if it was pulled under the water...
Arc Words: "Only those whose faith is true will be saved" in the fourth game.
Artifact Title: The Broken Sword artifact/place is not referenced in the second game at all, and only serves as a minor background element in the third. The german title, Baphomet's Fluch/Curse, is even more this.
Aside Glance: Before the credits roll in The Sleeping Dragon, George asks Nico what happened to Petra, the assassin who tried to kill them both many times throughout the game which prompts her to say that she just, "disappeared" and her eyes quickly glace towards the camera/player. Potentially displaying Genre Savvy-ness, given how many other "disappeared" characters turn up in later games.
Bad Luck Charm: Many residents in Quaramonte City hate to see the flint statue of Tezcatlipoca.
Bag of Holding: Nico has a small bag to keep all the items they collect along the way. George has his handy pockets. Note that said pocket managed to somehow hold, at the same time during the second game, a folded surveying Theodolite, a bucket of maple syrup, a fish, and Mayan artifacts, among other items.
Lampshaded in the first game. If you click on a shovel in a storage closet towards the end of the game, George muses, "Capacious as my pockets were, I doubted I could have fit a shovel in them."
Bomb Disposal: In the fourth game, George and Brother Mark attempt to defuse the bomb inside Anna-Maria's apartment.
Bookcase Passage: In the third game, there's a hidden emergency exit behind the bookshelf in Susarro's office and later a hidden passage in the catacomb's wine cellar.
Book Ends: The first game begins and ends with an explosion, even apparently reusing parts of the same animation. Averted in the Director's Cut, in which the game starts with Nico witnessing a politician being shot instead.
Bottomless Bladder: In the third game, when Nico uses her bathroom her phone receives some of the messages. Later in the game, George can use the public toilet (or "pissoir", as the caretaker calls it) in Montfaucon square.
In Serpent's Curse, George asks Fleur how to get rid of Sergeant Moue from the shop's door but Fleur responds in this question:
Fleur: Don't you want to play the game yourself?
Brick Joke: In Shadow of the Templars, the player can leave the sink on in the basement of an Irish pub. When George is talking to Nico and describing his trip, he mentions having to bail out the basement because "Some idiot left the sink on."
Chekhov's Boomerang: The manhole-opening tool in the first game. It's one of the very first objects you pick up, after which you immediately use it for its intended purpose... and then continue to carry around this bulky piece of metal, making Double Entendres about your "tool" all the way. You eventually find a use for it near the end of the game, in a situation where any thin pole would probably have done.
The fourth game has the golf club. It is the first item to be picked up and you can show it to anyone in case they might be interested in buying it. It is also the last item to be used in destroying the Ark of the Covenant's cherubs.
George, debatably. To name only a few, in the first game alone he carries around a soiled tissue, clown's nose, manhole cover tool, toilet brush, a handful of plaster of Paris, chain from a bathroom toilet, and a Y-shaped stick.
Continuity Nod: The Sleeping Dragon makes some references in the first game including the group of enemies, history of Knights Templar and George wants to tell Nico how he escaped in Bull's Head Hill in Syria again.
Convenient Misfire: Petra's magnum sometimes jams while she's trying to kill George and Nico.
Cooldown Hug: In the third game, Nico delivers one to George after they witnessed Bruno's death.
Copy Protection: The US PC version of The Sleeping Dragon contains the dreaded Starforce copy protection.
Interestingly enough, this is the first sequel since The Smoking Mirror to actually get a number in the title: 5, to be exact, even though naming it Broken Sword 3 wouldn't technically collide with The Sleeping Dragon.
Which makes it a bit of a headscratcher when we remember that the third entry in the series (chronologically fourth) did not feature the smartphones that the characters are seen to possess in both the fourth (chronologically latest) and the fifth (chronologically third) game.
This is then contradicted in the second episode of the Serpent's Curse when Duane mentions the "Rome Incident" from Angel of Death, which George seems to have forgotten about.
Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Near the end of The Sleeping Dragon, the cutscene shows George stabs the dragon's lower jaw and slashes its neck which turns the dragon into shattered crystals.
Covers Always Lie: The Japanese PS2 version cover of The Sleeping Dragon features George and Nico swinging in the rope while Nico's wearing a Dangerously Short Skirt and holding a gun. They don't do anything like that in the actual game, though.
The poster of The Serpent's Curse depicts George holding a dangling Nico from a gondola by single hand while a Russian mobster attempts to shoot them. In the second episode, that scene doesn't happen and instead there's Nico on her own hanging in gondola by two hands and casually talks to Shears. Not to mention that many fans thought Mrs. Piermont will have an important role in the game.
The Cracker: Inverted with Vernon Blier, in The Sleeping Dragon who just hired for the need of money.
