Broken Sword: The Angel of Death




Genre:   Adventure

Developer:     Revolution Software, Sumo Digital

Publisher:    THQ Inc.

Released:  September 2006

PC Requirements:   Windows XP, Pentium 1.5 GHz, 512MB RAM, 128MB DirectX 9.0 compatible graphics card, PC DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster compatible sound card, Keyboard, Mouse

Walkthrough  Walkthrough  Walkthrough





by gremlin


What is it?

Broken Sword: The Angel of Death is the fourth Broken Sword game, all of which have been designed by Charles Cecil, luminary of many classic games, of which the Broken Sword series forms only part. Of course, George Stobbart is still the main protagonist, though this time he has a new flame, Anna Maria. What of Nico Collard? Well, without wanting to actually spoil the story, she does have her part to play, and it’s not insignificant.

Is there a plot?

It’s a Broken Sword game, so let’s take a guess. What do you expect the plot to be about? The Aztecs? Hi-tech space exploration? Egyptian Pharaohs…close. Nope, it’s The Knights Templar of course.

Okay, a little more detail: George is down on his luck – he’s running a bail bond agency in a really seedy part of New York. An unusually attractive young client arrives desperate for his help, but not in making bail for some disreputable brother or other, but in tracking down some stolen property. At which point the Mafia gets involved, and George and Anna Maria (said young client) are immediately on the run. Their travels take them back and forth across the Atlantic, and finish in Rome, where a grand conspiracy, revolving around the history and persecution of the aforementioned Knights Templar, reaches its potentially fatal climax.

How do you play?

This game marks a return to conventional point-n-click after the keyboard controls of Broken Sword 3. The entire game can be played with a two-button mouse: left click for walk and interact, right click for a menu of possible actions other than the default one at a particular location. There are occasions where the alternative keyboard controls are handy – moving George or Nico (when it’s her turn) around is easier for me that way. However, as us geeks are fond of saying, “…your mileage may vary.”

The inventory is in the form of a scrolling ribbon across the top of the page, and you access it by simply moving the mouse to the top of the screen. This is rather annoying if you actually want to click on something towards the top of the screen, as the inventory can obscure things. However, in terms of ease of access when you actually want something from the inventory, it is one of the easiest solutions I’ve come across.

Some inventory items can be combined, though there are only a handful of times where this is required to solve a puzzle. Left clicking an item will allow you to ‘use’ that item with the next thing you click, be that another inventory item, or something in the main scene.

The cursor has a couple of different shapes which give you clues as to what things in the world can be used -- though it was pleasing to find some things that were just there for colour. The changes between cursor shapes are clear and swift, so over-small hotspots are rare. Watch out for the fact that only the default action will show up as you mouse around the screen, though; there are many times when it is a good idea to check if a right click on a hotspot will offer alternative actions.

The game is presented almost entirely in 3D, and although you can’t control the camera (your view-point), the camera positions are well chosen, and the transitions between cameras are generally smooth and well-placed. It’s hard to get George out of your sight. Whether this is a good or bad thing, I’ll leave you to decide.

Talking to the other characters is an essential part of this game, and the conversation tree is handled from a pop-up bar at the bottom of the screen. The obligatory (and rather useful) subtitle option is available through the Options screen if you have any difficulty with accented speech. Characters originate from the USA, Italy, France, Ireland, Turkey, and the U.K., so a variety of accents are to be expected. I must mention at this point that the voice acting of all the characters was good throughout.

There are a number of places in the story where the wrong choice will kill you. However, the game will restart immediately from a point where it is possible to avoid said wrong choice. With unlimited saves available at almost any point, having death as an outcome to an action isn’t much of an obstacle.

Notable Features

A minor feature in this game, that I certainly appreciate, is the ability to access the full Options screens (with the usual Video, Audio and Controls sub-screens) from within the game itself. Pressing Esc will bring up the Resume, Save, Load, Options and Exit screen. Even screen resolution changes can be made without the game having to restart before taking effect. Furthermore, you can switch the game from full screen to windowed mode at the same time, though I found that windowed mode is somewhat more jerky than full screen, even at a lower resolution.

These days, a commonplace item in the adventure detective’s armoury is the PDA (personal digital assistant). In George’s case (and Nico’s when she borrows the device for a period), the PDA is a phone, a notebook, a web browser and a network hacking device. The game doesn’t make much use of the phone, but the notebook/browser and the hacking device are important tools. When George or Nico need to access a secure computer system (there are several times when this is necessary), they use a kind of mini-game where the object is to get a light signal from a source to a destination using mirrors and splitters, whilst avoiding traps and hard obstacles. It’s a game I’ve seen out on the Internet that’s fun in its own right, and it adds a rewarding logical challenge that’s novel in the context of a game. Other puzzle types in the game include various combination locks, small mazes, stealth, deception, and inventory puzzles.

