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Broken Sword - The Sleeping Dragon Review
Sia 'Garrett' Manzari, 2004-01-23

6 years after their last adventure, the great finale in the Maya Temple in Broken Sword 2, George Stobbart and Nicole Collard are at last reunited in an adventure game, the third installment in the Broken Sword series (Baphoments Fluch in Germany). And for the first time, and as most of their fellow adventures games, this all happens in full 3D. And just like for example Monkey Island 4, Broken Sword 3 is controlled with the keyboard (or Joystick/Gamepad), but no mouse is supported. Still, Project Lead Charles Cecil promised us a revolutionary interface with everything that makes a point-and-click adventure. Read on to learn if he is right...

The new interface
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On the one hand, the new interface is very unusual, but on the other, it is really revolutionary. You control George or Nico with the arrow keys, where a new camera angle does not stop them moving, and no key needs to be repressed to keep them moving, i.e. you push the right-arrow key and George walks to the right and then the camera changes and the direction which was right is now down for example, but George still walks on, only down this time, even though you still press the right-arrow key (hard to explain really, but if you play it, it becomes pretty clear). If something falls into our George's or Nico's eyes, it is highlighted and up to 4 options for it are displayed. You can take, examine, combine, drop...

Overall, the controls work pretty well, after you got used to them, but sometimes it is a bit tricky too, as in some action sequences (which add a lot to the dynamics of the game), if you press the wrong direction key, you run straight into danger and most certainly death instead of away, or you miss the 1/10 of a second in which you can escape an otherwies lethal encounter. Fair enough, the game takes you right before this encounter or sequence if you failed, even if you haven't saved the game there and allows you to try again, and after 3 or 4 tries latest you succeed every sequence.

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The game is all in 3D, looks excellent, even though some textures look a bit blurry, but overall, it is very nice and atmospheric. The characters animations are greeat, especially George's and Nico's...espcedially Nico, you gotta fall in love with her really (where maybe ladies will like George more..can'T judge that really :-). Also, the voice actors are great, which brings us to the...

There one word which describes the sound of Broken Sword 3: Hollywood Standard! Speech is always lip synchronized, no matter what language of the game you're playing, the actors of Englich & German version are professional actors (Nico's German voice is for example the same as Scully's in X-Files) and effects are very pro as well. To makes things perfect, he music is state-of-the-art, Ben Mcollough should make the fourth Indianay Jones soundtrack as well.

As always great, very exciting and full of twists and turns! The Finale is a real great action sequence and there. I won't spoil anything story-related here, so I just move on to the...

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Here's the only point that doesn't convince me at 100%. Classical puzzles only make about 40% of the game, the rest is a little climbing and jumping (about 20%) and, about 40% pushing, pulling, stacking and climbing crates or large rocks. While this is fun at first, it becomes more and more repetitive towards the end and even though the complexitiy of the Sokoban puzzles increases, some more classical puzzles would have been a lot more appreciated!

A few other small glitches: Savegames are limited to 32 slots, but not sorted, so you have to scroll down to the latest savegame every time yo uwant to load a game. And I experinced a few crashes too. There were but no game stoppers or other heavy bugs.

Overall, the game was fun, told a great story and may really be a milestone for coming adventures and a new breed of interactive movies. For the next installment, I wish for a little longer playing time (this one I finished in only 11 hours) and some more classical puzzles (maybe a bit more challenging ones lso). Other than that, Broken Sword 3 was perfect! Congrats, Revolution!

More sceenshots in RPGDot's Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon Gallery

The Verdict
Graphics (15%) 90%
Sound (15%) 100%
Control (25%) 75%
Fun (45%) 90%
Overall 88%

The ups and downs:
Great storySome annoying action-puzzles
Best sound everSome crashes
Great Graphics
Quick loading times
Quick saving times

Reviewer's System
Version: Retail 1
CPU: Pentium IV 1.8 GHz
RAM: 512
Graphics GeForce III
Sound SV Live Platinum
OS: Win XP

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