The Da Vinci Code
- Release Date
The Da Vinci Code is a third person action and adventure game that is based on the book rather than the movie. The book has become an international bestseller with 80 million copes in 44 languages have been printed. It was first presented to the press at E3 2006 in LA. The aim of the game is to try and locate the Holy Grail and players are forced to gather clues and solve puzzles as well as successfully evade and defeat enemies. Lead artist David Robert Donatucci stated that development began in early 2005 with the game being release in May 2006.
Plot (Spoiler warning) The story starts with the horrible murder of Jacques Sauniere by Silas who is acting on orders from a figure known as The Teacher. His mission is to determine the location of the “keystone” which is a fabled artifact that would lead to the Holy Grail. The French police summon Robert Langdon, who is coincidentally giving a lecture there in Paris, to the scene to aid them in deciphering a strange numeric code that is left both next to and on the deceased’s body. The Captain of the Central Directorate Judicial Police, Bezu Fache, secretly believes that Langdon is the murderer.
Sophie Neveu soon arrives on the scene as the official police cryptographer and quickly befriends Langdon and gains his trust. Jacques Sauniere was actually Sophie’s grandfather who she was very close to, until she cut him out of her life. She shunned her grandfather after she discovered him practicing Hieros Gamos, which is a pagan sex ritual, at his home in Normandy when she paid him a surprise visit on a break from school.
Professor Langdon and agent Neveu find a confusing numeric cipher ner Sauniere’s body. These clues lead the two to another set of clues that involve the Mona Lisa. Behind the painting they find a key hidden with an address and symbols of the Priory of Sion written on it. They then work together to ditch police and as they flee the scene they figure out the secret of the key.
The key leads to a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. Saunieres account at the bank is the first eight digits of the Fibonacci series which are: 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21. This sequence works by adding the two numbers previous to receive the new number. So the next number would be 13 21=34.
Inside the safety deposit box they find the “keystone” which in reality is a large cryptex, a cylindrical device that was rumored to have been created by Leonardo Da Vinci for the transportation of secure messages. To open a cryptex the rotating components must be aligned in the correct order. If the user tries to force the cryptex to open then a vial of vinegar will shatter which will destroy the roll of papyrus which has the secret message on it. The cryptex was contained in a Rosewood box which when examined revealed clues on the cryptex’s solution, written in the backwards script that was made famous by Leonardo’s journals.
The instructions that were tortured out of Sauniere by Silas are actually a ploy to keep the grail safe. The ploy states that the keystone is actuall buried in the Church of Saint-Sulpice beneath a special obelisk. This obelisk lies on the rose line which was the former prime meridian when it passed through Paris. Beneath the obelisk however is a clue that references a passage in the book of Job which reads “Hitherto shalt thou go and no further”. When Silas sees this inscription he realizes he has been tricked.
While being pursued by the police, Langdon and Neveu hide out with Langdon’s close friend and grail historian Sir Leigh Teabing. They flee the country in Teabing’s private plane, and on the plane they figure out the second clue and open the Cryptex, but the large cryptex just contains a smaller cryptex with a riddle as the clue. The riddle says to seek the orb that should be on the tomb of “a knight a pope interred”. They discover that this refers not to a medieval night, but rather to the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton who was buried in Westminster Abbey, and was eulogized by Alexander Pope.
