The first 'Broken Sword' adventure game, 'The Shadow of the Templars', was released on Sep. 30th, 1996 in Europe. The North American version was titled 'Circle of Blood' and came out a week later. It was also released on PlayStation PAL format the following month, PlayStation NTSC format in 1998, and in 2002, a GameBoy Advance edition was unveiled.
The story begins when George Stobbart, on vacation in Paris, narrowly escapes from a cafe bombing. He enlists the help of a journalist, Nicol Collard, and together they travel across five countries (France, Ireland, Syria, Spain, and Scotland) to unravel the mysteries behind and culprits behind the bombing.
Broken Sword first made its appearance on the console with the PlayStation (PAL format first) in December 1996. Though it kept true to the story and gameplay, it was criticized for its controls; using analog controls to emulate mouse movements on screen can be quite a pain.
This second installed of the 'Broken Sword' series was launched in Europe and North America on Oct. 31st, 1997, with a PlayStation version the following month. The proper European title is has 'II' in it, while the US version is simply called Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror. Different countries also had different translations for the title; France (The Shields of Quetzalcoatl), Germany (The Mirror of Darkness), Italy (The Prophecy of the Mayans), and Spain (The Forces of Evil).
The game opens with George Stobbart witnessing the kidnapping of his now girlfriend Nico Collard. It is up to George to break Nico out, and uncover a secret drug ring that relates to the redemption of a sinister god.
Broken Sword series fans got a treat in March 2002 when the original game was nicely ported to the handheld GameBoy Advance. The graphic-novel look, the puzzles, the locations, the storyline, even the soundtrack was true to the original - only the controls and interface were adjusted.
Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, released in 2003, is the third game in the Broken Sword series. At the start of the game, George and Nico are no longer together, having separated between this game and its predecessor. However, as the game progresses, George and Nico realize that they are uncovering the same mystery, and begin working together again to stop the evil that threatens the world.
The game departs from the traditional 2D point-and-click and takes on more of a 3D environment, but with a fixed camera point of view. Locations this time around are Paris, Glastonbury, Congo, Prague and Cairo.
Despites it's rich graphics and typically great 'Broken Sword' storyline, this game loses its adventure game charm by dropping mouse support. Using keys to both move and interact with the environment is rather clumsy on the PC, and as such, feels more like a console port.
The PAL Xbox and PS2 versions were launched the same day as the PC version. The mouse-driven point-and-click interface was removed from the PC version to better suit gameplay of the consoles, by relying only on movement keys and action keys.
A GameCube version was also planned, but was canceled before launch.
Released on Sept. 16th, 2006 in Europe, 'The Angel of Death' is the fourth title in the Broken Sword series. Like 'The Sleeping Dragon', this title uses 3D graphics, but thankfully restores mouse point-and-click interface (though keyboard interface from Sleeping Dragon is also possible).
Sleeping Dragon's gameplay was altered specifically for the console market, yet the PC version far outsold the console versions (70% vs 30%). As a result, all console versions of this fourth installment were shelved.
Since the events of the third game, George Stobbart has hit an incredible low in his life. He can no longer find decent work as a patent lawyer, and so he now works as a bail bonds clerk. When a mysterious woman, Anna Maria, enters George's life, he is thrown into another adventure.