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Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: Revolution Software
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The third game in the Broken Sword line is out and it brings the genre out of the classic (and old-hat) point-and-click system. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is a beautiful, fully 3D adventure game with a deep story full of twists and myths.

The lighting of Broken Sword is an amazing sight as the sun spills in through windows in the morning causing the character's shadows to stretch across the floor and walls. The lighting and shadowing is more than just pasting a black shape on the floor or wall behind the character. The dark shadows gradually blend into the surrounding color making the shadows have a real-life feel to them. The character models and landscapes are also full of detail making each location a joy to explore, just to see what new graphical wonder you will see. And this high graphical power doesn't seem to slow down the framerate or cause choppy display problems.

The music is fair -- nothing really special, actually. As far as the voices are concerned, the acting is great, but the delivery is bad. The sound clips are choppy and stop short, making the conversations hard to follow at times and making you wonder if you missed some crucial bit of information that you need to get past some puzzle.


The Neo Templars are at it again, but this time they are under a new leader and he is using the cult to his own sadistic purposes. In Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon you once again will take control of George Stobbart, as well as his French reporter ex-girlfriend, Nicco Collard, as they go through their seemingly separate stories.

Without getting into too much detail that may ruin the story, the Neo Templars are trying to take control of the Earth's energy and use it for evil purposes. This energy lies on areas called Ley Lines (or Dragon Lines) and this energy is starting to peak. Our two heroes must stop the cult from destroying the world by solving various puzzles and never firing a gun.

The journey will take you around the world -- beginning in the Congo (George) and Paris (Nicco), and taking you to England and other areas around the globe. Throughout the game, you will pick up items and combine them with other things in your inventory in order to get past obstacles and puzzles that will block your path.

Even though Broken Sword draws from the last two games, it isn't necessary to have beaten (or even to have played) them before to enjoy the game. Though there are several areas where knowledge of the past games will help in your enjoyment of The Sleeping Dragon, it is not a requirement by any means.


There were a couple of times when I found myself stumped in Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, and when I found the solution, I had to kick myself for overlooking such an obvious situation (not realizing I could climb over a wall or overlooking some key object in a room). Overall, the game isn't hard if you are a veteran of the adventure genre. If you are unsure of what to do, there are times when you can make a call to Nicco's friend, Andre' Lobineau, and he will let you know what the next step is, but I never really ran into a time when that was needed.

Another feature that keeps Broken Sword from getting too difficult is that the game rewinds a bit whenever you make a wrong choice or don't do some action quickly enough.

Game Mechanics:

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon uses a unique-mouseless interface system and it takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you will find yourself navigating through the locations faster than your typical point-and-click adventures.

The arrow keys control the movement of George or Nicco, while your interface with the world is based on the W-S-A-D action buttons. Each button corresponds to one of four icons in the lower right corner of the screen. Like I said, it may take some getting used to, but when you get into the new scheme, you will wonder how you could ever stand the old point-and-click systems.

A lot of people criticized the development team for taking the series out of the cartoon-styled world, but the move has brought the genre and line into the next generation of gaming. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is a must buy for anyone who is a fan of adventure games, and for anyone who has played through the first two Broken Sword games.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP; Pentium III 750 MHz (Pentium III 1.2 GHz Recommended); 128 MB RAM; 8X CD-ROM; DirectX 8.1 compatible 64 MB GeForce2 or equivalent Video Card (GeForce4 Ti 4200 Recommended); DirectX 8.1 Compatible Sound Card (Sound Card with 5.1 Surround Sound Support Recommended); 1GB Hard Disk Space; Keyboard & Mouse/ Analog Controller; Speakers

Test System:

Toshiba Satellite series laptop; Windows XP Home Ed.; 2.0 GHz Celeron; 512 MB RAM; 24X DVD/CD ROM; 32 MB 3D accelerator.

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