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Video Game / Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

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"As I picked myself up, all I could hear was the ceaseless drone of traffic. Life went on around me, but the explosion was to change my life forever..."
George Stobbart

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is a 1996 adventure game created by British developer Revolution Software, and the first game in the Broken Sword series. In the United States, it was re-named Circle of Blood, which was reverted back for the sequels and the updated re-release.

The game follows George Stobbart, an American tourist in Paris who survives the fatal explosion caused by a mysterious clown and attempts to arrest the killer. His pursuit leads him to various regions of Europe and the Middle East, until he finally unravels a certain conspiracy that ties to the Knights Templar, the Catholic order that was supposed to cease to exist back in the 14th century...

In 2009, Revolution Software released an enhanced remake (dubbed The Director's Cut) for the PC, Nintendo DS, and iOS.

These tropes can explain everything:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Some of the cutscenes feature CGI vehicles.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Paris is full of them - Truth in Television, of course.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: There's a battle between Neo-Templars and Hashshahins. The former are a group of people from influential positions and hide in ancient areas where they discuss their plans about conquering the world while the latter is a group of Muslim radical sect who are trying to save the world from Neo-Templars.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The Angry Guard Goat in Lochmarne Castle.
  • As the Good Book Says...: One of the puzzles in the game has searching some Bible verses in Don Carlos' tomb.
  • Balcony Escape: After killing Marquet, Eklund escapes through the hospital room's window.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Lady Piermont pressures the desk clerk at the hotel to hand over the manuscript from the safe.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: George builds a towel ladder at the top of Bull's Head.
  • Berserk Button: Try telling Arto that his kebabs are made of dog meat in Arabic and he'll turn into a murderer. But Thou Must!, of course.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between George and Nico in the closing scene.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The conversations and notes contain some French, Spanish, Arabic and Latin.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Khan offers to shake hands with George before killing him. That opens up a chance for the latter to make use of the hand buzzer.
  • Bookends: The 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.
  • Bowdlerise: Some of the scenes and dialogues are edited in Director's Cut to avoid warnings in violence and decrease frustration to newcomers. It doesn't help that the fans are the ones who complain about it.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: George smiles in front of the camera after he opens the secret door in St. Ninian ruins.
  • Brick Joke: 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."
  • But Thou Must!: The only way to get the toilet brush is to tell Arto that his kebabs are made of dog meat.
  • Call-Forward:
    • 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 Ireland, when George tries to open the large wooden gate in Lochmarne castle: "Pushing with all my strength got me nowhere. They didn't budge. I really need to start working out.". Now look at George's appearance in the sequels.
    • 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 Director's Cut, an unseen Petra from The Sleeping Dragon plants a tracking device in Nico's apartment.
  • Car Cushion: The canopy of the Jeep in Syria cushions George fall.
  • Car Fu: Fitzgerald is run over by Khan's sports car.
  • Cat Scare: George gets scared by a cat in the alley across from the cafe.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The manhole-opening tool. 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 go on to make continuous use of it, e.g. as a stepping stone at the castle wall in Ireland, to break in the plaster wall at Montfaucon's sewers, or near the end of the game, in a situation where any thin pole would probably have done.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Early in the game, you get a prank item that shocks whoever shakes your hand. You know it's going to come in handy at some point.
    • Also the tissue.
    • The totem pole in Crune Museum.
  • Chess Motif: There's a puzzle involving a chessboard which reveals a hidden chalice from de Vasconcellos' mausoleum.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The clown's nose and greasepaint-stained tissue, both of which George finds in a Parisian sewer. Nearly everyone recoils in disgust at the latter, and the former remains in George's inventory for the entire game.
  • Collapsing Lair: At the end, St. Ninians church gets blows up.
  • Collector of the Strange: Sergeant Moue has a collection of matchbooks.
  • Companion Cube: The janitor in Hagenmeyer Clinic has a polishing machine named Mr. Shiny.
