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Circle of Blood

aka: BS1, Baphomets Fluch, Broken Sword: Il Segreto dei Templari, Broken Sword: La leyenda de los Templarios, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, Les Chevaliers de Baphomet, Slomannyj Mech: Ten' Tamplierov
Moby ID: 499
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

George Stobbart is an American tourist spending his autumn vacation in Paris. He barely escapes a bombing of a café and decides to investigate the clues left behind by the killer. This eventually leads him to a mystery dating back to the legend of the Knights Templar.

Circle of Blood is the first part in the Broken Sword series. It is a third-person puzzle-solving point-and-click adventure game with 2D cartoon-like graphics. The player moves the character around using the mouse, examines the environment, talks to other people and collects items stored in an inventory. These items need to be used or combined with other items to solve puzzles. George gets help from Nicole Collard, a French journalist. The story is divided into eleven chapters and takes place in locations such as Paris, Ireland, Syria, and others.

Spellings

  • Сломанный Меч: Тень Тамплиеров - Russian spelling
  • 断剑:圣殿骑士的阴影 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

115 People (112 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Director
Project Producer
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System Programming
Technical Programming
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Animation Director
Support Programming
Music Composed and Conducted by
Paper Animation
Character Design
Coloring
Sprite Animation
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 73 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 335 ratings with 13 reviews)

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.

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2008

Neither fish nor fowl

The Good
Broken Sword is an example of what I like to call the "post-classical" period of adventure games. It was made after Sierra and LucasArts did everything they could with comedy, and the former also produced quite a few convincing experiments in a more "serious" genre.

Revolution - not exactly a rookie in the business, having authored the (in my opinion) more interesting Lure of the Temptress and Beneath a Steel Sky - tries to recreate the transparent atmosphere of the classical style. It might sound strange, but the one positive thing to say about Broken Sword is that there is nothing overly negative to say about it.

The game is solid, quite solid indeed. There are some nicely flowing dialogues and humorous remarks representing the dry British wit. There is more exploration and experimentation involved than in the less interesting sequel. The Paris part of the game, where it most resembles a detective story, is more successful than the later episodes - I enjoyed interrogating suspects and gathering evidence instead of blindly advancing the plot via contrived adventure game devices. Some of the puzzles feel right, being logical, neither too hard nor too easy. The graphics are technically good. In short, there is nothing wrong with this game...

The Bad
...just as there isn't anything really great in it. Typically of the "post-classical" period, energy and creativity are running low in Broken Sword. It looks back nostalgically almost in a way a fan tribute would. The entire genre was already in a crisis, and this game feels like a rather desperate attempt to ignore that. It contains many traditional adventure elements, but they don't mesh well because the designers were too focused on making everything "right" instead of having their own vision of what an adventure game should be like.

Not many games could tell serious stories right while spicing them with a bit of humor. Gabriel Knight series was one of the few that succeeded in that. Those games told deep stories and had dark, even macabre atmosphere; whenever they injected them with humor, they did it at the right time and in the right doses, so that it never interfered with the sinister atmosphere or disrupted the dramatic pace of the story. Broken Sword could not do the same. It's a bit of everything - silly "Monkey Island-lite" puzzles interspersed by murders, cozy dialogues with goofy people in quiet Irish villages against the backdrop of pseudo-historical conspiracies. This discrepancy in style was already evident in Revolution's earlier work, but here it becomes unnerving.

One big problem with the game is its dryness. Whether in the puzzles, dialogues, visuals, humor, or story, the tone is consistently distant - there is hardly any warmth. Gabriel Knight games combined all their historical and occult material with personal involvement. Their heroes suffered, had inner conflicts; they fought, loved and hated. The main characters of Broken Sword, on the other side, are indifferent. You never learn much about their personalities. You don't really care for them. And they also don't care that much for what's happening in the game.

Lukewarm puzzles have to be solved in order to advance a trite plot based on fake "discoveries" by some authors during the last couple of decades of the century. Since that, people started fixating, among other things, on Knights Templar, as if their alleged conspiracies could help us solve the real problems we face in the world. Thus, Broken Sword is quite distant from its modern-day setting, being more of a big cliche peppered by stereotypical exotics. This nonchalance is perfectly illustrated by the visuals: they are too bright, too neat, too sterile to convey the much-needed atmosphere.

The Bottom Line
Broken Sword was made according to the right standards, but the input of its own personality is minimal. It resembles a hard-working, but not particularly inspired student who did his best to imitate a great master. The result is a rather tepid game, neither bad nor exciting - classical, but not a classic.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181749) · 2014

One word.....BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Good
Broken Sword is one of those games that can be compared to the games of Lucasarts. Sure Broken Sword shares many similarites with say, the Monkey Island games, but what makes it different is the control system. The game uses the same control method that was used in "Beneath A Steel Sky only better. The characters in the game are well animated, in fact they give Disney a run for their money!. The music is well used in the game, it is even composed by Barrington Pheloung (who did the music for the popular UK TV series "Inspecter Morse")



The Bad
Some of the puzzles are a bit hard and can take quite a while to figure out. Other than that there's really not much to say about what makes this game bad.

The Bottom Line
A Brilliant game that needs to be in any gamers collection, adventure game fans will enjoy this a lot.

Windows · by Grant McLellan (584) · 2001

[ View all 13 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Animation

The game's animations and artwork were done by former animators and artists from Bluth Studios, makers of The Secret of NIMH, An American Tale, The Land Before Time, and the Dragon's Lair and Space Ace interactive arcade laser games.

Engine

The Game Boy Advance version does not use the Virtual Theatre game engine.

Extras

Some versions of the game came with the Knights Templar book Savage Warrior written by Steve Jackson.

Installation

The DOS/Windows installation program instead of showing a progress bar during the copying phase runs a Breakout variant. The paddle is controlled with the mouse.

Music

The game contains over two hours of original music from Britain’s composer Barrington Pheloung, also known for his TV theme music on Central Independent Television’s renowned Inspector Morse detective series starring John Thaw and Kevin Whately.

Information also contributed by Garcia, Rola and Sciere

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ummagumma.

Game Boy Advance added by Kartanym. Windows Mobile added by Sciere. Palm OS added by Kabushi. Macintosh added by Scaryfun. PlayStation added by Grant McLellan. DOS added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Trixter, robotriot, Shane k, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Apogee IV, anneso, Sciere, Kohler 86, Ghost Pirate, CaesarZX, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added November 30, 1999. Last modified March 19, 2024.