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Publisher: uclick Games    Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: Intel    RAM: 999 MB

The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes
January 14, 2009 | Joseph Cadotte

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The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes is a hunt-and-seek game with stories based on ideas that may have somehow come from reading Sherlock Holmes.

The Good
The puzzles are pretty varied, and they seem to derive from the stories, rather than have the story be an excuse for the puzzle. For example, if you are looking for evidence of a spiritualist, you need to find crystal balls and the like, while, on the same screen, when trying to help a journalist, you need to find their notes. More of these puzzle games need to be like this, as opposed to finding some apple somewhere in a boiler room, which seems all too common.

In addition, the music is very good. I found myself turning up the volume to hear it. It is period classical and decently performed, and works within context.

The Bad
Unlike the music, the voice acting is dreadful. Absolutely dreadful. Like a high school trying to do a bad BBC production (redundant, I know) of a melodrama awful. The accents seem to be modern British lower-class teenagers trying to sound like middle-aged Victorian elites. And they get even worse if they try to do a cockney or Scottish accent.

And that isn't the worst part (which are the graphics, which are discussed below under "The Ugly").

The stories, while supposedly in the Holmesian oeuvre, are also dreadful. They read like the aforementioned class trying to write a detective story without having read Doyle, or any mystery for that matter. The problem is, you can't skip the story. If you do, you miss a few clues as to what to look for. And the dialogue of the story fills out as the "actors" (slowly) read their lines. You can't read the text and click through to the next screen. The only option is to miss all of the dialogue completely, which is a bad idea for the above reason.

In addition, the appeal of the game is supposed to be the idea of solving a mystery alongside Holmes and Watson. There are many, many problems here, but I'll touch on a few. First, the Holmes stories take place in 1880s Britain. These stories (all happening close together in time) refer to events that took place between 1850 and 1900. Second, the characters are off. Watson, Holmes, and Lestrade all behave differently than in the books. Holmes, for example, is no longer a humorless misogynist and Watson is a complete buffoon. They did keep the bizarre, out of left field solutions Doyle was fond of, though.


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