It is revealed that Teabing is the Teacher who tasked Silas with killing Jacques Sauniere and also was in possession of information regarding the identities of the Priory of Sion. He has bugged their offices and has had Silas assassinate them. Remy is his collaborator. Teabing, under an assumed name, was the one who contacted Bishop Aringarosa, and tricked him into financing the plan to find the grail. Teabing never intended to hand the grail over to Opus Dei but played on their desire to have possession of the grail. Teabing is obsessed fulfilling the Priory of Sion’s promise to reveal the secret of the grail. He plans on stealing grail documents and revealing them to the world and thereby destroying the church. It was Teabing that informed Silas that Sophie and Langdon were at his house. He refrained from seizing the Cryptex himself fore he did not want to reveal his identity. He summons Silas to seize the cryptex from Langdon but then aides them in defeating Silas and thereby gaining Langdon’s trust. Soon the police are raiding the house having followed the GPS device in the truck Langdon had stolen to escape from the bank. Teabing leads Neveu and Langdon to the Temple Church in London, even though he knows it’s a dead end. There he stages a hostage scene with Remy and thereby obtains the keyston without revealing the plot to Langdon and Neveu.
To erase all knowledge of his work Teabing murders Remy by serving him a glass of Cognac that has been laced with peanut powder, knowing full well Remy has a deadly allergy to peanuts. Thus Remy dies of anaphylactic shock and then Teabring anonymously informs police that Silas is in the hiding in the London headquarters of Opus Dei.
Teabing faces down Langdon and Neveu in Westminster Abbey, where Langdon secretly removes the contents of the second cryptex. Then in order to protect the contents he smashes the cryptex in front of Teabring who is subsequently arrested and begs Langdon to tell him the secret location of the grail.
Bezu Fache discovers that Neveu and Langdon are innocent after Bishop Aringarosa has an attack of conscience and confesses. Fache then cancels the warrants for the arrest of the pair.
While fleeing from police Silas mistakenly shoot Aringarosa outside of the London headquarters of Opus Dei. Realizing his terrible error and that he has been tricked, Aringarosa tells Bezu Fache to give the bearer bonds in his briefcase to the families of the murdered leaders of the Priory of Sion. Silas dies from his fatal wounds.
The final message inside of the smaller second keystone actually does not refer to Rosslyn chapel, although the Grail was buried there for a time. It was hidden below the Star of David on the floor which represented two interlocking triangles called the “blade” and the “chalice”, i.e. male and female symbols
The docent in Rosslyn Chapel is Sophie’s long lost brother. Sophie had been told as a child that he was killed with her parents and grandmother in a car accident.
The guardian of Russlyn Chapel, Marie Chauvel, is actually the long lost grandmother of Sophie and the wife of her grandfather Jacques Sauniere. She is the woman that Sophie witnessed having sex with her grandfather in the Opus Dei ritual. We then discover that Sophie is a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. The Priory hid her past from her so that she would be protected from threats in her life.
Even though all four of Priory of Sion’s leaders were killed, the secret lived on since there is a contingency plan which will be able to keep the secret and the organization alive.
The true meaning of the last message of the grail is that it is buried beneath the small pyramid, which represents the blade or male symbol, directly below the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre, which represents the chalice or female symbol. It also lies beneath the Rose Line which is similar to Rosslyn. Langdon figures out this final clue in story but he does not appear to tell anyone that he discovered it.
Robert Langdon – A professor at Harvard University, Robert Langdon teaches symbology. When brought to Jacques Sauniere’s body by the police, however his work put on hold and he is catapulted into a dangerous world of mystery and intrigue. Generally the player is playing as Professor Langdon.
Sophie – Sophie Neveu is a cryptographer for the French police, she is supposedly the granddaughter of Jacques Sauniere, though this is later disproved. She hurries to aid Langdon in the quest behind her grandfathers brutal murder. She accompanies the player through most of the game and provides useful hints and in some sections of the game are played through her point of view.
Leigh Teabring – Robert Langdon’s close friend and compatriot, Teabring is the world’s foremost scholar on all the things relating to the Holy Grail. Langdon and Sophie turn to Teabring when they are in trouble with the law in hopes that he can shelter them and help them with the grail. Teabring is actually the main antagonist of the story it is later discovered and he is arrested before he can learn the secret resting place of the Grail.
