Focus Interactive Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper review
This fifth Sherlock Holmes adventure game from developer Frogware brings together the fictional detective and the very real serial killer.
Despite this bridging of reality and fantasy, the match works. Holmes is right at home in the foggy streets of Whitechapel, while the Ripper has become a near-mythical figure anyway.
The game does a good job of retelling the events of Whitechapel in late 1888 as they were reported at the time. It then places you, as Holmes, into the scenario to tease out the details and solve the mystery. The game is the usual blend of exploration, conversations and puzzles found in point-and-click adventures, but the foreboding atmosphere makes a change from more cartoon-like adventures.
The graphics feel a bit blocky, and animation is wooden. Thankfully, the voice acting is generally good and the murders, seen from the Ripper's perspective, are chilling. Some of the tension is lost through clumsy movement and interactions between characters in the game and a couple of annoying voice actors, though.
The missions are a mixed bunch, with some excellent sleuthing one minute, and annoyingly basic fetch quests the next. The best parts are those where you investigate the crime scenes. Here you can inspect the Ripper's work, although the gore is toned right down. By inspecting the bodies and surroundings, Holmes builds up an idea of what happened.
There's plenty of help for novice adventure gamers, with evidence presented for you in a timeline. You can also hold down the spacebar to highlight interactive elements onscreen, which saves you from missing something.
The story is solid, and if the developers had cut out the filler, this game could have been an award winner. It's still worth playing if you're interested in Holmes, the Ripper, or both, but better adventures are available.
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