by Ryan Cope
reviewed on PC
Mr Holmes, I Am In Need Of Your Help
There are plenty of interesting characters that you will come across during the game. Some are reoccurring and classic from the series, such as Scotland Yard's Inspector Lestrade and Holmes' brother Mycroft. Others are one-time wonders that appear only for their own individual cases. They range from simple restaurant waiters and haunted businessmen, to rich lords and posh damsels in distress. While you will usually meet at least one suspect, the majority of the time, the other characters that are under suspicion will not been introduced, however you will see pictures of them and information. This takes away from the game slightly since there are hundreds of possible characters with, what could be, colourful traits and qualities that are not explored.
The locations throughout the game are interesting and relate to the characters. You will visit many historical places such as the eerie Marlsbury Castle, London's harmonious Music Hall, the supernatural wonder that is Stonehenge and of course, not forgetting, the base of operations and home of the great detective himself, 221B Baker Street. You can travel to these locations by use of a "map system" in each level. The only problem is that you cannot travel around freely. The only locations available to you are the scenes that are associated with the case you are working on. This isn't an issue however, since it makes sense with the flow of the stories and the structure of the game.
It's Gameplay My Dear Watson
You can choose to play the game with a limited or unlimited time value. The limited one is the harder of the two, forcing you to work against the clock to find what you are looking for. The cases themselves are structured in a specific way. Each one will start off with a cut scene where a character will come to Holmes for help. From there you use the map to choose the first location to check out, where you will be treated to another story progression conversation. Then it's up to you to start solving the crime. There are two different types of clue searching methods that you must undertake in your investigation.
The first is a seek-and-locate mode in a room where, usually, the crime took place. It might have been more rewarding for players to be able to choose which crime scene to check themselves, making the map more interactive and engaging. Regardless, once at the scene of the crime you are given a list of items to find on the left hand side of the screen. You must then scour the image, looking out for the objects listed. If things get too difficult and you are stuck, you can wait a while and sometimes the next object on the list will twinkle slightly, revealing itself to you. You could also use the special smoking pipe hint tools; these show you exactly where the next item is. They are limited though, but you can find more hidden in each scene.
As you find several items related to one suspect, you receive a little bit of information about that person and their relationship with the victim. This is interesting and focuses more on the genius of Holmes' ability to analyse information from the most mundane of items. It is a shame though that you are unable to actually interview these people in a cut scene, just to make the investigation seem a little more authentic and, as stated earlier, flesh out the potential of hundreds of characters.
Beautifully designed, with brilliant voice acting and unique puzzles.
Not much freedom of choice and can sometimes feel a little repetitive.