Creepy Cockroach: In Serpent's Curse, George keeps a cockroach and names it Trevor. Many NPCs, however, hate to see it.
Colonel Butley: Are you aware of the annual Glastonbury Popular Music Festival? George: The Glastonbury Popular Music Festival? Hmm, that's one of the most popular music festivals on the Popular Music Festival calendar!
Double Entendre: In the first game, George shifts the conversation into talking about a drain cover tool, which nobody is remotely interested in. Upon showing it to someone a second time, he tends to say things like;
Eagleland: Duane and Pearl Henderson appear to be stereotypical American tourists, but that could just be a cover for Duane's job as a CIA agent. Or Duane just thinks he's an agent pretending to a a tourist, or he's an agent but thinks he's only a tourist. Or he's a tourist. It's never really made clear.
Early-Bird Cameo: In Director's Cut, Petra is mentioned by Fleur and claims that she's Nico's cousin.
Elvis Impersonator: In the fourth game, one of the members in Martino gang is guarding the hallways in New York hotel.
Enemy Mime: The first game's introduction has a mime act normally, but is the disguise used by the costume killer before sneaking into the glass window. The killer later switches to the Monster Clown disguise.
Flanderisation: In the Director's Cut of the first game, all new significant pieces of dialogue added for George focused on his foolish aspects. So instead of the dramatic opening in the original, we get a silly rant how he's "really angry" about the café blowing up.
Flashback: At the beginning of the fourth game, Moses uses the Ark of the Covenant for the ceremony. In the fifth game, the opening shows that the fascists invade the mansion during the civil war in Catalonia, Spain.
Foregone Victory: In Director's Cut, all of the death scenes in the original are eliminated.
When you talk to Mrs. Piermont about Flap and Guido, she tells George that not all men wearing Italian bulges and pockets are absolutely gangsters. In the fourth game, George encounters Spallaci and his group who are actually the good guys.
In Syria, if you talk to Duane first, Pearl recites a certain poem about a person's heartbreak due to his "Schnauzer" being bitten by a snake (no, that's a pet name, not what you're thinking). In the next game, George's girlfriend Nico ends up ill because she is bitten by a snake.
At the excavation site in Paris, George refuses to pick up a piece of coal. Until the next game, that is...
In the second game, the card that Nico receives from London Underground station contains a prediction read "A family argument leads you to advantage". Near the end of the game, she convinces Raoul that his mother and Karzac plan to dispose of him as soon Tezcatlipoca has been freed.
George and Anna-Maria has this conversation while trying to escape from the gangsters in New York:
George: Don't worry, I'll figure out a way. Trust me. Anna-Maria: I do...with my life. George: Hey, I wouldn't go that far.
Frying Pan of Doom: Nico uses one against Petra in Vernon's apartment. It doesn't work, though.
Full Name Ultimatum: In the second game, Nico calls George by full name after he tells her to distract General Grasiento for few hours.
Gory Discretion Shot: In the third game, George and Nico discover a dead body near the elevator in underground theater with his chest been burned away.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: It usually doesn't take much to fool a guard or escape from a guard in the game. In the second game, Nico managed to start an elevator generator right next to a bunch of armed guards, and none of them saw fit to ask what she was doing.
I Need a Freaking Drink: At the start of first game, if you give a bottle of brandy to the waitress, she will answer some questions from George. Inverted in Director's Cut where she gets faint after drinking it instead.
I Was Quite a Looker: One of Vernon's neighbors said to Nico that she worked as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge before.
I Will Find You: When Don Carlos found out that his manservant killed and his children were thought to be taken by Inquisition, he decided to take another journey to find his children.Sadly, he never realized that his children were trapped in a well, waiting for their servant to come back, and then died before him.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded a few times, for example after George keeps a blood pressure gauge, Nico questions why he doesn't feel guilty stealing from a hospital.
Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear: Earlier in the second game, George discovers a red panty in Nico's bag, which is actually a gift from Andre. In the third game, he receives Bruno's shorts (or "pants" as what Tristram says) in Glastonbury.
Love Redeems: Imelda Carchon towards Thierry Collard in Director's Cut. They never end up together due to her being a wife of a politician and Thierry being a spy for the French government.
Anna-Maria helps George to stop the Order of St. Michael from using the Ark of Covenant. Sadly, it doesn't end well for her.
Love Triangle: Implied between George, Nico and Andre in the first three games until Beatrice shows up and Andre starts to fall in love with her instead. In the fourth game, there's Nico, George and Anna-Maria.
Henri, Bijou and Mr. Hobbs in the fifth game.
