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Video Game / Broken Sword

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"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."
Opening Monologue

Broken Sword is an Point-and-Click 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.

Not to be confused with "The Sign of the Broken Sword", nor is it related to the Wrecked Weapon trope.

The games in the series are:

Not related to the 1950s fantasy novel The Broken Sword.

Tropes related to individual games belong to their respective pages, and character tropes to the Characters Sheet.

These tropes can explain everything:

  • 100% Completion: Starting from Director's Cut, the progress of the games can be tracked in their saved files.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Almost all characters from foreign countries are able to speak in English. George and Nico lampshade about it after they encounter the Anubis in the third game:
    Nico: I think you scared him off.
    George: Strange how he spoke in English.
    Nico: English? He spoke in perfect French!
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Starting from the second game has switching between George and Nico.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the second game, a bucket of maple syrup, a box of dog biscuits, a folded surveying Theodolite, Mayan artifacts, and a fish—among other things.
    • Lampshaded in the first game. Clicking on a shovel which George encounters at one point in the game will prompt him to remark, "Capacious as my pockets were, I doubted I could have fit a shovel in them."
  • Busman's Holiday: George and Nico can't take a break while going into adventures. This is even lampshaded by George in Director's Cut.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: This happens quite a few times between George and Nico, especially when they're trapped in a temple.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "The door ... was locked."
    • George's "I can explain everything!" in the first two games.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's not uncommon for an item picked up fairly early in the game to find significant use much later, such as in The Serpent's Curse with the Bret cologne bottle, which was one of the first items picked up upon gaining control of George, and one of the last items used in the entire game.
  • Comic-Book Time: Word of God stated on numerous occasions that the characters do not age and the series doesn't have a timeline.
  • Crossing the Desert: Done in The Shadow of the Templars, The Sleeping Dragon, and The Serpent's Curse.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Every game has a section where you must rip off a Recurring Extra or an animal to progress.
  • Deadpan Snarker: George, Nico and André are most prominent examples. The last two with added Frenchness.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In the third and fourth games, dying will take you back to the last spot before crucial events.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Happens in the series few times. Like when George meets Colonel Butley in the third game for example.
    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!
  • Dialogue Tree
  • Disney School of Acting and Mime: The cutscenes. It helps that the animators who worked on the cutscenes previously worked alongside Don Bluth, who is known to be a master of this style.
  • Durable Deathtrap: All ancient traps are in perfect working order, e.g. at the well in Spain and at Syria in the first game or the trapdoor at the Mayan pyramid in the second game.
    • Averted with a secret door early on in the Director's Cut which jams up and must be lifted manually by Nico.
  • 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 tourist, or he's an agent but thinks he's only a tourist. Or he's a tourist. It's never really made clear.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the GBA version of the first game, there is an extra area in Montfaucon sewers which ties in The Sleeping Dragon.
    • In Director's Cut, there's a secret room in the apartment if you use the sewer key on that location.
    • Early in the second game you can pick up a lucky piece of coal that you can use on various objects and people to have something silly happen.
    • In the fifth game, you can hear Joey's voice by clicking the left door near Le Lizard Bleu.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Nico mentions to George that she and André are friends since college.
    • Flap and Guido have known each other since they went to special school together.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt
  • Fan Sequel: Broken Sword 2.5
  • Gay Paree: The most common setting in the series.
  • Guide Dang It!: Each game have their moments, especially in the first game where it involves a goat.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: He's no Guybrush Threepwood, but George is capable of carrying far more items in his pockets than would ever be possible. Even Nico does this to an extent.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In the first game, George witnessed the Neo-Templars' meeting in the underground river in Paris and learned that Khan's role is to stop them from finding the Sword. He could have tell the truth about them to Khan in Bull's Head Hill before tricking him in order to gain cooperation.
    • In the third game, Harry follows George through the broken window. This picture shows what would happen if Harry waits inside until George opens the plane's door.
    • At the same game, when the temple priests created Anubis to guard the secret passageway, they never realized that the intruders can possibly go to the main entrance.
    • Maynard said to Nico that the gold-making machine is not meant to open large objects like the safe. It can only work if somebody holds the safety mechanism button which is found inside the centrifuge.
    • Medovsky. He's dumb enough to leave his expensive coin as a display. Had he kept his coin in the safe place, he wouldn't have bothered to chase George and Nico in Monserrat Station.
    • Langham. He decided to kill Tiago and kidnap Eva instead of George and Nico as they're the ones who have potential to stop him from getting Lucifer's power.
  • Joke Item: A few, though some turn out to be Not Completely Useless.
  • Just Train Wrong: The train sequence in Shadow of the Templars. The train looks weird to say at least. There is a pantograph on the middle car. But self-propelled electric cars weren't common back in those days and were always positioned at the ends of the train. And had a driver's cab of course. The train does even sound more like a steam train than electric.
    • Also you don't want to climb on the roof under catenary unless you want to recieve a tasty jolt.
  • 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.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The destruction of the Neo-Templars at the end of the first game is mentioned in the third game.
    • The cover art of PC version of Director's Cut reveals Rosso's true identity.
    • One of the concept arts in The Serpent's Curse reveals El Serp's real identity.
