Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. (computer game) (Software Review) (Compute's Getting Started with Multimedia Applications) (Evaluation)
by Richard O. Mann
When you slip the CD into the drive and type Sherlock, nothing unusual happens. But when Holmes and Dr. Watson explain a few things to you in live video, you realize this is what multimedia games are all about. This isn't animation, it's movie footage, right on your computer screen--90 minutes of it in all.
Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective (ICOM Simulations, 648 South Wheeling Road, Wheeling, Illinois 60090; 708-520-4440; $69.95) is an adaptation of three of the ten cases in a popular board game of the same name. Only this time, you actually see and hear the interviews with suspects. It's awesome,
After Holmes delivers his introductory remarks, you're ready to track down the malefactors. Select a case, watch the client explain things to Holmes and Watson, and you're on your own. You have a notebook listing your regular sources, a London Directory including everyone you'll need to interview (along with dozens of false leads and useless names), copies of important issues of the London Times, and Holmes' files.
With these resources, you determine who to interview and where to go. You do everything by clicking on the appropriate icons (although this isn't a Windows program). When you visit someone who has a bearing on the case, a video window opens and you see the interview. You have no control over the questions; Holmes and Watson take care of that. Just watch and make notes of the names and other clues that arise.
After you've identified the killer, you take him or her to court, where the judge asks you multiple choice questions. Get the answers right and you win. In a final scene, Holmes explains his reasoning to you, and you compare the number of steps it took for you to solve the case with his perfect score.
A skilled player can solve each case in about an hour--the mysteries are satisfying but not too challenging. The real joy is the full-motion video and the fun of partially controlling the flow of the Victorian movie. The actors' British accents are uneven, but the costumes and sets are marvelous.
Once you've solved the cases, there's little replay value in the game, but it will certainly wow your friends who drop by to see the latest in multimedia entertainment on our computer.