Camen Design Forum

Game Reviews


:: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper

* Point-&-click adventure

Reviews for this game tend to hover around the 7-8 out of 10 range and I believe this is a reflection of it's position with the whole gamut of computer games. This is not a fair representation; taken within the context of the point-&-click adventure genre only, I contest that it one of the best such games ever made; a 9 out of 10, if you will.

Firstly, there is great atmosphere. You play as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in the late nineteenth-century following the trail of the 'Jack the Ripper' murders. The graphics are basic but atmospheric; the closest comparison I could think of is that of Max Payne -- quite basic modelling but very high resolution photo-real textures. I play games on a five-year lag so I don't know what is expected in 2015, but the graphics conveyed what they needed to with minimal fuss and it was is enjoyable walking around the dark, misty streets of Whitechapel London.

But graphics are not more important than story or gameplay, and I mention them only because of the excellent atmosphere they lend to the game. The author of the Sherlock Holmes canon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, said at the time that he would never put Sherlock Holmes up against the likes of Jack the Ripper because he (Jack the Ripper) was nothing but an illogical maniac.

This game utterly succeeds in putting the logical thought process and investigation of Sherlock Holmes against the Ripper. It is a very educational game and you will learn a great deal about the Ripper's murders and walk through the details. It's an extremely gripping and detailed story that moves at a good pace but with a great deal of content (I think it took me some 20 hours to complete).

Puzzles in the game are handled in the modern style; that is, IQ-style logic puzzles that stand upon their own but are integrated into the game in some thematic manner. Whilst the traditional rub-things-together puzzling also exists, it is never excessive or confounding (like Sam & Max Hit the Road, for example). The only flaw with these puzzle diversions is that no instruction is provided on how the actual mechanics of the puzzle presented work and this is the one most-major flaw in the whole game.

Asides these, the game also includes 'Deduction Boards', an identi-fit system of matching known information with logical conclusions. This adds another level the puzzling in the game and strengthens the Sherlock Holmes narrative.

:: Highlights:

* Intense, authoritative story
* Atmospheric
* Very good ending, wrapping up an 'unsolved mystery'
* No paranormal nonsense that spoils so many modern Holmes works

:: Areas of improvements:

* Some voice-acting is weak (Holmes is too wooden, but Watson is superb)
* Better hints could be provided by more varied and specific dialogue for particular scenes
* Cutscene animation is fairly crude
* Puzzles, whilst being none-too-difficult, offer no explanation of their mechanics


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