  • Concealing Canvas: In the Director's Cut, Nico finds a safe behind a painting in Pierre Carchon's study.
  • Concept Art Gallery: As rewards after the ending credits of Director's Cut.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: In the climax, when George is strangled by Eklund, Rosso kills the latter by throwing a dagger (original)/shooting him in the neck (Director's Cut).
  • Credits Medley: The ending of the game is the full version of the opening theme.
  • Cypher Language: In Director's Cut, Nico has to solve two secret messages which are ciphers.
  • Dad the Veteran: Thierry Collard, in Director's Cut.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If the player leaves the sink on in the pub in Ireland, George will mention having to help bail out the basement because "Some idiot left the faucet running".
    • Before you speak "Il a'kl kalb" to the kebab salesman, you can ask around to other people what it means. After George speaks the words to the salesman, he won't be able to ask anyone else what it means - except Nejo.
    • The player is forbidden from stealing the key to the club in Syria. Should the player attempt to do so, George will mention he returned the key.
  • Death of a Child: The tale of Don Carlos de Vasconcellos. His young children were taken away by the Inquisition so he spent the remainder of his life trying to find them. But what happened to them? They never left the mansion grounds. They were trapped in the well close to his home, and starved to death.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Who would have thought Inspector Rosso was the mastermind of the conspiracy?
  • Doomed Appointment: Plantard was supposed to meet Nico at the cafe to talk about a certain dead French politician. Of course, he dies before he can slip any information.
  • Double Entendre: 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;
    George: "I already showed you my tool, didn't I?"
    Museum Curator: "Oui, monsieur. Most impressive!"
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In this game, during conversations, you can show all the items in your inventory. In all future games, you can only show the items that are (story-wise) relevant to the conversation.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Eiffel Tower shows prominently in the animated opening sequence.
  • Enemy Mime: The game's introduction has a mime act normally, but is the disguise used by the costumed killer before sneaking into the glass window. The killer later switches to the Monster Clown disguise.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Subverted in Director's Cut. Nico encounters a mime (who is actually a killer) at the palace. Nico thinks that mimes are annoying but decides to play along.
  • Exact Eavesdropping:
    • George arrives at Montfaucon's sewers just in time to overhear the Neo-Templars lay out their plan to take over the world.
    • At the end, George and Nico are right in time to witness the cult ceremony.
  • Exploding Barrels: There are loads of broken barrels which contain gunpowder hidden in St. Ninians church. They can be only used if there's a small explosion nearby.
  • Expy: There's Lady Piermont who is based on a middle-aged aristocratic woman in Beneath a Steel Sky. They even share the same voice actress.
  • Fast-Roping: Nico breaks into Crune Museum from the rooftop and kicks Flap and Guido to get the tripod.
  • Final Speech: Khan gets the chance to deliver one in the train car. He dies on the half-finished line "One last thing...".
  • Flanderisation: In the Director's Cut, 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.
  • Garden-Hose Squirt Surprise: Played with. George stops Lopez' garden hose to sneak inside the villa.
  • Going by the Matchbook: George finds a matchbook from Club Alamut at the crime scene in the beginning which leads him to Syria. Lampshaded by Nico who mentions that if this were a movie, the matchbox would have a clue written inside (which it didn't).
  • Gruesome Goat: George encounters an ill-natured goat at the castle in Ireland.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Duane - either a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, or just a Moron...
  • The Heretic: The Knights Templar were accused of heresy by the church.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: In the opening murder scene of the Director's Cut, the killer gains access to his victim's living room by using a glass cutter on the balcony window.
  • Home Base: Nico's apartment.
  • Hypocritical Humor: George asks who would disguise as a doctor to take advantage of a dying person - which he had previously done in the scene before. George's outrage is slightly justified as he only did it to get information.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: The clown's bomb. Though concealed inside an accordion, it still featured a red blinking light and a suspicious ticking sound before going off.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: At the start of the 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 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.
  • Join or Die:The Grand Master offers George a chance to join the Neo-Templars. George, however realizes that the members who die treat them as failures.
  • Just Train Wrong: The train sequence just before the finale. 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.
