Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror Info

genre

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players

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Publisher

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Developer

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Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Has anybody seen my gal?

Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror is the sequel to

Circle of Blood
and it shows its heritage well. You play the part of American

tourist George Stobbart. You have returned to Paris to meet your girlfriend, Nico,

as she shows a Mayan artifact to a Professor Obier. You are clubbed, and Nico

is drugged and taken away. You awaken, tied to a chair and left in a burning room

with a giant spider. Like the stereotypical villains that they are, they have

left without making sure that you are dead. Following the tradition of its predecessor,

Broken Sword relies on a well-worn plot line that most would call cliché.

The plots of Broken Sword

and Circle of Blood are very similar. In both, there

is a powerful artifact. The bad guys want the artifact. You and the love interest

(Nico) gallivant around the globe after the artifact. And of course, if you

fail, the world is doomed. This game bears a strong resemblance, as does its

predecessor, to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Indy is replaced

with George, Sophia is replaced by Nico, and the Nazi’s are replaced by Tezcatlipoca.

The plot feels like the designers played the Indiana Jones game and just changed

a few things around.

People who bought Circle of Blood will feel right

at home. They will also be relieved to hear that Revolution has fixed most of

the technical problems of Circle of Blood. I did not

experience a single crash in the total time I was playing. I was relieved that

Broken Sword did not insist on overwriting my graphics driver, or reinstalling

DirectX. The quality of the cutscene animations has also improved.

However, Broken Sword seems to have inherited the sound problems of

Circle of Blood. There was often a light reverberation

in the speech of characters, and occasionally a total loss of sound quality

for several seconds. Other than the occasional sound problem, Broken Sword

is technically solid. If the sound is giving you problems, you can always turn

on the subtitles.

My main gripe against Broken

Sword
is the puzzles. They are just too easy. Broken Sword seems

to rely too much on the ‘distract someone’ puzzles, and it still has too many

inventory puzzles that require only one or two objects, or which are too obvious.

This is not to say that the puzzles are bad, just generally too easy. There

is also very little danger in Broken Sword. Mostly, the only penalty

for failure is being unable to advance, not death. I was glad to see that Broken

sword relies less on the ‘get the key to the lock’ puzzle than on the ‘bypass

the lock’ type. However, the easiness of this game is exacerbated by the fact

that is very hard to misuse an object. The play value is further reduced by

the linearity of the game. You can’t go back to a previous location and there

is only one path the end. In Fate of Atlantis although there was one

ending, there were three paths to that ending. With all the designers borrowed

from the Indiana Jones game, it would have been nice if they borrowed the multi-path

design.

The humor found in Circle of Blood is carried over

to Broken Sword. Although the jokes can be a little silly, they are not

corny. Some of the humor can get a somewhat risqué at times. Although the puzzles

of Broken Sword are at a good level for a child to handle without too much trouble,

the dialogue makes this game more appropriate for the PG-13 crowd. If you liked

Circle of Blood, you will definitely like Broken

Sword
. However, I would only recommend this game to someone who would like

to try out an adventure game without too much challenge, or who really likes

the artifact-chasing, save-the-world type of adventure. For the more experienced

adventurer, I would recommend that you pass this one up.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4