Broken Sword
The Sleeping Dragon

Format: PS2
Age Restrictions: 12+

Once again George Stobbart and Nico must join forces to save the world from an unspeakable evil. This time around their quest involves the mysterious Voynich Manuscript which has long thought to hold the secret to eternal youth. But can our heroes get to it before other interested parties who want to use the artefact for their own evil purposes?...

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon starts in the jungles of the Congo and goes on to encompass the back streets of Paris, Glastonbury and the castles of Prague. You start the game as George after his plane has crash landed in the Congo and it is up to you to save yourself and an injured pilot before finding your way back to civilisation. Meanwhile, in Paris, journalist Nico becomes entangled in a murder as she discovers that a scientist she was due to interview is dead.

The game sees you switching between Nico and George as the two separate storylines develop. Anyone familiar with the Broken Sword franchise will feel right at home, although gone is the cartoon feel to the graphics. The cursor aspect has also been replaced, so that instead of pointing and clicking at areas and items, you are more free to roam around your surroundings.

Those more at home playing beat 'em ups and Tomb Raider style games may find The Sleeping Dragon a little on the dull side. There is a little too much walking around, examining items and talking to people, and very little in the way of action. But, if you like your games to stimulate your mind a little more than normal, then this is worth a look.

The opening levels are simple, it's just a case of moving around until something appears on your screen to be examined (or allows you to climb onto, over or around it) and you should be able to rattle through this game fairly easily. What is frustrating is the bizarre logic that is present at times. There is a section of the game where you know you have to give a gypsy some silver coins and you know they are attached to a book you have been given, but it takes a while to realise that you need to use a metal bar(?!!?) to prise them from the book.

Another problem is that there are too many dull conversations that you must have with people in order to progress in the game. This is most annoying on the Glastonbury level, where you have to sit and talk to people for what seems like an eternity Also, you will find yourself having to head from one store to another in order to accomplish certain tasks, and the loading time between these sections is just too long.

The game looks good, and the storyline is engrossing, but this is hardly likely to appeal to anyone that didn't enjoy the previous games in the series.

Nick Smithson

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