Broken Sword: The Shadow Of The Templars (Game) / Barrington Pheloung – Broken Sword Original Soundtrack (1996)

I initially decided I would split out the game review and OST review for this one (like I’ve done with some games and not others – we value consistency here at Lines In Wax) but honestly, the two elements are so completely interwoven and linked, to separate them is alien.

Broken Sword was one of my favourite games as a kid. Granted, I was far too young to really understand the plot and also far too young to be any good at it, instead getting places purely out of sheer luck and process of elimination. However, in recent “adult” replays (I think the most recent being 2009), I can confirm that Broken Sword (and its first sequel) are two of the greatest games ever made. Note: fuck the Director’s Cut, which retcons a bunch of shit, adds a bunch of unnecessary extra scenes, and a ton of absolutely shite puzzles. Put that shit in the sea, next to the 1996 Lucas Star Wars re-tweaks.

There is just something so special about Broken Sword. I don’t know how or why, but Charles Cecil and his devs blew the PlayStation apart, making a game that was long, detailed and absolutely dripping from every pore with mood and atmosphere. When I finally went to Paris, imagine how disappointed I was to find it wasn’t like the Paris in Broken Sword.

Broken Sword romanticised our dark and miserable real world, in a pre-internet age where beauty could be found in the little moments (yeah, the ones you now fill with pointless scrolling on your smartphone). It’s plot, honestly, doesn’t matter all that much to me (even though I enjoy it), because the locations, characters and dialogue are so perfect, I’m happy to just be here.

And that leads us to Barrington’s incredible soundtrack. It’s very low key, yet utterly unique. You know instantly, no matter at which point you could randomly select in its total run time, and instantly know, this is the Broken Sword soundtrack. The musical cues, little flourishes and sparks of emotion through a minimal yet classically composed score, are honestly to die for.

I think I’ve gushed enough. If you’ve never played this game, I implore you to do so, even today, in 2021. I hope that when I close my eyes for the last time, the piano music from the Hotel Ubu plays me out.