Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

aka: BS3, Baphomets Fluch: Der schlafende Drache, Broken Sword 3, Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon, Broken Sword: El sueño del dragón, Broken Sword: Il Sonno del Drago, Broken Sword: Nenereru Ryuu no Densetsu, Les Chevaliers de Baphomet: Le manuscrit de Voynich, Slomannyj Mech 3: Spjaschij Drakon
Moby ID: 11004
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Description official descriptions

No less than six years have gone by before the third installment in the Broken Sword series saw the light of day. The first two games (The Shadow of the Templars and The Smoking Mirror) delved into the Knights Templar and Mayan mythology. This time, George Stobbart and Nico Collard are after the Voynich Manuscript to unravel its mysteries.

The Sleeping Dragon moves away from the 2D point-and-click concept from the earlier games and features a full 3D world, with a camera that does not rotate, but uses fixed cinematic perspectives, combined with full 5.1 sound. For the Windows version the game is no longer controlled through the mouse, but now through the keyboard, for the movement of the characters as well as all the actions. The player alternately controls George or Nico. Next to typical adventure gameplay such as exploration, conversations, and searching and combining items, there are also a few action sequences. The characters can duck, sneak, hang from ledges and move crates to reach higher areas.

The locations visited throughout the game include The Congo, Paris, England, Czech Republic and Egypt.

Spellings

  • Сломанный Меч 3: Спящий Дракон - Russian spelling
  • 断剑:沉睡之龙 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

204 People (189 developers, 15 thanks) · View all

Director
Head of Development
Artistic Director
Lead Section Design and Implementation
Audio Director
Project Management
Section Design
Implementation
System Programming
Tools Programming
Audio System Programming
AI Programming
Effects Programming
Lead Artist
Artists
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 80% (based on 67 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 154 ratings with 9 reviews)

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The Good
Like the previous titles in the series this game has a solid story underpinning the gameplay. The voice acting is mature and thankfully light on ham. The interaction interface is fairly clunky but doesn't get in the way too much. The presentation is generally neat and tidy.

There are some nice little puzzles in this game. I quite liked the little box puzzles, even though I got the impression they were only there to slow the pace of the game down. They were nowhere near as challenging as Soko-ban, of course, but they did make for an interesting diversion from some of the more tedious areas of the game.

The Bad
This game also has a lot of problems. The most obvious annoyance was the constant and tedious loading screens. Some of the puzzles even had loading sections between two halves of the same puzzle. Coupled with the sudden deaths that occur liberally throughout the game, these annoying multiple minute waits to try and fail another 5 second sequence of gameplay brought me to the brink of giving up on the game altogether. The strong story, characters, and promise of occasionally interesting gameplay elements, were all that kept me going.

There were also graphical glitches. The sound and vocal tracks could rarely keep up with the rest of the game. The characters often flicked in an out of poses making the in game cinematic sequences comical.

The stealth sections of the game, although an interesting idea, were rendered almost unplayable by the ridiculous design decision to couple the control system to the camera - and then cut the camera at the most awkward points sending your player careening around the field like a drunken buffoon.

Several times I found myself guessing the correct solution at first, and yet having that attempt fail for some unknown reason. I'd then try everything else I could possibly imagine until finally, out of exasperation, I'd try the first thing again - only this time the exact same thing would work!

The generic speech also became comical at times. On one memorable occasion, having managed to shut the door on a shotgun toting goon, selecting the key on the door lock gave rise to the rather ironic, "I had no reason to do that," statement from George. This, right before the goon opens the door, without apparently using his hands, and simultaneously gives him both badly animated barrels in the face; shortly followed by an out of sync sound effect.

The Bottom Line
Underneath the stylish gloss, is a buggy game engine. But, under that, is a pretty good game. If you can get past the glitches and the occasional poor design decisions, what remains is certainly enjoyable. However, it's not the best introduction to the series.

PlayStation 2 · by Paul Sinnett (502) · 2004

A broken sword fixes the adventure Genre

The Good
When I discovered that the Broken Sword series would go into its third iteration, I was enthusiastic, only to become depressed, once the game makers made clear that it wouldn't be a classic adventure.

So what did they deliver instead? It's a puzzle focused narrative with action elements. Sounds like they stuffed a lot into that one, eh? And you're right: The best about Broken Sword 3 is probably that it relies heavily on storytelling. It is one of the most intriguing plots within all games of the past few years.

