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Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? #362008
07/17/08 05:03 PM
07/17/08 05:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
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Indiana
Demosthenes Offline OP
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A few months ago, after hearing all the good reviews of this game, I finally got around to playing it. And I really tried to like it. It should have been easy: the game had nice graphics, decent controls, a fun storyline...

But the game was ruined for me by a very simple problem: ridiculous puzzles. By ridiculous I don't refer to the difficulty, which was quite high but manageable. I mean that a lot of the puzzle solutions were utterly illogical.

"Now wait a moment!" some of you are already shouting. "You liked Jack Keane, Runaway, and all the Monkey Island games! How can you be complaining about illogical puzzles?" --And you'd have a point. But the problems with Nemesis is that the illogical puzzles often aren't solvable by trial and error. You actually have to follow a preposterous line of thought to get to an incoherent conclusion, then follow through. Sure, "Use banana on metronome" may not be a very reasonable command, but in a Monkey Island game you'll eventually get the right combination through simple trial and error.

Not so with Nemesis. I'll give an example from early in the game: of course, since it spoils an early puzzle, I'll enclose the example in spoiler tags. Don't open the spoiler unless you've played at least to the end of the museum area of the game:

Click to reveal..
At some point during the museum sequence, you realize that you need to locate a particular painting in the museum. Specifically, it's a painting of the Battle of Trafalgar, a naval battle between the British fleet and the combined forces of the French and Spanish fleets. The British forces won a victory, but not before the death of Admiral Nelson aboard his ship, the Victory.

It doesn't take much sleuthing to decide that the painting probably depicts the Victory. So, you go to the archivist and as him if he can help you find a painting of the Battle of Trafalgar. The apprentice explains that, after all, this is a British museum, and there are an awful lot of paintings of the Battle of Trafalgar. You'll need to be a bit more specific--and you're going to have to TYPE OUT YOUR ANSWER.

"Well," you think, "Obviously he needs something that would be in that painting, which would not show up in any of the other paintings! Well then, let's try..."

Well, "Victory" and "The Victory" didn't work. Neither did "Admiral Nelson," "Nelson," "Horatio Nelson," or any other phrase containing the word Nelson. "Death" wasn't going to fly, nor would "Pierre Villeneuve," "Pancho Villa," "Sancho Panza," or "The Wilhelm Scream". So, what answer was the game looking for?

As it turned out, the answer was:

[spoiler]Boat. Or, alternatively, ship.

Huh?

In any painting depicting a naval battle, I pretty much expect three things: water, ships, and explosions. If I'm lucky, there will also be people, and maybe some flags. Saying to the archivist, "The painting has a boat" should be useless. It's like telling someone you went to a baseball game, being asked which game you attended, and answering, "Well, the players were wearing uniforms."

Of course, Holmes doesn't say "I'm looking for a painting with a boat in it." He says he's looking for the Victory. That, if you'll remember, was the first answer I tried. And it didn't work.

[/spoiler]

Mind you, it's been a while, so I may have gotten some of the details a little off. But that was the gist of my experience. And while it was probably the worst example, that was far from the only silly puzzle in the game. I got most of the way through the Tower of London before giving up. Yes, I enjoyed wandering around the fairly faithful representation of the Tower, talking to British guards, and so on--up to a point. But then after circling the White Tower for about the 40th time on my search for clues, I got bored and gave up.

I've held off complaining since then because the complaint seemed petty. I felt sure someone else would mention the oddity of some of the puzzles, or that maybe I'd go back to playing and find out I was missing something extraordinary. But that hasn't happened, and the experience bugs me just as much as it did then. So: what did I miss? Am I really the only one who felt let down by the game? Does it get better later on? Or is it just not my type of game?

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Demosthenes] #362019
07/17/08 05:15 PM
07/17/08 05:15 PM
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southeast USA
Jenny100 Offline
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I see your point. But I think most of us just cheat when we run into a puzzle like that, so we can get on with the game. So it doesn't bother us as much as it bothers you.