  • Leap of Faith
  • Leitmotif:
  • Letterbox: The first two games has this during gameplay. This feature returns in the fourth game as well but it only appears during cutscenes.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology
  • Locked Door: A typical challenge in all games.
  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: The series uses this many times with the black screens. Averted in the third and fourth games where the texts in the black screens don't show up.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The majority of the dead victims are males, but there's one female that involves to a certain incident. And another who has a Disney Villain Death.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite having serious subject matter in the series, it has a lot of funny moments.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: In several games. At one point in the second game, one of the players solves a puzzle and notes that it was done "Using the form of lateral thinking that can get you institutionalized."
  • Multi-Platform: Except Angel of Death, which was released on PC only.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: "My name's Stobbart. George Stobbart. That's two b's and two t's"
  • National Stereotypes: One of the series' main criticism is that there are lots of stereotypical characters from different countries. For instance, the French characters are depicted as rude and arrogant people while the Irish men enjoy drinking beer and they're good at boxing.
  • Notice This: In the first, second and fourth games, the mouse pointer changes depending on the function of the items or persons. In the third game, sparkles appear whenever George or Nico is close to a certain item.
  • Official Couple: Played with in George and Nico's relationship. They're usually together by the end of each game, but most new installments start with them (temporarily) broken up.
  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Point-and-Click Map: The Paris and world map in the first game. The former is present in the fifth game. Averted in the second and third game.
    • The streets of New York, Turkey and the Vatican in the fourth game.
  • Police Are Useless: Murder cases get typically closed after few days of investigation.
    • Justified in the first game with the cafe bombing, as Rosso is working with the Neo-Templars all along and almost definitely was ordered to shut down the investigation by his buddies.
  • Precision F-Strike: Several characters such as Mr. Leary and Duane have a tendency to swear when they're angry. Even George and Nico aren't exempt from this when they're really serious.
  • Rainbow Speak: George's text is always white while Nico's text is pink (or red in the fourth game) when they speak or thinking. The rest of the characters have their own colors attributed to their speech. Averted in Director's Cut and Remastered.
  • 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.
  • Ring Menu: The interface in The Sleeping Dragon and the action commands in The Angel of Death.
  • Running Gag: George likes to show his stuff to anyone he meets during investigation. He often receives confusion or ridicule from NPCs.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds in the first two games as well as the fifth game.
  • Set Piece Puzzle
  • Shout-Out: George Stobbart's similarity to another famous adventurer fond of ancient semi-mythical artifacts is lampshaded by the line: "Evil Monks. I hate those guys".
    • In the first game, Pearl mentions that Duane had a copy called "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail", the book that inspired the series.
    • In the second game, if you talk to one of the secretaries in the Quaramonte City HQ, ask about the detonator and say "yes" he will explain about the software called LINC.
    • Upon trying to walk into a tunnel in the London Underground, Nico remembers what Wile E. Coyote happens if she goes there.
    • When George attempts to climb the rock needle: "No good. I'd have to be bitten by a radioactive spider before I stood any chance of getting up there.".
    • The song George hums while talking with Miguel in jail is actually "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads.
    • "Giant mutant killer crabs with attitude."
    • George tells Madame Zazie to watch The Twilight Zone.
    • Before their car stops at Susarro's castle, George asks Nico if her vampire slaying genes are kicking in.
    • Brother Mark says that his favorite movie is called "In Cold Blood" which is actually Revolution's previous game.
    • "If I could deconstruct this I could deconstruct anything".
    • In the fifth game, George mentions a quote from Gertrude Stein in Henri's apartment: "America is my country, and Paris is my home land."
  • Shown Their Work: All of the games contain a lot of details about medieval history. The staff in Revolution visited various places in Europe such as France and Spain.
  • Stock British Phrases: Lots of these phrases can be heard by many English and Irish characters in the games.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Only up to the second game.
    • Averted with the release of Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse. Which is ironic, considering that it takes place after the second (numbered) game and before the other two sequels.
  • Take Over the World: Most of the villain's mission is to conquer the world.
  • Take Your Time: Many of the puzzles do not have a time limit. This gets quite silly in the third game where George has to push some crates while the Grand Master's preparing to receive Dragon Power and then in the fourth game where George and Anna-Maria are solving some difficult puzzles while Nico is about to be sacrificed.
  • Talk to Everyone
  • Tap on the Head:
    • In the second game, George goes out after a hit to his head by Pablo in the opening sequence.
    • In the third game, Nico must smack Flap's head with a vase to avoid being strangled to death.
    • In the fourth game, George experiences this around three times. He lampshades it after being knocked out by Father Gregor. Later in the game, Archie knocks out an evil monk using his wine bottle to save George and Anna-Maria.
    • In the fifth game, Tiago hits Shears' head using the china dog he found in Adam's apartment.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: Some of the puzzles from sequels require this, mostly between George and Nico.
  • Temple of Doom: Visited regularly.
  • Thanking the Viewer: The Sleeping Dragon and Director's Cut have it after the ending credits.
  • 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.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: The Sleeping Dragon and The Angel of Death. Fans are split whether those games are good or not. Subverted in The Serpent's Curse where it has 2D backgrounds but the character models are still in 3D.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The series is prone to this. To the ears of non-British players, many characters have fake accents and sometimes over the top. Averted with George, whose voice is performed by an American.
  • World of Snark