Touché!: Historicity

One thing really distinguishes Touché! from the likes of Ankh and Monkey Island: it’s set in real places, at a specific point of history.

I don’t want to overstate this. It’s still inspired primarily by The Three Musketeers, a work of fiction, and on top of that, it’s basically a cartoon. There are blatant anachronisms for humorous effect, and also less obvious ones: the game is supposed to take place in 1562, about 60 years before Musketeers were a thing. (The novel starts in 1625. Nonetheless, D’artagnan appears as a minor NPC in the game.)

But 1562, it seems to me, was chosen for a specific reason. That’s when the long-standing hostility between the Catholics and the Huguenots erupted into open war.

Conflict between Catholics and Protestants is constantly in the background of this adventure, from the musketeers in Rouen making preparations to go fight the English and their “protestant scum” allies at Le Havre, to the manned roadblock on the road to Burgundy to keep people from joining the rebels. And, as a defender of the French monarchy, the player character’s perspective is very firmly on the Catholic side. Of the four cities I’ve seen, two feature cathedrals you can visit, and one a monastery. Geoffroi takes a moment to praise the inspirational beauty of the Rouen cathedral’s architecture. And yet, Geoffroi is basically untouched by the conflict! For all that he’s technically a soldier, war seems to be other people’s concern; the musketeers apparently mobilize while he’s off on other errands. His chief concern is pursuing an assassin who was seen paying people with Spanish silver, and Spain was hardly Protestant at this time.

I’m not very familiar with The Three Musketeers — I’ve seen one film adaptation, and that’s it. But I do remember that the main villain was a Cardinal, who was trying to engineer a war with England. So on the surface, this game seems like something of a reversal of that, with its pro-church attitude and view of war as constant and inevitable. But I’ve seen a couple mentions of a “Cardinal de Guise”, which seems like an obvious person to step into the Richelieu role. This game does like its pun names.


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