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Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon Review

George and Nico return to solve a new mystery in this all new Broken Sword adventure.


Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 17th November 2003

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

  • Developer: Revolution Software
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: 14th November 2003

In 1996 a 2D adventure game gripped the world of computer adventures and concluding itself as a classic in its genre. Now its 2003 and the adventure genre is sadly in decline, although the latest game in the Broken Sword series goes a long way to help revive adventure gaming.

The game sees the return of George and Nico, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Broken Sword series George is an American patent lawyer and Nico is a French newspaper journalist. Although the characters are complete opposites of each other, since the first two games they have managed to work together to solve ancient mysteries, discover plots and ultimately save the world.

The game starts off with the two characters in different parts of the world, George is on a trip to somewhere in the jungle to visit a client who claims he has developed a machine that can produce limitless energy. Nico on the other hand has been sent on a meeting by her newspaper and must meet up with a hacker who claims to have cracked an ancient code. When both characters reach their very different destinations both of their intended clients have been murdered and they soon realise that the deaths are connected and they are actually both on the same case.

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is essentially a revival of adventure gaming and as you would expect from the genre the game features an element of puzzle solving. Puzzles in Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon can be as simple as moving a piece of furniture to a specific spot to enable you to climb up and reach a higher level or as complicated as working out the security code for a safe. The environments themselves usually offer enough clues simply by pointing out anything interactive; the only trouble is working out what to use where which isn’t always obvious like in some games.

The characters in the game have a good number of moves available to them, apart from the obvious walking around they can run, creep, listen through doors, jump, climb and even pull of some Lara Croft style ledge shimmying and wall hugging. As you move through the environments action areas are marked by a star like animation that brings a host of options at your disposal. Coming up close to a door for instance gives players the option to look through the window, put an ear to the door and listen or simply open it.

One major problem I had with the gameplay is that sometimes it can be frustratingly difficult to get your character to interact with a specific object, especially if two are close to each other. In one part of the game I was stood near a desk which housed a computer and some files, the little star was showing up on both the computer and the files but I couldn’t get Nico to stop messing with that computer! The amount of times I tried to get her to focus on the files only for her to try the computer for he hundredth time was extremely annoying. Other than that the game plays well and is fairly easy to get to grips with and doesn’t require any serious learning curve.

There are numerous characters in the game that can usually be spoken to. The game features a relatively simple conversation system and once dialogue has been started players choose a number of subject matters from the pictures which appear in the conversation menu. It’s a good system and makes a change from choosing exactly what to say from a list of pre-written sentences.

The games controls are dotted around the keyboard that for me, was a little difficult to get used to, there are not many games that use this style anymore however once you get used to them they work well. Characters are moved by the arrow keys and action keys are mapped out in accordance with a little grid in the corner of the screen and vary with different situations.

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon boasts some great graphics, environments are nicely detailed and lighting and shadow effects are excellent. Areas in the game vary from dark and gloomy apartments, living streets and the jungle. The camera angles change quite regularly in the game although you have no control over it, it doesn’t present a problem.

The games music creates a moody and dramatic atmosphere that fits in with the game perfectly, as does the voice acting which is neither over done nor stale. Dialogue can be a little boring at times however, one conversation springs to mind that involved us having to sit and listen to some old woman drone on about her past career as a dancer, it had no relevance to the game and unfortunately, as far as I could tell these sequences cannot be skipped.

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is an intriguing story telling adventure game that manages to get players engrossed in the gameplay in the hope of working out what happens next. It’s a nicely designed game that achieves more or less everything it sets out to achieve and any fan of adventure games should definitely check it out.

Review Score: 7.6/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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