  • Knight's Armor Hideout: One puzzle involves hiding behind a suit of armour after drawing the attention of an NPC you have to sneak past. Looking at it has George contemplate actually putting it on, but admitting that it would be impractical.
  • Learnt English from Watching Television: Nejo has said he learned to speak English from Jeeves and Wooster tapes received from his uncle. Subverted with Ultar where he learned to speak English from his foreign clients.
  • 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.
  • Monster Clown: The game starts with a clown bombing a café.note 
  • My Card: Rosso offers his to George at the cafe.
  • Nintendo Hard: Some of the new puzzles in The Director's Cut. Especially the ones that make use of the Wiimote's motion sensing.
  • Not Completely Useless: The hand buzzer. Seems like a Joke Item for most of the game, only to be the only solution to a life-or-death situation.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: 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.
  • Oireland: At Lochmarne:
    George: Top of the morning to ya!
    Landlord: I beg your pardon?
    George: Well that's what you Irish say, isn't it?
    Landlord: Do you want something? Or are you just flaunting your xenophobia?
  • Opening Monologue: George's famous opening line and Nico's narration in The Director's Cut.
  • Outrun the Fireball: George and Nico at the end, when the church blows up.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The "old lady" on the train was very clearly Khan, not even bothering to cover his face.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The six pages of comics in Director's Cut.
  • 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.
  • The Precarious Ledge: George has to navigate himself on a ledge between two hotel rooms.
  • Present-Day Past: In one of the scenes added in the Director's Cut, one character references the Euro currency as being presently in use, which wouldn't be rolled out for another six years. This also clashes with a line from George's dialogue in Syria, where he mentions that the only money he has on him are some leftover Punts from his time in Ireland.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: The close up on George's moving hand after the explosion in the opening scene.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Inspector Rosso.
  • Red Herring:
    • Germany, Italy and Russia show up on the map but are never visited.
    • The drain in the street at Lochmarne offers to hold something valuable but it's a dead end.
  • Reforged Blade: The game has the antagonists trying to reforge the eponymous weapon in the belief it will restore their order to glory. The heroes stop them.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Neo-Templars at St. Ninians church.
  • See You in Hell: George says to the Grand Master that he'll rather see him in hell first than to join in the Neo-Templars.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: The police officer at the hospital does this to open the locked door to Marquet's room.
  • Show Within a Show: Professor Peagram's "Peagram's Past" .
  • Sickbed Slaying: Marquet is killed in his hospital bed by Eklund, who is disguised as a doctor. Nico lampshades it after that.
  • Signature Line: Aside from the Opening Monologue, George delivers another one after the intro:
    "As a picked myself up, all I could hear was the ceaseless drone of traffic. Life went around me, but the explosion was to change my life forever."
  • Spinning Paper: The Director's Cut intro shows three European newspapers with the image of Pierre Carchon.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Used when George talks with Nico or Todryk on the phone.
  • Spy Catsuit: Nico wears one. Lampshaded by George after the terrible incident in Crune Museum.
  • Time Passes Montage: George is trying to find the old well using his dowsing stick while Lopez is taking a break from gardening.
  • Together in Death: Don Carlos' children in the well.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer reveals the main villain and his organization's ceremony. The Director's Cut trailer is worse.
  • Treasure Map: The Templar's manuscripts. Lampshaded by George.
  • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: Ultar often adds the word "yes" when talking to his clients.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Neo-Templars make this offer to George, and he almost succumbs to the influence of the Sword of Baphomet, but then he remembers that the Neo-Templars have a nasty tendency of You Have Failed Me.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Sean Fitzgerald gets kidnapped by Khan in Lochmarne but we never learn about his fate. The worst must be assumed.
    • Rosso is mentioned in the ending of the Game Boy Advance game, but one of the enforcers sent to make sure that George and Nico saw the ceremony is not seen at all. He also doesn't get a Redemption Equals Death moment either.
  • Worthy Opponent: Before Khan dies, he says to George that the original Knights Templars were the noble foes of Hashashins.
  • You Fool!: The Grand Master commands Guido to kill George and Nico first before getting rid of fire in the gunpowder.

Alternative Title(s): The Shadow Of The Templars