Power on, eject, disc in tray, close and load. No more floppy disks, no more save-file corruption, no more dirty tricks. Just my Playstation and me. The music begins. Revolution Software presents – Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars.
The protagonist of the entire Broken Sword series, George Stobbart, an American lawyer, is enjoying his holiday in Paris, France, until a disgruntled looking clown spoils the day by blowing up a Parisian café. I hate that clown! Conceived in 1994 by Charles Cecil, Noirin Carmody and Sean Brennan, whilst talking about the mythology of the Knights Templar, the first three games of the Broken Sword series were developed by Revolution Software, whilst the fourth game was co-developed by Revolution and Sumo Digital. However, I wish to concentrate on the very first title, your introduction to a friendly yet cunning American, George, and his romantic French love interest, Nicole ‘Nico’ Collard.
Having met under extreme circumstances as the above aforementioned clown kills a man and steals his briefcase in the process, both George and Nico go into detective mode and try to discover who is responsible for the murder and the bomb, and while doing so, end up unraveling a conspiracy relating to the Knights Templar. Ooohhhhh scary…
Broken Sword was quite revolutionary, pardon the pun, taking the point and click adventure game to an unparallel realm, with award winning graphics and fantastic voice acting, unlike what you have played before.
Whilst other games continued along the same line, such as Grim Fandango, in this writer’s opinion, there hasn’t been a series of adventure games quite like the Broken Sword series. In fact, it was that good that they re-released a director’s cut and made it available to play on iPhone and Tablet devices. Shadow of the Templar received the ‘Best Adventure Game’ award in 1997 and ‘Best Quest’.
Tell a Tale
Taking the genre of adventure games even further and beyond the space time continuum, Telltale Games emerged. The studio includes designers formerly employed under the defunct Lucas Arts banner, their unique brand of adventure games, and features them in episodic format. Best known for their character creations Sam and Max, I personally wish to focus on something more recent.
Although Telltale hit it big with the Sam and Max franchise and their adaptations of Jurassic Park, Monkey Island and of course, Back to the Future, this writer’s life has been recently consumed by Telltale’s biggest success to date. I am talking about The Walking Dead, which sold more than one million copies within 20 days of its release and topped sales charts on Xbox Live, Playstation Network and Steam.
What’s is in your head, Zombie?
The Walking Dead: The Game is based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series rather than the AMC TV show. The game takes place shortly after the onset of the Zombie apocalypse in Georgia; you will be surprised, that most of the characters are actually original to the game, while you may recognize others that are from the comic, such as both Hershel and Shawn Green, and Glenn.
Unlike many other adventure game titles, this game does not emphasize on puzzles. What it does focus on is character development and relationships.
You actually feel real emotions for the people in the group you are in, as well as a young girl by the name of Clementine. You play as Lee Everett, convicted murderer on his way to the State Penitentiary, until the Sheriff’s car hits a walker on the interstate, causing the car to detour off road and crash. Lee is knocked unconscious and finds himself hours later in the crashed vehicle. The Sheriff’s body is on the ground a little way up from the crash site. Suddenly the officer starts moaning and groaning, now a zombie himself, and attacks Lee.
There are 5 episodes in Season 1, with a 6th episode coming soon called 400 days. Each episode contains five major points where the player must make a significant decision: choosing from one of two available options. While you can still complete the game with whatever choice you make, the game play and reactions from the group of survivors you end up with will change dramatically. Their attitudes towards you will either be positive or negative. Very much like a modern day ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.
Like with other Telltale titles, there are instances where you need to find something or talk to the certain people to progress to the next phase.
Without spoiling any of the major events in the game, I can tell you that you become very attached to certain survivors in the group and you can’t help but feel fatherly towards little Clementine. Many scene’s will shock traditional gamers, as well as some of the major plot points and storyline, however, you will find that this adventure game will truly immerse you into the world of The Walking Dead. Just make sure you don’t play it at night!
The Choice .
Although I have only mentioned a handful of adventure games across all three articles, these were the games that shaped and molded my childhood and have led to what adventure games mean to me today. From the humble beginnings of Maniac Mansion, to the now ever so impressive Walking Dead, adventure games have evolved. Is this a good thing? Maybe? Or maybe not? But as long as these games continue to produce entertaining storylines, interactive commentary, and immersive game play, they will always have a special place in my heart.
So, what is the best adventure game title across the decades of time? Well, it is so hard to pick just one, so I will leave it up to you to decide. Whatever choice you make, always remember your personal history with that game and what it has meant to you.