by Marcus Mulkins
reviewed on PC
A case for casual detective work
It dawned on me while studying this game that we people that think of ourselves as gamers are snobs. That is, we are gamers because games are one of our primary entertainments, on a computer or console. To us, the label doesn’t really apply unless you knock out at least three or four games a year. And those games had better be 20+ hours of play time before they are mastered/finished.
However, the truth of the matter is that nearly everyone that owns a computer, be it PC or Mac, and most definitely anyone with a console, are -all- gamers. If you look at 99+% of computers, you’ll find at a very minimum Solitaire, and more than likely a whole suite of leisure time games. They’re there because nearly everyone feels like killing some time every now and again. And a game that does not consume the soul of the player, that does not become a driving obsession in his life is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes, a download game from Legacy Interactive, is a leisure time Adventure game that will appeal to practically every kind of gamer in the population. It’s somewhat more engaging than Solitaire, but it’s not the kind of game that you have to book into your schedule. The game includes 16 cases, which must be successfully played in sequence in order to move to the next case, but each of them will take less than an hour to play. In fact, the average play time for one case is about 20-25 minutes. Further, you can exit a case in progress at practically anytime, and then pick up where you left off at a more convenient time if necessary.
For someone who is accustomed to games that are the usual brainteaser, or for an adrenaline junky used to playing twitch games, this game will be the mental equivalent of a walk in the park. For more lightweight gamers, it will be a pleasant change of pace from that suite of Solitaire games they’re more familiar with.
Frankly, I’m somewhat puzzled
At its heart, Lost Cases is a collection of puzzle games: scavenger hunt in a cluttered room, spot the differences in 2 pictures, anagrams, decoding games, match up, etc. However, the puzzles are laid out in the framework of a Sherlock Holmes investigation. Now, nearly every literate human being has been exposed to at least one or two of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories involving his most famous literary character. If not the books and short stories, then there’s always the famous Basil Rathbone series of movies. Or the Jeremy Brett TV series. The format of all of these is always: introduction of the case, investigation of the scene, Holmes’ gathering clues and arriving at a bunch of brilliant observations of things that the authorities seem to have missed. Then the enumeration and elimination of possible suspects until only one remains before Holmes declaring the case closed, usually exiting with some pun or pithy remark.
In the game, we start with the Introduction, usually at 221-B Baker Street. “Oh, Mr. Holmes! You’re the only one that can help me!” Description of befuddling circumstances (which explains why no one short of Holmes’ genius can even hope to solve the case). The puzzles start when Holmes and Watson arrive at the scene of the crime. Usually, the examination of a location will involve several puzzles, as discovering a given clue in a cluttered room leads in turn to the unraveling of a puzzle to open a locked box or unlocking a revealed door, or something of the sort.
No Pros and Cons at this time