It might have started out as a "mad suggestion", but the GameBoy Advance version of Revolution's best-selling adventure game Broken Sword : Shadow Of The Templars is now nearing completion up in the wilds of Yorkshire. And very tasty it's looking too.
Shadow Of The Templars is a painstakingly faithful port of the original PC version, with all of the game's locations, puzzles and characters present and correct. Once again you step into the shoes of American tourist George Stobbart, who finds himself caught up in a police investigation after witnessing a clown setting off a bomb outside a café in Paris. No, really. Before long you will be drawn into a search for the legendary treasure of the Knights Templar, visiting everywhere from Scotland to Syria along the way. George Stobbart is clearly a man who likes to collect Air Miles. These exotic locations are brought to life with some of the most eye-catching graphics we've seen to date on the GameBoy Advance. Thanks to extensive use of data compression the developers have managed to cram the entire PC game on to a GBA cart, from almost pixel perfect conversions of the original graphics right down to a reworked version of the soundtrack. Character animations are impressively smooth and the hand painted backdrops are colourful and intricately detailed, while Revolution have worked with composer Barrington Pheloung (of Inspector Morse fame) to convert the musical highlights of his Broken Sword score over to the GBA.
Hide And Seek
As in any good adventure game you will spend a lot of your time wandering around searching for useful items and chatting with any suspicious looking characters who you find lurking around. Indeed, our biggest worry when the GBA version of Broken Sword was first announced was that the handheld's small and notoriously dark screen would leave players squinting to identify any "hot spots" they could click on. The good news then is that Revolution have completely revamped the control system to suit the small screen and D-Pad of the GameBoy, coming up with something which they claim is even better than the original PC interface. Anything which the player can pick up or otherwise interact with is now highlighted as you walk nearby, while a new menu system allows you to view a list of objects which you can fiddle around with. All of which should make things a lot less tedious and do away with the usual adventure game annoyance of wafting a cursor around the screen, watching for the icon to change as it passes over some tiny hidden switch. The only real question mark hanging over the game is whether it's worth shelling out Ł30 for it when you can still pick up the original PC version from Sold Out for under a fiver. Apart from the improved interface the GBA port will apparently include some exclusive "easter eggs" to uncover, but if you don't mind being limited to playing at home you're probably better off hunting down the PC version. If you want an adventure game on the move though, Broken Sword is pretty much your only choice at the moment, and if the conversion process has gone as smoothly as it appears to have done then Revolution should be on to a winner.