Silas – Silas was discovered to be a murderer at a very early age, he was finally caught by police and incarcerated. Once he was liberated from prison he was adopted by Manud Dei, Manuel Aringarosa. From this upbringing he had been given a new purpose in life and sets out to destroy the secret the Priory worked so hard to protect. He is one of the key enemies that players must try to outwit and escape.
Bezu Fache – Bezu Fache is a French policeman who stumbles upon the murdered body of Jaques Sauniere in the Grand art Gallery inside of the art museum Louvre. He initially suspect that Langdon is responsible for murder of Sauniere. He travels all the way to London trying to capture Robert and Sophie.
Jacques Sauniere – Jacques Sauniere is the seventy three year old man who was a member of the Priory of Sion. He was murdered by Silas inside of the Grand Art Gallery because he was to protect Sophie Neveu because she was the end of the blood line of Jesus Christ. In his last dying moments he started the epic quest that Sophie and Robert embark on to solve the “Da Vinci Code”
The game was not well received, it was criticized for poor implementation and the game play was buggy and unreliable. The BBC said that it was a “frustrating movie tie-in, with endless cut scenes and patchy game play. The vast majority of play involves aimlessly wandering around churches, art galleries and stately homes hoping to stumble across items of interest”. However it was praised for its intuitive puzzles and strong storyline, with the games soundtrack being praised by Jeff Hall of ScreenSounds as “a fine piece of contemporary action scoring” while the BBC claimed “the accompanying music lends a suitably ethereal atmosphere to proceedings”
The Secret of the Holy Grail
Leigh Teabing explains to Sophie Neveu that the figurie that is seated on the left side of Jesus is not the apostle John as long believed but is Mary Magdalene, who is the wife of Jesus. It is revealed that she was pregnant with his child when he was crucified. Teabing says that the fact that there are no chalices on the table that was painted by Leonardo in the last supper shows that he was aware that Mary was the actual Holy Grail carrying the bloodline of Christ. This position is supposedly supported by the body position of Jesus and Mary which forms the letter V which symbolizes the sacred feminine. He also shows how the colors of the their garments mirror each other and how that is another clue.
Reception of Book, Movie, Game
All of the iterations generated controversy due to the unorthodox views expressed in the book. Some of the first criticisms that surfaced were do to its inaccurate depiction of core aspects of Christianity, the history of the Catholic Church, and depictions of European art, history, and architecture. Many critics suggest that Brown should have done more extensive research before publishing it. The New York Times called it “based on a notorious hoax” since it is based on the fabrications of Pierre Plantard which include the Priory of Sion which did not exist until he created it in 1953. He has been arrested and convicted on similar frauds.
There have been 4 claims of plagiarism by Dan Brown with The Da Vinci Code and all but one have been found to be without merit and dismissed. One suit has not been heard but is expected to be dismissed and generally it is agreed that Mr Brown worked off of established legend.
Dan Brown has been the loudest defender of the accuracy of his work and says that it is up to the readers to form their own opinions on what is true but that “the secret behind The Da Vinci code was too well documented and significant for me to dismiss. In 2003 he claimed that “absolutely all of it” was true. Later in 2003 he said “99% is true…..the background is all true”. Recently he has avoided interviews and has been very circumspect about the accuracy of in his few public statements.
There was much outrage in the Christian quarters as well due to Brown’s portrayal of early Christians and his blatant disregard for tradition. Critics claim that Gnostic Christians did not portray Jesus as merely human. Some Gnostic texts do show Jesus interacting with his disciples in a wholly human way, one example being the Gospel of Mary. But other writers show him as a purely divine being. There was other criticisms because stating that Jesus was less than a form of God incarnate is very blasphemous to both Catholics and Protestants. Mr. Brown also heavily criticized the Catholic Church which they did not take well and responded with harsh rebukes of his book.
1.8GHz Pentium 4 / 1.8Ghz AMD Athlon or faster;
64MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card with T&L;
DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card;
6x DVD-ROM drive;
3GB hard drive space.