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Jenny100] #362091
07/17/08 07:43 PM
07/17/08 07:43 PM
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Becky Offline
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The problem of synonyms not working in those particular type-in-a-word challenges has been around for the past couple of Sherlocks. As far as I know, it was a problem back in the text adventure days too.

If you happen to think of the right word, you don't ever even realize that it's a problem. If you use a synonym and it doesn't work, and you eventually find out the word that does, it can be very frustrating! I suspect that the gamer's response is to take those particular challenges less seriously and to check a walkthrough faster than he/she would for another puzzle (IMHO).

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Becky] #362414
07/18/08 11:49 AM
07/18/08 11:49 AM
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Germany
seagul Offline
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Hello Demosthenes.
I stopped playing Nemesis, as you did, in the Tower of London. After running around like mad (without any clue or only a little clue and a too great area to look around) i had the option to use an walkthrough constantly or to stop playing.
Later i read in a review that frogwares has put an awfull lot of effort into creating the real-looking-old-england-scenery. I believe thats the reason why they want us to walk and rewalk and rewalk the same places.
The museum and all the many paintings are very exceptionell -unhappily the continual puzzels bored me out, because their only reason (to me) seemed to be to elongate the stay in the museum. The game kind of exhausted the scenery through the puzzles for me. (I hope i can make myself clear.)

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: seagul] #362460
07/18/08 01:51 PM
07/18/08 01:51 PM
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Indiana
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Seagul, I think you've correctly identified the reason I finally stopped playing. Up until the Tower, I was willing to deal with the bizarre puzzles, in part because the museum area was fairly compact. The tower, however, was just too large for the relatively sparse population of clues and events. As a result that segment of the game became less of an puzzle-solving adventure game and more of a Tower of London Simulator. It got to the point that to make any meaningful progress through the game--without stumbling blindly around the tower for days on end before finding the six or seven scattered clues I was looking for--I would have had to essentially play the game with a walkthrough plastered to the wall behind my monitor.

When an adventure game makes a walkthrough almost necessary, I tend to stop playing. The fun in most adventure games comes from a combination of exploration, puzzle-solving and story/characters. But the story wasn't really grabbing me, I already knew the characters backwards and forwards, I'd run out of places to explore, and using a walkthrough would have eliminated any enjoyment from the already problematic puzzles.

I know that attitude doesn't extend to everyone. My father relies on walkthroughs for almost every game he plays, and somehow really enjoys the experience--but for me relying on a walkthrough often destroys the enjoyment I get from games.

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Demosthenes] #362466
07/18/08 02:00 PM
07/18/08 02:00 PM
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MaG Offline
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I found the puzzles in both Awakened and Nemesis logical and story related. I enjoyed both games very much and didn't resort to any walkthroughs - just a question or two for explanation from the developer.


Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: MaG] #362483
07/18/08 02:51 PM
07/18/08 02:51 PM
Joined: May 2006
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Germany
seagul Offline
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Dear MaG,
can you please tell if the problem, Demosthenes and i have, becomes less after the extended tower-scenery? Perhaps i should give the game another try ( I loved dracula origin so much - it seems so different from Nemesis to me).

Demosthenes: we seem to be the only ones with this problem. As you said: the story wasn' t grabbing me.
But perhaps we were to impatient. Sometimes, when i give a game a second try, i like it. Then I realise, that I was in the wrong mood when I played that special game for the first time.

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: seagul] #362499
07/18/08 03:17 PM
07/18/08 03:17 PM
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I also loved both games and found them to be very well done. I find that the Frogwares games are one of the few that are logical and usually if you are stuck it is because it was something you overlooked and not because it wasn't cleverly clued in.

Ana wave


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Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: BrownEyedTigre] #362510
07/18/08 03:40 PM
07/18/08 03:40 PM
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MaG Offline
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seagul,

Maybe it is the approach I took. I play the Holmes game trying to place myself as Holmes. Look at things as possible clues around me. I got immersed in my surroundings. I read everything and each of those in the documents I know are clues.

I actually enjoyed the Tower of London part since it was well clued to me. The problem presented by the Chief Warder was stated. The aim of Lupin was obvious - so immediately I know what is needed to check - the birds.
I also know the numbers of birds - so I went from there.

