by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Life in the limelight
Only a couple of years ago, Sherlock Holmes was a dusty figure out of English literature and forgotten by all but his most stalwart fans. Robert Downey Junior’s spectacular Sherlock Holmes movie brought the iconic investigator back into the limelight and BBC’s Sherlock TV series has proven the concept to be timeless. Today, Sherlock is nothing short of a rock star.
Frogwares’ Sherlock is more traditional and faithful depiction of Conan Doyle’s creation. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is a classic point & click game that focuses purely on investigation. In a rare and for Mr. Holmes somewhat disturbing twist, he is investigating a murder case in which he is the primary suspect. Holmes is determined to investigate the case himself and will do anything, including breaking the law, to stay out of jail.
A dark tale
Right from the onset, it is clear that The Testament is a rather grim story. Olga Ryzkho, Business Developer at Frogwares, starts the demonstration in the study of the late Bishop of Knightsbridge who we find tied up in a chair with his guts spilling out. The gruesomeness of the scene takes a while to sink in, but as Olga zooms in on various parts of the body it settles any questions about what the ESRB will think of this game. With crushed fingers and bloody slashes across the chest, our bishop suffered greatly before meeting his God. This game is not for the faint of heart.
Olga proceeded to investigate the room and gathers information about the body, discovering a finger amidst the gore that does not belong to the Bishop. Next, she finds several footprints on the floor and sizes them up to get an idea of the weight and size of the men wearing them. At the end of this particular examination, the game offered two multiple-choice questions that helped shed a light on what we were seeing.
Not just Holmes
Any new facts, evidence and answers are kept on file on what is called ‘the deduction board’ where you can puzzle them together by answering more questions. This way, you slowly but surely build your case and find out who is really behind the murder.
The investigation will take you to twenty different locations in the heart of London, but not always as Holmes. Even Watson at some point starts having doubts about his friend and mentor and the game will put you into his shoes during some of the investigations. Occasionally, Holmes will call in the help of a Basset Hound, at which time you’ll be transferred to the dog’s body to sniff out clues with his excellent nose and a 6th sense for things that are out of place. This is a fun twist that is bound to become an enjoyable variation on the standard point & click investigation.
Holmes breaking the law is atypical for the man. Perhaps because of that, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes has become an atypical point & click adventure. It remains close to tried and true adventuring mechanics but adds some weird and wonderful twists that make it unlike most of its competition. The gore, conducting an investigation as a Basset Hound... it’s not your standard adventure fare, but all the more intriguing because of it. With all the hype surrounding the Sherlock Holmes concept right now, I would not be surprised if this will be Frogwares' best selling Sherlock game to date. If that will be the case, I’m sure that The Testament of Sherlock Holmes will make many new friends for this longstanding franchise.