Circle of Blood
Preview by Al Giovett, 11/15/96i
Price: $54.95-$64.95
Genre: animated graphic adventure
Release: August 1996
Developer: Revolution Software Limited
Producer: Chris Dudas
Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Phone: (714) 833-8710
Requirements: Windows 95 and Macintosh

History: Several years back an animator left Disney Studios over artistic differences with then studio head, Walts son-in-law, Ron Miller. Don Bluth was not just any animator, he had been trained by the heir apparent to the master Walt Disney, directing animator Wolly Reitherman. Before he left Don worked on the rescuers, a style of animation that can still be seen in his work.

After leaving Disney, Don Bluth formed his own studios which have been responsible for many films, such as The Secret of Nimh, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and animation for the coin op and later computer and console versions of Dragons Lair and Space Ace. The animators who worked on Circle of Blood were the same animators trained by Don Bluth to work on Disney quality animated feature films. This is why Circle of Blood, called Broken Sword in some parts of the world, interests me and should interest you.

Plot: An American in Paris, handsome and dashing, George Stobbard is having a cup of cafe one the sidewalk outside a Parisian cafe. A peaceful scene is transformed into one of chaos as an accordion playing clown (No, it is not Weird Al Yankovic on a rampage. - Ed.) ruthlessly kill a man and steal a priceless medieval manuscript that he is carrying.

The clown was not satisfied with killing the man, and moments later the cafe explodes (No not the one in the cup. - Ed.). You know that you must identify the clown killer, recover the manuscript, and save the world before you go home to the U. S. of A. Soon you find yourself embroiled in an adventure that involves the Knights Templar and their mystical secrets, and resembles Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade right down to exploring the sewers (Complete with little and big rats. -Ed.).

The Knights Templar were an elite military group and religious order who were founded during the Crusades to protect European and Papal influence in Jerusalem and the Middle East. A group is plotting to use the ancient source of power of the Templars to enslave the world under their iron fist rule.

Interface: In the past most of the problems with Don Bluths computer, console, and coon-op games was the interface, which you either loved or loved to hate. The controls were unforgiving imprecise timed events that required you to act on a schedule or return later to repeat the scene over and over again. Hopefully the new interface is easy-to-use and intuitive as the press release claims.

Graphics and animation: The graphics and animation used for characters and background is traditional two dimensional with the use of a muliplane camera technique to create depth. These are not your normal animation and background drawings, they are highly sophisticated and precise artistic creations. The history of the art used has been at the forefront of animation since Disneys Snow White was released in 1937.

Voice actors:

Musical score: An original series of compositions by highly acclaimed music composer Barrington Pheloung (Nostradamus and Truly, Madly, Deeply) are being created for the game.

Sound effects:

Multiplayer: The game is designed as a single player game, but would be well suited as a family experience in front of one of the new wide screen digital computer and television displays in the living room or huddled around a 17 inch monitor on the computer in the computer room.

Future plans: Tony Warriner, a spokes person at Revolution, the developers, has informed us that tThe game has already been released in France as "Les Chevaliers de Baphomet" and Germany as "Baphomets Fluch." "The US version, called 'Circle of Blood', will follow very shortly. Other dedicated languages including Spanish, Italian and Czech will follow soon. Macintosh and Playstation versions are planned for November release. We'll be supporting the game on our web site with technical info and hints and tips, etc. Virgin Interactive will also offer a full support service. For the lastest review quotes and downloads, including a running demo file, checkout our Broken Sword page. It's been a long time since Beneath a Steel Sky; thanks for your patience!" Tony Warriner

Cindy Yans, Camputer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 68.