|Sherlock Holmes -
The Case of the Silver Earring
Publisher: Digital Jesters
Release Date: Out Now
In this game you play as the legendary, literary Victorian detective.
“No sh*t Sherlock!!!”
Ho ho ho. I just had to get that one in. Or how about:-
Watson- “What manner of rock is this Holmes?”
Ahahahaha! The old ones are the best aren’t they? No? Oh dear, I think I had better order a horse drawn carriage…
I have often been described as the greatest sloth in my town, but never the greatest sleuth, so I thought I would try out my underused skills of perception on The Case of the Silver Earring. This is a real throwback of a game, a ‘point and clicker’ over pre-rendered backgrounds. It seems like decades since I have played a game like this and frankly it felt like I was in some sort of time warp, hovering precariously over a worm hole where adventures involve reading dull descriptive passages and pressing ‘N’ to go north. Although the game isn’t that prehistoric, it’s a world away from the billion polygon throwing, fast and frenetic first person shooters and high speed racers that we are served up regularly these days. But wait, this is actually no bad thing....
Picture the scene - late Victorian England, ornate wallpaper, crackling fires and urchins being chased up chimneys. That’s what you get served up here courtesy of very pretty but static backdrops spanning old mansions, cellars, train stations and even cement works. It’s atmospheric but wonderfully sedate and restrained. And so is the story itself.
Holmes and Watson are present as a murder is committed in Sherringford Hall, and though it seems as if the victim’s daughter was the culprit, after some initial investigation it becomes clear that things are far more complicated (as you always knew they would be).
Despite this rather basic gameplay I found that I got drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery and I am not entirely sure why. You see, there are numerous logic puzzles that come around every so often to shake things up and test the grey matter and they are both fascinating and incredibly annoying. Codes need to be cracked, keys need to be found and automatons need their bits playing with before they give you a present. It’s enough to blow a fuse in your brain.
Then there is the focal point of every level - a return to Baker Street and the dreaded questionnaire. Here you have to select the relevant evidence that you have rounded up, whether it be witness testimony, documentation or physical items, and use it to answer a number of questions. If you don’t get them correct you cannot continue with the game. Well, let me shout this word loudly in your ear trumpet - WALKTHROUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And technically there is a little bit of niceness to enjoy too – things aren’t as antique as they look. There is some lovely, authentic chamber music going on here and top quality voice acting. The locations are extremely evocative and detailed. It loads quick-as-a-flash, allowing you to dip in and out when you get one of those sudden flashes of inspiration too. In fact the further I went in the game I became so immersed that I could just as well have been watching a film or reading a novel and trying to work out the murderer. Having said all this, it could just be the experiment section back at Baker Street that got me hooked because I always wanted to be a mad scientist. Give me a test tube, a Bunsen burner and some acid and I am a happy 4thenstein.
- A good period atmosphere.
- An involving case to solve.
- Excellent soundtrack and voice talent.
- A fine work-out for your underdeveloped brain.
- A rare point-and-clicker for fans of the genre.
- Dated visual and gaming style.
- Unforgiving questionnaires.
- Mind-bending logic.
- Point-and-click is so 1990.
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring also comes boxed in a special double pack with a Sherlock Holmes DVD movie; Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (starring Basil Rathbone as the definitive Holmes).