Lying Finger Cross: In The Serpent's Curse, when Navet asks George if he tampers any evidence in Henri's office, one of the dialogue option icons include a crossed finger.
Nostalgia Level: The third game features Flobbage (the old man from The Shadow of the Templars) working in Montfaucon Square. There's also a sewer key available to that area but it is only used temporarily.
Not Completely Useless: The hand buzzer in Templars. Seems like a Joke Item for most of the game, only to be the only solution to a life-or-death situation.
Notice This: In the first, second and fourth games, the mouse pointer changes depending on the function of the items or persons. In third game, sparkles appear whenever George or Nico is close to certain item.
Not Now, Kiddo: In the first game, Liam Maguire tries to tell the men inside the pub about Sean's accident. Mr Leary and his customers (except George), however, tell the kid to shut up.
Nuns Are Funny: Sister Angelica and Sister Margaret in the fourth game.
Obvious Stunt Double: In the second game, George wanders onto the set of a movie where the actors' stunt double is significantly fatter than the star he's doubling for. When said double is injured George serves as one as well.
Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: In Director's Cut, a torn photograph in Ile de la Cité shows Pierre smiling in front of the camera quelling with African uprising. Nico is crushed by the revelation when she discovers a second piece which involves her father. She realize, later on, that the wooden box she opened contains the third photograph of Imelda, and a letter which contain her and Thierry's secret.
Rainbow Speak: George's text is always white while Nico's text is pink when they speak or thinking. The rest of the characters have their own colors attributed to their speech.
Ransacked Room: In the third game, Nico's apartment is ransacked by Susarro's agents in search for Bruno and the Key of Solomon while George and Nico are in Congo. Unfortunately, Andre is unable to stop them.
In the fifth game, Adam's apartment has been ransacked and Tiago is kidnapped by unknown suspects.
Reforged Blade: The first game has the antagonists trying to reforge the eponymous weapon in the belief it will restore their order to glory. The heroes stop them.
Revisiting The Roots: Actually implemented twice in the series. Due to the lackluster reception of the third game, mainly focused on the overuse of QTEs and the simplicity of the puzzles, the fourth one was widely marketed as a return to the roots kind of game, that included reinstating the point'n'click gameplay and an increased emphasis on dialogue and puzzles. The next game tried desperately to be as close to the first entry as possible, even more so than The Smoking Mirror: not only the graphics and music are familiar but even the interface looks only slightly altered when compared with The Shadow of the Templars.
Romantic False Lead: Even though she was taken a bit more seriously as a love interest than most examples, Genre Savvy fans could spot Anna-Maria as one of these from a mile off.
Scenery Porn: The backgrounds in the first two games as well as the fifth game.
Scooby-Dooby Doors: The two tunnels in Glastonbury. George wonders how he managed to get another way easily.
Spooky Painting: The La Maledicció in the fifth game. According to Father Simeon, the painting is cursed by the devil and whoever touches it will die. It gets spookier when there's a hidden image inside the painting.
Starving Student: Nico mentions that she had to drop out of university because of this trope (she couldn't afford art supplies, although she was able to eat potatoes when she was doing printing with them).
Bassam, from Serpent's Curse tries his best to enter college by selling strange trinkets from different countries.
Stealth-Based Mission: a few times in Sleeping Dragon, despite the game having no camera controls whatsoever.
Theme Tune Cameo: In Serpent's Curse, you can listen to the song called "Jasmine" at Henri's apartment in Paris and Hobb's studio in London. Also, George and Nico's smart phones plays music from Beneath a Steel Sky.
Timed Mission: At one point in the fourth game where George and Brother Mark discover a bomb and must find a way to defuse it in ten minutes.
To Be Continued: The Shadow of the Templars features this plus the preview for the second game after the ending credits. The Serpent's Curse also counts.
Trailers Always Lie: In the E3 trailer of The Sleeping Dragon, you won't actually see George running around while wearing safari outfit in Paris, or Nico and Petra having a fight inside Vernon's apartment in actual gameplay.
Trailers Always Spoil: The first game's trailer reveals the main villain and his organization's ceremony.
Treasure Map: The Templar's manuscripts in the first and fourth game.
Updated Re-release (Broken Sword: The Director's Cut, released in 2009 for the Nintendo Wii and DS, with additional content, updated controls and artwork by Dave Gibbons.)
It can be a little jarring on the PC version though. The new voice for Nico is strange at first, but fine. But the new gameplay sections use higher resolution models and backgrounds than the rest of the game. When you see the new Nico model interacting with the old scenery it looks weird. Plus things like the characters no longer walk to the edge of the screen, it just changes.
Also, some of the random things that can be examined are cut out, leaving players of the original slightly uneasy about whether the new version's an improvement.