Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
The 2015 re-release of
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is an FMV game which uses filmed
footage of live actors. Though it uses a point and click interface,
gameplay is somewhat different from most point and click adventure
games, and described later in this review.
The version being reviewed is the
June 2015 revamp, currently available for digital download from Steam
and through a Humble widget on the developer's website. I used the
Humble version of the game for the review. This ran smoothly without
bugs or glitches throughout all three “cases” provided in this release.
The three cases are The Case of the mummy’s Curse, The Case of
the Tin Soldier, and The Curse of the Mystified Murderess.
These three cases are separate downloads which can be installed and
played one at a time in any order. I completed the trio of cases in
about five hours.
An early version of the game was
released for MS-DOS in 1991, which had low resolution graphics and fit
on a single CD. In 1999 the game was re-released in high resolution, and
in a format intended to be played using a DVD-player that plugged
directly into a television rather than played on a computer. This
version was controlled using a DVD remote rather than a mouse. The 2015
version also features high resolution graphics, but is intended for
Windows and Mac.
The graphics quality
is quite good, though ability to adjust graphics is limited. Under the
Settings tab in Options you will find four choices. Game Audio uses a
slider to adjust the volume of the background sounds, such as music. By
default it is set at maximum. The second setting, Video Audio does not
relate to graphics settings. This adjustment relates to the volume
played back in videos. It too defaults to max. There are two other
settings both using a check box method. They are to allow or not
subtitles and the other to play in full screen or windowed mode. That’s
the full range of adjustments that you have. The good news is the game
ran well on Windows 7, presenting no glitches or bugs.
Perhaps it's more
accurately called an "interactive movie" than an adventure game. The
story is told by use of full motion video augmented with photos of pen
and ink sketches. The investigation side of the game uses FMV, and
allows you to play video clips of interviews that are conducted by
Holmes. There are approximately thirty minutes of video per case. The
acting of both Holmes and Watson is fairly good, as is Lestrade, though
he is rarely seen. The bit players range from okay to pretty bad. The
video quality is quite good considering its age.
do you play this game?
Play The Game, the game screen will appear offering you five
choices. They are Newspaper, Directory, Note Book, Judge, and
Menu. You read the newspaper to learn about your case. The directory
is your game navigation screen. I've included a screenshot of the
directory screen. You will note there are letter index tabs along the
sides of the screen. When you locate a name you wish to visit, highlight
it with your mouse, then select one of the three choices at the bottom.
Selecting "Send the Detectives"
initiates a full motion video clip where that person is interviewed. If
by chance the person selected is a wrong choice, you will see a pen and
ink drawing screen, and hear a comment explaining why the person did not
talk to you. You may decide to "Send an Irregular." This will
generate another sketch screen showing a note from one of Holmes’ street
urchins to provide you further information. However, if an interview
scene is available, you may miss important information.
The third option is to "Search the
Files." This will reveal information Holmes has already learned
about the person in question. This is how the game is played: You select
one of the above, then watch the videos. When you've figured out who did
it, you click on the judge. He will ask you four questions. You answer
choosing one of four possible conclusions from the presented list. Get
all four correct to solve the mystery.
“You can take the famous Baker Street
detectives on the go, using a seamless save-game system that lets you
easily sleuth the fog-filled streets of London.”
This is the claim made by the
developer on their website. For the gamer, this means you do not have
the ability to make a manual save. The game auto-saves when you quit.
The next time you play, it overwrites your previous save when you next
quit. It disallows your ability to replay from a desired point using
saves. Take heart, I have found a workaround for this issue. The
auto-save is found on your computer in a subfolder of this location:
\Users\User Name\Application Data\
For example, the
save for The Curse of the Mystified Murderess is found here:
\Users\User Name\Application Data\Zojoi.Murderess\Local Store\Shared
Please note each case has its own
folder within the "Application Data" folder. There will be three
folders, one named for each case, and located following the same path.
When quitting, you simply copy the auto-save and paste it elsewhere on
your hard drive for use later. The save file is identified as such, (for
example, sherlockmummy.sol, sherlocktinsoldier.sol or sherlockmurderess.sol
). You can paste the old save file into game folder to restore a
previous save. Just remember to back up the current save before you
There is also a second issue which
may not set well with adventure game players. The game tallies up points
as you progress, reporting them in the magnifying glass seen in the game
screen. The more you explore this game, the more points are awarded. The
problem is, the more points you have, the worse you have done. The judge
will tell you at the end of the game what a poor detective you are
because Holmes solved this case with only forty points. The quicker you
finish the game, and the less you investigate, the lower your score
becomes, which equals the better you did. This runs counter to logic and
will displease adventure game players who enjoy experiencing all the
game offers. This game’s point system discourages that.
As is becoming all too common with
digital downloads, no manual is offered.
The game style
punishes Adventure gamers' natural desire to explore. The player has no
ability to explore scenes and examine things. There is no inventory and
there are no puzzles beyond solving the case itself. However the game
does offer an entertaining story, albeit fairly short, offering one to
two hours per case. Forewarned is forearmed you can decide if this game
is for you or not.
Windows 7 Home, 64-bit
Intel Core i3 – 2100
CPU @ 3.10 GHz
12 GB RAM
Nvidia Geforce GT240
1.25 GB VRAM
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