Two particular sequences of puzzles are based on parchments with clues on them. Thankfully it is almost always easy to access the parchments to get at the clues, so you’re not left thinking, “Oh, I wish I’d written out what that parchment says in my notes.” Actually, I found there was very little need for note taking at all, as George acts largely as his own notebook. This is just as well, because a down-side to the control mechanism of the two-button mouse is that it doesn’t really allow for much in the way of fine-grained choices in actions. If you click on the safe, what’s the game to do? Lift it up? Turn it around? Or should George climb on top of the safe? These are made-up examples, and the game mostly counters this because you usually know what George is going to do when you click on an object. However, there are some surprises that I won’t detail, for fear of spoiling some puzzles.

Any other novelties? 

Well, this bit is new to me: I don’t think I’ve ever come across a main character in a game that I liked less than George Stobbart. Sorry folks. I know that a lot of people think he’s wonderful, but I didn’t enjoy him at all. At turns smug, naïve, thick, and just plain insensitive. Nico, on the other hand, is sarcastic, but more tag-along accessory than the wannabe Lara Croft pin-up that the developers seem to want her to be. The only character I liked in the entire game was Archie, the hobo in Rome! Everyone else was either a cliché or a cardboard cutout.


Given the overall technical quality of this title, I was disappointed to experience a few crashes to the desktop. This is not particularly bad over the many hours of play, but still, it’s a case of ‘could do better.’

The most annoying feature of Broken Sword: The Angel of Death was that there is no way to skip long dialog lines. This may be all very well if you’re hearing a line for the first time, but it’s extremely annoying if you repeat a conversation, or if you’re repeating a section on reloading a save game. Not to mention how annoying it is to be a fast reader of subtitles and not be able to make the actors keep up!

However, the biggest oddity of all regarding this game is that the promotion of it by THQ appears to have been low-key to say the least. Just a month after game launch, and can I find mention of it on THQ's home-page? In the game finder? No. It gets worse. Type ‘broken sword’ into the search box on their homepage and the only game it brings up is...wait for it…Lego Knights' Kingdom! No wonder people think adventure games often don’t sell well, if the publishers can’t even be bothered to publicize them on their own website!

The developers, Sumo Digital, and Revolution Games (Charles Cecil’s people) are rather better of course, and Revolution Games provide a helpful hints page, where the answers to frequently asked questions are revealed in stages.


This is the first Broken Sword game I’ve played from end to end, though I did play Broken Sword 3 (The Sleeping Dragon) up until the turgid Glastonbury section. Whilst I found that the puzzle solutions in Angel of Death were more logical than in The Sleeping Dragon, I found that I was struggling to find the will to complete the game towards the end. This was mostly down to the seeming obsession in the plot with the attractiveness of George to others. And as for Monatomic Gold and the Knights Templar? Well, no more for me, thanks.

Finally, the grade. I don’t know. I really don’t know. Would an A grade be appropriate?  As far as I am concerned, not having played the last three Broken Sword games completely, this game is ‘just another point-n-click adventure.’  If it weren’t for George and Nico and the Broken Sword moniker, would the game really get the coverage?  I suspect not, because it is not, as an A grade would suggest, groundbreaking nor a fascinating contribution to the genre.

Perhaps a B+ would be appropriate – the game is professionally produced, with high production values, a few nice features, but it is lacking the sparkle that marks say, an A- (a top rate game with lots of new ideas, but some flaws), an A (no flaws), or an A+ (a completely genre-redefining game, like The Longest Journey).

So, this is a well-built game, with very few technical issues. It kept me occupied for quite some time without managing to frustrate me with completely impenetrable puzzles, whilst at the same time, it simply failed to sparkle. It’s one I won’t play again.  I think I’ll go for the B+.

What do you need to play it?

Minimum Requirements

         Windows(R) XP

         DirectX 9.0c (included)

         Pentium 4 1.4GHz (or better)

         256 MB RAM (512MB recommended)

         2.6 GB free hard drive space

         2x DVD-ROM Drive

         DirectX 9.0 compatible 128 MB Shader model 1.1 compatible video card

         DirectX 9.0 compatible Windows compatible sound card

         Keyboard, Mouse

(I used a custom built Win XP Pro SP2, AMD Athlon 64 3500+, 1024 MB RAM, and nVidia GeForce 6600GT 256MB)


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