Broken Sword (Circle of Blood)

29 December 1997

Copyright © 1997 Balmoral Software ( Portions copyright © 1996 Revolution Software Ltd. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software. Contents subject to change! For the latest information, see

Table of Contents


Broken Sword (or Circle of Blood as its U.S. release is known) is an engrossing third-person adventure based on a complex conspiracy involving various aspects of the Knights Templar legends. You play George Stobbart, an American tourist visiting Paris, who teams up with French photojournalist Nicole Collard to try and solve several intertwined murder mysteries. As in many mystery-solving adventure games, most of the information and evidence you come across is obtained through lengthy and dynamic conversations with a wealth of characters.

The game design makes at least some attempt at non-linearity, in which some of the side trips that you must make can be completed in any order. However, each individual area must often be solved by a specific step-by-step sequence, and several locations involve "one-way" doors through which you are unable to return to previously-visited areas until the local quests are completed. Other gameplay and dialog sequences must be thoroughly and sometimes repetitively completed before a trigger is found to open up new gameplay possibilities. As a result, the game doesn't always seem to play fair - for example, hotspots in one area sometimes don't show up until much later. On a few occasions, activities that seem to be logical (such as using coal dust to darken an object) are inexplicably disallowed. With dialog sequences as virtually the only source of information to the player, the game comes across as far too talky. Much of the game's plot seems illogical and contrived, concluding with a silly and anti-climactic endgame that is overly-long and drawn-out. Far too many timed-play sequences have been included for a game of this type, unfortunately always encountered without the benefit of an "undo" function and frequently without any real warning that would lead one to pre-emptively save the game.

The adventure's plot, while complex, remains consistent throughout gameplay and is apparently based to a large degree on factual historical data, adding an enjoyable educational element to the game. Light humor is sprinkled liberally throughout the dialog segments, mostly in George's comments but also in various forms of French sarcasm. Supposedly George's romantic interest, Nico comes across instead as someone who would have him for breakfast. She seems okay if you like snotty, opinionated French girls with short, greasy black hair, always dressed in the same ridiculous, shiny outfit. Certainly an occasional change of clothes would have made her seem a little more like a real person (and George too, of course).

Technically, the game maintains reasonably-high standards, with occasional sound effects coming across as realistic rather than overdone. Background music is nicely done, again mostly understated (and volume-controllable using the game's control panel). Graphic backgrounds are hand-drawn and are of very high quality in all respects of detail, color and shading. Character sprites are completely hand-animated, with about the same level of detail and quality as some of the better television cartoons. An intelligent cursor is used to control character interaction. A few spelling mistakes were seen in the on-screen text.

A fair amount of CD shuffling is required. One would have hoped for less after installing over 200 MB to the hard drive. It would have been nice to have some way of speeding up or skipping animation sequences (similar to the way the interminable dialog sequences can be "hurried along" by clicking the mouse). The mini-Breakout game is cute while waiting for installation files to be copied, but we would have preferred some sort of progress indicator.

With the exception of the main character (George), voice acting is abysmal, due mostly to atrocious accents in the many foreign characters encountered in the game (particularly the French ones). Many of the accents are obviously being spoken by the same actor. Straining at a bad approximation of a French accent, the actor portraying Sergeant Moue sounds like the Bruno Kirby character in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam! Horribly-contrived stereotypes about various nationalities seem to abound far past the point at which they are amusing.

In summary, if you can put up with inferior voice acting, Broken Sword/Circle of Blood is a reasonably-immersive traditional mystery/adventure game based on an interesting historical premise.


Press the spacebar to skip the long intro/credits sequence.
Press Esc for the game menu.
Dialog segments can be skipped by clicking the mouse.
Most dialog sequences mentioned in the walkthrough are the minimum required to advance the gameplay; background information is available by pursuing other dialog topics.
The game map shows an icon of George at his current location.


