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Circle of Blood (Windows)

87
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37815)
Written on  :  Feb 08, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

8 out of 13 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Learn about the Templars while searching for the café bomber

The Good

The Shadow of the Templars is the first game in Revolution's Broken Sword adventure series, and like Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers before it, it delves into some history besides concentrating on what usually happens in the introduction. The player takes on the role of George Stobbart, an American tourist on vacation in Paris, who barely survives an explosion outside a Paris café when the killer walks in, takes a dude's suitcase and replaces it with an explosive, then walks back out. Now George has to find out the identity of the killer and track him down. He discovers that there is something much larger and more dangerous going on that stretches back as far as the Knights Templar. As the game progresses, he finds out (with the help of a French journalist) that the suitcase contains a manuscript once belonging to the Knights Templar. This leads them to various locations such as Ireland, Syria, Spain, and Scotland; and soon, they want to get down to the nitty-gritty of it all.

More often than not, you will spend most of the game interviewing people for information that will lead you to the next clue. I enjoyed interviewing people because I wanted to know what would happen later if I get the right information out of them. The script is well-thought out, and I felt that it is enhanced if you play the game with subtitles, which is what I do because I sometimes do not follow dialogue unless it appears on screen.

The interface in Templars is a bit unusual. It looked to me as if the game is presented in widescreen, but what made me think otherwise is the top and bottom bits are reserved for the inventory and interview topics, respectively. I like the way when you move the mouse to these areas, you get a smooth transition effect. The interface will still be around in the future BS games.

The hand-painted backgrounds are nice. The artists did well in determining what is in each location and make us experience what it is in real-life. For example, Ireland has pubs almost around each corner, and if you actually go there, you will see this. The buildings that I enjoyed looking were mostly in Paris. When I went to Paris four years ago, I remembered the buildings were basically in pink, yellow, and white; which is what the buildings in Templars look like. The individual cut-scenes are nice, and they trigger whatever major event is going to take place. During the game, you have to use the phone, but unlike other adventure games, you can actually see the person that you are talking to.

The music in the game is created by the London Symphony Orchestra, and it reflects well with what happens and what you are doing. In my opinion, some of the music is heard when you are in Syria. I did not know the difference between Indian and Arabian music. I thought that they were similar in style until I played this game. Other notable music include the Irish music in Lochmarne.

I read most reviews of this game here on MobyGames where the writers say that the game can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a comedy or a serious adventure. To me, this game is not humorous. Apart from what one of the lieutenants on the case says at the beginning of the game, not one conversation after that made me laugh.

The puzzles in Templars are simple, they probably take just a few minutes to complete. An example is the chess puzzle somewhere in the middle of the game, in which you only have to move the white chess pieces in the middle of the board and not the red pieces that surround it. If you place them in the correct order, something will happen. That is the only puzzle that I saw in the game, that is worth mentioning here.

I was impressed by the installation program. It is not one of those boring old installation programs where the desktop is still shown (like InstallShield), but it is based around the same color as the in-game control panel, which has shades of brown. The program has a nice transition effect where the options appear scrolling from the left or right. While files are being copied to your hard drive, you can play a Breakout game until the installation has been completed. What sets this game apart from other Breakout games is the fact that there is no lives or score, and the blocks reset when the paddle does not connect with the ball. There is a female voice to guide you through the installation as well.

The Bad

I didn't like how, during the game, you are required to do a bit of CD swapping, even though you are asked to CD-swap during the installation.

The Bottom Line

Templars is a brilliant adventure game from the dudes who brought you Beneath a Steel Sky. The hand-painted backgrounds are nice, and each building in them is modeled on real-life ones. The music suits the situation that you are in, the puzzles are not too hard, and the game comes with a superb installation program. Game number one is suitable for the whole family as there is no violence, sex, or bad language here. My sister would love to get her hands on this.