Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (known as Circle of Blood in the United States) is a point-and-click adventure computer game released to the PC on November 5, 1996. It was released on the PlayStation in December that same year and on the GBA March 19, 2002. It has also been ported to the Palm OS by Astraware, and re-released to the Wii, PC, Mac and Nintendo DS as a director's cut. It was followed by Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror.
The game is a traditional point-and-click adventure, where the player has to logically come up with answers and solutions to riddles and problems that he or she encounters during the course of the game.
Audio features of the game include recorded Foley and sound effects, orchestral music and recorded voices of voice actors. The game graphics are animated in a style which resembles classic animated films. The game was directed by Charles Cecil and the original score was composed by Barrington Pheloung.
The game features a cast of voice actors led by Rolf Saxon as George Stobbart.
Opening in the city of Paris, George Stobbart is enjoying his autumn vacation when he narrowly escapes an explosion outside a café. Following the clues left behind by the killer, who is dressed as a clown, George discovers there is something much larger and more dangerous going on that stretches back in time as far as the Knights Templar. Enlisting the help of a French journalist, Nicole Collard, they follow an intricate manuscript which points them in the direction of various locations around the world.
On March 21, 2009, Ubisoft released a special edition of Shadow of the Templars for the Wii and Nintendo DS. The special editions are extended versions of the original. Unlike in the original, players can play as Nico. The new features include new puzzles designed specifically for each platform. The Wii version is titled Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - The Director's Cut and features new character artwork during conversations and a new first person view for certain puzzles. Unlike the original game, the updated version also allows for multiple solutions to puzzles and a new co-operative mode for two players. A version for iPhone and iPod touch was released on January 20, 2010. A PC version was released on August 27, 2010 on various digital distribution services.
- GameSpot = 9.2/10
- Videogamer = 8/10
- Eurogamer = 7/10
- Adventure Classic Gaming = 5/5
PC Gamer US awarded the game a score of 80/100, and praised its "thrilling blend of quality puzzling, sumptuous graphics, and intelligent story line". The magazine criticized its voice acting, however; the reviewer said, "Although the actor portraying the main character does a good job, [...] many of the characters are so completely off the mark -- and, at times, so annoying -- that you’ll probably switch the text subtitles on and turn the speech off". The reviewer summarized it as "an entertaining game that may not blow everyone away, but if you’re a traditional adventure fan that yearns for the days of old, it’s an adventure you can rely on".
- Charles Cecil, Dave Gibbons (2009). Broken Sword: The Director's Cut First Look. IGN UK. Retrieved on 2009-02-23
- Anderson, Rebecca B. (October 3, 1996). Circle of Blood Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on August 7, 2010
- Wolf, Mike (January 1997). Circle of Blood. PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on December 5, 1999 Retrieved on April 14, 2010