Moreover, the graphics are quite good, while sound and voice acting is as professional as in the first two parts of the game.

The Bad
Broken Sword 3 changes camera angles quite often to push suspense. However, the controls react depending on the camera angle, not depending on the player. This can get quite on your nerves, because you have to rethink the direction controls all the time. And it will surely kill you a few times in time critical situations...

The puzzle design is usually logical and interesting, while not very hard. From time to time (and much too often) the game features box moving puzzles. These are clearly designed to stretch the overall playing time. Although in most cases you will be able to figure out how to solve these puzzles in a matter of seconds, you'll have to move boxes around for another five...

The Bottom Line
In the end, Broken Sword 3 is an interesting approach to renovate the adventure genre, blowing quite some dust of it. I'd love to see other games follow this approach with a strong narrative, good graphics and voice acting, thoughtful puzzles, but with better controls and fewer boxes.

Windows · by Isdaron (715) · 2004

A partly successful attempt to breath new life into the adventure genre

The Good
Well, the most important thing about a game, at least in my opinion, is that it's fun to play, and fortunately, Broken Sword 3 possesses this virtue. Another thing of interest to most gamers these days is graphics, and Broken Sword 3 manages to deliver in this area as well. On to the core, the gameplay itself. BS3 has all the ingredients an adventure should have, interesting characters and locations, meaningful conversations, brainteasing riddles ... all this doesn't sound too bad, does it?

The Bad
Well, it isn't. But the game still offers some reasons for complaining. The most painful thing for me, an old adventure game veteran, is the absence of mouse control. Over the course of the development I've read a number of interviews with different chaps from Revolution Software in which they bragged this game was going to reinvent the adventure genre. However, you'll be hardly pressed to actually notice this. Most things have been done before, mainly by the also fully three dimensional Gabriel Knight 3. BS3 is still playable enough, even without a mouse interface, but I missed one more than once and aforementioned GK3 HAD mouse control, so I have to come to the conclusion the reason for it's absence is mere lazyness. That out of the way, the next biggest complaint, FAR less serious from my personal viewpoint, is the weirdo mixture of mythologies featured in BS3. Revolution Software did a great job basing Broken Sword 1 on the myths around the legendary Knights Templar, but the move to mixing in different other mythologies started in BS2 has been brought one step further in BS3, up to a point where it gets somewhat too much. Having a direct connection between artifacts of the Knights Templar, Old-Egyptian temples and the tale of King Arthur is a bit much for my taste. But this is a matter of personal preference, I guess. Finally, there's an abundance of sokoban-style puzzles in Sleeping Dragon, which can get kind of annoying at times.

The Bottom Line
Don't be fooled by the fact that the bad section is twice as big as the good section, despite all downsides BS3 is definitely a game worth playing, it's just not a pure blood adventure and - not uncommon amongst multi-genre adventures - a bit shallow at times. Nonetheless, the sentence I began this review with is still true at it's end.

Windows · by Cadorna (219) · 2003

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Trivia

Casting

The actress who played Nico, Sarah Crook did not actually audition for the role. She was one of the supervisors of the audition, and asked Charles Cecil if she could try out for the role after a string of applicants Cecil regarded as unsuitable.

References

  • In the room of Vernon Blier, the geek, you can find some references. In his bedroom, there's a poster with the cover image of the first Broken Sword game against the wall. In the living room, there's a painting with an apple on it. If you observe it closely, Nico will say: "Another Steve Jobs original" - an obvious reference to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple.
  • George's lucky piece of coal makes a return. In the previous game, you could pick up a 'lucky piece of coal' in the warehouse in Marseilles. It appears in this game as well, you can find it in the locked metal shack in Susarro`s Castle. Just like the previous game, it has no use at all in the game itself.
  • The picture of George in Nico's apartment is the picture that George uses to ask about the killer throughout the first Broken Sword game, Circle of Blood. If you look behind George, you can see the assassin, complete with the bright green clown pants.

Trilogy

This was planned to be the last Broken Sword game, but later Revolution decided to continue the series with Secrets of the Ark: A Broken Sword Game.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2003 – Best Console Adventure Game of the Year (PlayStation 2)

Information also contributed by Depth Lord, Kalrac and Martin Smith

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Xbox, PlayStation 2 added by MAT.

Additional contributors: MAT, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Monkeyhead, Pirou Julien, Ghost Pirate, dome_quest, Patrick Bregger.

Game added November 13, 2003. Last modified February 23, 2024.