Pick up a newspaper from the base of the street lamp. Move forward to the street construction area and encounter the police. Talk to Inspector Rosso: The Inspector will give you his card. Talk to Nicole Collard, the photo-journalist: and get her phone number. Go forward to the street worker. Give the newspaper to the worker; he leaves to play the horses. Open the toolbox in the white tent and pick up a T-shaped tool. Return left and enter the alley at the extreme right. Use the tool to pry up the sewer grate in the pavement. Descend into the sewer and pick up a red ball (nose) on the walkway. Move toward the back of the sewer and pick up a tissue and a scrap of cloth.

Climb the ladder out of the sewer. Talk to the concierge in the red suit about any of the subjects; show him the Inspector's card and the scrap of green cloth, then ask him four times about the green jacket until he gives you the tailor's name and telephone number. Terminate the conversation and return to the street. Move to the right and use the map to go to the police station (Poste de police).

Use the telephone to call Nicole (no, she hasn't been painted with white stripes) and she invites you over. Exit the police station and head for Nicole's apartment (Rue Jarry). Ask the flower seller about Nicole and learn about her sticking door. Terminate the conversation and open the door in the center of the apartment building. Chat it up with Nicole, then show her the clown's nose from your inventory. She'll discover the name of a costume shop and will come up with its address. Give her the scrap of green cloth and she'll give you a photo of the killer in return. Terminate the conversation and move left to the map. Head for the costume shop (La risee du monde).

Show the dirty tissue to the proprietor and get a hand buzzer. Show him the photo and learn the killer's name: Khan. Return to the police station and use the telephone to call B. Todryk, the tailor. Mention the photo and learn Khan's hotel and room location. Leave the police station and head for the Hotel Ubu.

Enter the hotel lobby. Walk to the left and attempt to pick up a room key from the wall behind the counter. Walk back to the right and talk to the woman playing the piano - it's Mrs. Piermont from Beneath a Steel Sky! Thankfully, she's without her mutt this time:

Immediately pick up the key before the clerk returns from the back room. Go upstairs and use the key to open the first door on the right. Open the window and go out onto the ledge. Enter Moerlin's room through the window at upper right. Attempt to exit the room through the door and you'll almost run into Moerlin/Khan. After he changes clothes and leaves, go through the pockets of the green trousers on the bed and pick up an empty matchbook and a passcard.

Exit through the doorway and return downstairs to the hotel lobby. Show the passcard to the hotel clerk (wait for him to return if necessary). After he removes his earplugs (he apparently doesn't like Lady Piermont's piano-playing), he'll deny you access to the safe. Show the passcard to Lady Piermont and obtain Moerlin's manuscript from the safe.

If you try to leave the hotel with the manuscript, you'll end up sleeping with the fishes, so you'll have to find another way to get the manuscript back to Nicole's apartment. Go upstairs and use the room key to reopen the first door on the right. Go through the window and drop the manuscript into the alley below. Re-enter the room through the window and exit the hotel through the lobby. After you're searched by the thugs outside, pick up the manuscript from the alley at left and return to Nicole's (Nico's) apartment. After a poorly-narrated slideshow describing the history of the Knights Templar, talk to Nico about the manuscript and she'll give you the address of a museum. Terminate the conversation (twice) and exit left to the map. Head for the Musee Crune.

Enter the museum and examine the tripod in the cubical glass case in the center of the room to learn of its Irish origin. Exit the museum and move left to the map. Click on the Aeroport label and select Lochmarne in Ireland.