You might enjoy the part at the Palace. That is more colorful and lively.

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: MaG] #362916
07/19/08 12:10 PM
07/19/08 12:10 PM
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Singapore
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Demosthenes and Seagul

Overall I have a very good impression of the game and I have posted a separate thread comparing it to Tex Murphy series. But I can understand your feelings about the Tower of London portion.

I do feel that the premise behind the Tower of London puzzle was quite far-fetched. Imagine a cat burgler capturing 5 Ravens and replacing them with other bird species, disguised as black birds by black paint! After the merry go round that Holmes went through just to get the message from each of them, I can't help but wonder at the incredible feat that Arsene Lupin had pulled off in capturing these birds with ease in the first place, even if I could accept the already far-fetched idea that the presence of the Ravens is to guard against the fall of the British kingdom.

I'm a type of gamer who is into quick gratification and I will stoop as low as referring to a walkthough throughout the whole game without spending effort on simple puzzles. To me, games are just like extended versions of movie DVDs! I don't mind if puzzles are cleverly designed and are challenging, as long as they are fun and entertaining and not too much trouble! I hope they don't make them too challenging such that they require University Level Mathematics to solve. Schizm's Pillar/Bridge puzzle was too much for me! Some of the Myst IV puzzles were way beyond my comprehension. I could solve the Myst IV puzzles by following the walkthough and some were still not that easy to complete. The dream colours puzzle towards the end of Myst IV was impossible for me, and I was glad I could skip the puzzle and yet proceed onwards to the end of the game.

Last edited by Benedict; 07/19/08 12:20 PM.
Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Benedict] #362942
07/19/08 01:01 PM
07/19/08 01:01 PM
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Jenny100 Offline
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You do know that Arsene Lupin is no ordinary cat burglar, don't you? There are a whole series of books about him (written in French, though a few have been translated to Englilsh). Perhaps this game didn't do a good enough job of introducing him to those who aren't familiar with his books. Unlike the Sherlock Holmes books, the Arsene Lupin books tend to be light-hearted. The business with the birds wouldn't be out of character for Lupin.

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Jenny100] #363115
07/19/08 08:24 PM
07/19/08 08:24 PM
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Hi Benedict smile

I would say using the legend of the "Ravens in the Tower" for this game was another "tick in the right box" for accuracy grin

Tourists visiting London love the story and make a special trip to see the birds thumbsup

Cheers.

Mad wave


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Jenny100] #363207
07/20/08 03:33 AM
07/20/08 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted By: Jenny100
You do know that Arsene Lupin is no ordinary cat burglar, don't you? There are a whole series of books about him (written in French, though a few have been translated to Englilsh). Perhaps this game didn't do a good enough job of introducing him to those who aren't familiar with his books. Unlike the Sherlock Holmes books, the Arsene Lupin books tend to be light-hearted. The business with the birds wouldn't be out of character for Lupin.


I didn't know that. It explains a lot. Thank you!


Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Mystic Falls] #363210
07/20/08 03:42 AM
07/20/08 03:42 AM
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Singapore
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Hi Mad and Jenny

Thanks for the information. I wonder how he captured the ravens? They are large birds. Did he use cages with bird food?

Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Benedict] #363295
07/20/08 09:25 AM
07/20/08 09:25 AM
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United Kingdom
Mad Offline
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Hi Benedict smile

Some of those ravens can become pretty tame and get used to accepting tit bits of food from people - so maybe it wasn't too difficult a task wink

But also this IS a game after all, which in my book means it doesn't have to follow every rule of logic ....

Cheers.

Mad wave


Time : The Most Precious Commodity
Re: Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis--is it just me?? [Re: Benedict] #363626
07/20/08 08:44 PM
07/20/08 08:44 PM
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I found the puzzles toward the end of The Awakened, specifically the Lighthouse to be incredibly vague. At that point I caved in and followed a WT (and said huh? alot) just to finish it. Also in one of the typed answers it won't work unless the word is spelled incorrectly?! I found that out after a lot of hair pulling. Maybe something's lost in translation...........

Last edited by cazziejoe; 07/20/08 08:44 PM.
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