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RE[8]: Game Reviews

Kroc

:: The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel

* Point-and-click adventure, PC / ScummVM

A murder-mystery is pretty much perfect material for a point-and-click adventure, and Sherlock Holmes is the go-to character for the job -- out of copyright, universally known and timelessly Victorian. Much crap has had the Sherlock Holmes name attached to it and still he has come out unscathed. This 1992 adventure game by Mythos succeeds by way of many great qualities.

The plot is good and becomes increasingly complex and engrossing. The writing is of high quality with an astonishing amount of period detail. There are many locations in the game and they open up to you at a quick pace, always providing something new to see.

The art style is a controversial point. Some reviewers have called it grainy and indistinct. The whole game is done in a 1930s art-poster style (which had become en-vogue during the '90s); whilst I don't have my CRT set up at the moment, I believe that the graininess and indistinct contrast would look fundamentally clearer and more evocative on the superior colour, deeper blacks and slight fuzziness of a CRT. Personally, I'm a fan of the art style and find it another aspect of the game to enjoy.

The games puzzles are not obtuse and the lack of combining inventory items thankfully removes a large headache of other adventure games (rubbing everything against everything else in the hope of progress). Such a requirement would make the game impossible because the game simply accumulates inventory like it was gold being handed out for free. Almost nothing you receive every goes away again, leaving you carrying around half of London in your pocket. It doesn't prove to be a problem though as often the item you need to use will the be the one you most recently received, or if not, hopefully obvious enough.

I'd definitely recommend this game to any adventure game / Sherlock Holmes aficionados.

:: Highlights

* Excellent script and descriptions
* Lots of places to visit

:: Areas of Improvement

* Inventory bloat
* Only uses the chemical analysis / Baker Street Irregulars features once. These aspects could really have done with being featured more often throughout the game

:: @Kroc added on 18 Apr ’16 · 13:32

Oh, forgot to add that the game is lacking voice-over for all but the prologue and epilogue cut-scenes, which is a great shame. Apparently there's a 3DO version with full audio dialogue, but this is not yet supported in ScummVM.

Your friendly neighbourhood moderators: Kroc, Impressed, Martijn