You won't be able to return to Paris until later. Enter MacDevitt's pub and talk to the heavyset, balding customer (O'Brien) at the bar: to learn the identity of an archeologist that was working at the nearby castle ruins: Professor Peagram. Talk to Sean Fitzgerald, the young man with glasses sitting alone at a table: Talk to Patrick Doyle, the other patron at the bar (dressed in a light-grey shirt): End the conversation with Doyle and pick up a green towel on the bar next to him when his arm is raised. Exit the bar and talk to Liam Maguire, the kid loitering outside the pub: Re-enter the pub and talk again to Sean Fitzgerald: whereupon Fitzgerald runs out of the pub. Leave the bar and find out from Maguire about Fitzgerald's abduction. End the conversation with Maguire and examine the now-uncovered electrical box next to the pub entrance. Re-enter the pub and talk to Old Ron, the sneezing customer in the corner. Terminate the conversation and wait for him to drop a curly piece of wire onto the table, then immediately pick it up. Talk to Mick Leary, the bartender/landlord: Use the curly piece of wire with the glass-washer's electrical plug in the wall outlet behind the bar. Go downstairs through the doorway behind the bar. In the cellar, raise the lever at center, unlocking the sidewalk coal-delivery hatch. Go back upstairs and exit the pub, then open the large grate in the sidewalk. After your encounter with Khan, return through the pub to the cellar. With the light streaming in from the open sidewalk hatch, it's now possible to see things in the cellar. After you pick up the flashlight and Peagram's gemstone and talk to Maguire, turn on the sink faucet and soak the green towel. Go back upstairs and exit the pub. Follow the pathway to the right of the pub and talk to Fitzgerald's uncle at the haycart: Climb the haystack, then insert the subway hatch tool into a chink in the castle wall next to George's left hand. Go over the wall into the castle courtyard. Attempt to descend the ladder in the background. As soon as you're knocked down by the goat, immediately click on the iron plowshare at far left, trapping the goat. Go down the ladder into the excavation. Pick up some plaster-of-paris from the bag on the table. Try to pick up the statue in front of the doorway, then pick it up again after it falls over. Dump the plaster into the hole left in the sand, then sprinkle the water from the towel over it. If the towel has dried out (and it almost always has), you'll have to return all the way back to the pub cellar to wet it again. Pick up the plaster impression and use it with the pattern of five holes to the left of the doorway. Go through the open portal. Back in Nico's apartment, you'll learn what happened in Ireland if you forgot to turn off the faucet in the pub cellar.


End the conversation with Nico, then return to the map and head for the police station. Talk to Sergeant Moue twice about Marquet (the guy in the white crewcut). End the conversation, exit the police station and head for the Hopital. Enter the hospital (Hagenmeyer Clinic) and talk to the receptionist: Terminate the conversation and proceed down the left-rear hallway. Behind the water cooler, unplug the worker's polishing machine. While he's busy plugging it back in, open the red door and don a white doctor's lab coat. Return through the right-rear hallway to the hospital foyer. Talk to the older man (Felix Hagenmeyer), then end the conversation and re-enter the hallway at left rear. In Ward J2, get a sphygmomanometer from Nurse Grendel. End the conversation with the blinking Croquet in Bed 2, then give the pressure gauge to Benoir. Move to the right of the screen, then talk to Benoir: While he's busy taking Eric Sopmarsh's blood pressure, move to the right of the screen and open the door next to the gendarme. Learn that Jacques Marquet has found the tripod. After a cut-scene involving a fake "Dr. Braille" who kills Marquet, you'll find yourself back in Nico's apartment once again. End the conversation with Nico, then head for Musee Crune. Enter the museum and terminate the conversation with the guard. Talk to Andre Lobineau (by the display cases): Wait until you're sure the guard is looking away from you, then open the window. When the guard moves to close it, simultaneously open the sarcophagus at right and enter it. Later, you'll be able to help foil the robbery of the tripod by pushing over the totem pole. Back in Nico's apartment, get the tripod from her, terminate the conversation and head for Montfaucon.

Talk to the juggler twice about juggling, enduring his really abrasive and exaggerated fake French accent. Talk to the sitting traffic cop about your red nose, then talk to the juggler again about juggling and obtain a red ball when he leaves. Use the grate tool to raise the sewer grate and descend below the street. Cross the bridge over the water and use the grate tool to scratch a hole in the rightmost of three archways. Operate the machinery inside the hole (twice). Turn the crank on the boat's windlass to get some slack in the chain, then pick up the hook and attach it to the door machinery. Operate the windlass crank to pull the door open. Enter the doorway.

Before entering the tunnel at lower right, examine the lit-up hole at upper center to eavesdrop on the "neo-Templar" conspirators. After an interminable dialog sequence full of ridiculous forced accents, eavesdrop once more to make sure the conspirators have left, then enter the tunnel at lower right. Put the tripod on the center pedestal and add the blue gemstone to it, spelling out the letters MARIB. Back in Nico's apartment, you'll find out that Marib is a town in Syria. Terminate the conversation with Nico and head for the Paris aeroport. Fly to Marib.


Pan to the right and go up the steps into the dark doorway. Give the matchbook to the carpet-seller to gain access to the stairway leading up to Club Alamut. Climb the stairs. Inside the club, try to open the closed door at right, then read the sign on it. Talk to Ultar about the sign on the door and learn that the bartender is missing a toilet brush. Go back down to the marketplace and right-click on Arto, the kebab-seller dressed in a Union Jack apron, to learn the whereabouts of the toilet brush. Talk to Arto once, then terminate the conversation. Pan left and talk to Nejo, the kid in the shop: Talk to Arto, delivering the phrase you learned from Nejo. Return to Nejo's area and talk to him, obtaining the toilet brush. Return to Club Alamut and give the toilet brush to the bartender. Use the keys he gives you to unlock the toilet door. Use the keys again to open the towel dispenser, then pick up the loop of towel inside. At this point, you can optionally pick up a flush chain from an odd three-piece toilet in the stall, but you won't need it to finish the game. Return to Nejo's area and you'll find him playing with the red ball. Move the black cat, then press the white button on the table (sometimes occluded by George). When the activity stops, you'll be able to pick up a broken statuette that has fallen to the ground. Apply the soggy tissue to the statuette, changing its appearance. Sell the statuette to Duane Henderson, the heavyset tourist wandering around the marketplace taking pictures. Return to Club Alamut once more and talk to Ultar: After an animated cut-scene, you'll arrive at Bull's Head Hill. Remove a branch from the gnarly tree and combine it with the remaining towel loop. Use the stick-towel in the circular opening leading downwards, then use it to descend to the ledge below. Find an opening in the rock that you can examine; pull the metal ring inside to open a secret door. Enter the passageway and search Klausner's corpse, obtaining a lens. Re-examine the corpse, then look at the statue on the wall above it. Examine the stone map of Britain on the wall at far left, then encounter Khan and talk to him: Immediately use the palm buzzer in your inventory on Khan, then quickly jump off the ledge to the left. Back in Nico's apartment, terminate the conversation and return to the museum. Talk to Andre Lobineau: Exit the museum and head for the Paris aeroport. Go to Villa De Vasconcellos.


Move to the extreme left and apply the pressure gauge to the hose where it enters the building. Enter the house and go down the hall to the half-open blue doorway, disturbing the dogs. Hide behind the suit of armor until the gardener leaves, then go up the stairs to meet the countess (note the shield and lances on her wall, similar to those seen in the Musee Crune): Inside the mausoleum, remove the bible on the lectern to disclose a checkerboard pattern. Examine the checkerboard, then talk to the countess: The game now offers its only abstract puzzle, one that is fairly easy to solve. The objective of the Knights Templar chess puzzle is to arrange the white pieces in the center file of a 5 x 5 board in such a way as to checkmate the red king at upper left without putting the white king itself in check. The red piece at upper right consisting of dual shrouded figures can be ignored; other pieces represent rooks, knights, bishops and the red queen. A solution to this puzzle is:


Back in Nico's apartment, terminate the conversation and head for the church behind Montfaucon. Give the chalice to the priest and allow him to polish it. Right-click on the statue behind the priest, then insert the lens into the scroll in the statue's left hand. Retrieve the chalice from the priest, then examine the right-hand wall tomb to learn of Don Carlos' final resting place. Return to the museum and talk to Andre about the three-headed (Baphomet) statue. Leave the museum and head for Site de Baphomet.

Pass through the gate at right. Try to open the locked door at right, then talk to the guard and obtain the toilet key from him. Use the key to unlock the door to the toilet. Examine the sink, then pick up a bar of soap from the sink and use it to make an impression of the guard's key. Use the plaster with the bar of soap, then wet it in the sink to create a plaster reproduction of the excavation key. Exit the toilet and give the keys back to the guard. Go back up to street level and use the plaster key with the pot of paint next to the workman. Go back downstairs and use the telephone to call Nico. Go back upstairs and tell the painter he has a telephone call. After he leaves, use the plaster key in the paint pot and return downstairs.

Talk to the guard about the toilet again. Unlock the toilet door with his keys, then use the plaster key with the keyring. Exit the toilet and right-click the thermostat dial on the left wall. Talk to the guard about the thermostat, then turn off the thermostat. When the guard dons a pair of gloves, he won't be able to detect the fake excavation key. Return the keyring to the guard and phone Nico again. After the guard becomes engrossed in an argument with the painter, you'll return downstairs and be able to use the key to unlock the excavation door at left. Use the polished chalice on the floor design in front of the Baphomet statue to see an image of a church with a square tower. Back in Nico's apartment, terminate the conversation and return to Villa De Vasconcellos in Spain.


Enter the house and pick up a mirror above the hose faucet. Go upstairs and talk to the countess about herself. Leave the house and enter the mausoleum in the right background (George seems immune to hose spray). Pick up the bible from the lectern. Use the long stick to the right of the lectern to close the upper-left window. Attach the soggy tissue to the long stick, then ignite it by clicking on the left-hand lit candle. Click on the large candle suspended at the center of the mausoleum. Eventually, a stone key will drop out of the melted candle. Return to the front lawn and talk to Lopez about the chalice. Enter the house and talk to the countess: Exit the house and talk to Lopez: Move to the left side of the house and pick up a Y-shaped hazel branch from the bush in front of the window containing the water hose. Show the stick to Lopez. Much later, you'll find a water-filled tin can with the divining rod, but Lopez will accidentally find the true well location. Inside the well, examine the lion's head at right. Touch its loose fang, then immediately move to the left to avoid being crushed by the stone face of the lion. Use the mirror with the shaft of sunlight entering the well to illuminate the darkened doorway. Use the stone key to open the darkened door and move inside.


After a lot of dialog in Nico's apartment, you'll be able to head for Bannockburn in Scotland. Attempt to leave the train compartment. After the conductor checks your tickets, exit the compartment and walk as far as possible to the left until you run into Guido. Enter Nico's compartment at the far right of the other car to confirm that it's empty. Exit the compartment again and talk to the sports fan wearing a striped shirt in the adjacent compartment: Open the compartment's window and climb up. On top of the train, move to the right and enter the baggage car using the door next to the ladder. Immediately pull the brake cord at left, then listen with astonishment as George offers to join forces with the dying murderer, Khan. Exit the baggage car (twice) through the left-hand doorway.

Enter the church tower and investigate the heap of stones beneath the window for an old clay pipe, a metal coin, a cog/spindle and, if desired, a pen cap. Only the cog/spindle is of interest - the rest of the items are unnecessary. Turn the light-brown crank on the large wheel arrangement to the right of the window. After the handle comes off, remove another small cog/spindle from the apparatus. Put both cog/spindle units into the eye sockets of the demon statue at Nico's left. Insert the handle into the demon's mouth to open the door Nico is standing in front of. Enter the interior.

Follow the passageway to the right and watch the long game climax, learning of Inspector Rosso's involvement. As soon as you return to find Guido blocking your exit, immediately grab the torch on the wall next to you. Inexplicably, the villains don't think of escaping as George and Nico do. To skip the game credits, press the spacebar.

Table of Contents


Copyright © 1997 Balmoral Software ( Portions copyright © 1996 Revolution Software Ltd. All rights reserved. Republication, redistribution or conversion is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Balmoral Software. Contents subject to change! For the latest information, see