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Sherlock Holmes: Case of the Silver Earring
(hx) 05:25 AM EDT - Sep,13 2004

In May 1897, Sherlock Holmes accompanied by Dr. Watson comes to a party organized at Sherringford Hall by Sir Melvyn Bromsby, construction tycoon. All guests were invited to welcome his daughter, Lavinia, who has just returned to England. In fact, Sherlock Holmes was more attracted by the famous singer Gallia who was supposed to perform during this reception. It's rumored, that during his opening address, the host has to announce something of great importance concerning the future of his business. It is 11 P.M. People crowd near the bar. Sir Bromsby appears, accompanied by his chief associate, Hermann Grimble. He takes his place on the stage. Sir Bromsby barely starts welcoming his guests, when suddenly falls to the floor. There is a darkening red stain visible on his tuxedo right over his heart… The Guests panic. Lavinia Bromsby runs toward her dying father...Holmes decides to act quickly, not waiting for the police to come. Inquiry begins...Why was Sir Bromsby so worried before he started his opening address? Lavinia Bromsby, his lovely daughter, is she so innocent? Who and what was the murderer trying to hide with this murder?

Developed by Ukranian developers Frogwares, Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring is 3D adventure sequel that features Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson as they embark on their latest adventure, "the case of the silver earring". As yo can probably guess, the game is an investigation in the Sherlock style - so don't expect a lot of action. Instead, there're some stealth elements, timed sequences, or passing near guards at night without being noticed. In the game you play both Holmes and Watson, each with his own job to do. Holmes asks Watson to talk to the people outside and get some information from them, whilst Holmes stays inside to find more clues and question the guests remaining. Since you are a detective, you can scrutinise stuff with your magnifying glass, you can measure stuff with a tape and even collect samples into a test-tube and things like. Back at Baker Street you pool together the information you have managed to collect. This is done by way of a quiz, where you are asked 7 questions, which you need to answer Yes/No.

Of course no one adventure game would be complete without puzzles to solve and things to think about, and the Silver Earring is no exception. The puzzles are implemented well but can be frustratingly difficult making any progress an even more tedious task. For me, the most frustrating "puzzle" was the ark puzzle. There are two different clues that make up the ark puzzle. The first can be found in animal drawings embedded in the pictures on the wall. However, I couldn't find an animal in the 3rd picture pretty long time :) The second clue is a poem about Noah that you can only get from solving the Jester puzzle. Also the task of sneaking past a guard and guard dog at night can be pretty frustrating - I had to set both the Contrast and Brightness controls of the monitor to maximum :]

Gameplay is controlled through a standard point and click interface. The walking pace can be speeded (in most locations) up by double clicking the mouse button enabling the character to run. A right click opens your inventory across the bottom of the screen where you can scroll through the items. While the notebook is accessible from there also, within the notebook you can access all testimonies, reports and analyses, documents and a map which is useful for moving between locations. The quiz section at the end of each chapter is also answered within the notebook. When doing each quiz you can refer to your notes and the evidence required is colour coordinated to help out. Overall, the controls are very simple and easy to use.

In my opinion, adventure fans should be happy with what Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring delivers, and for L29.99 (UK price), you'll get a solid game for a good price.

related links: homepage, demo (335MB), gameplay movie

Minimum System Requirements: Pentium III 500MHz, 128 MB RAM, 16MB graphics card, DirectX 9.0 compatible (NVIDIA Geforce or ATI Radeon chipsets), Sound card, DirectX 9.0 compatible, Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, 1.2GB free disk space.


snd: 4/5 - pretty good, well done voice-acting, original classical orchestral music
gfx: 4/5 - locations are extremely evocative and detailed, well done character modelling, poor lip-sync, maybe too dark at times
playability: 4/5 - great point-and-clicker for fans of the genre, an involving case to solve, ~25 hours of investigation, linear, some frustrating puzzles
genre: adventure
release: September 2004
developer: Frogwares
publisher: Digital Jesters
Very_good
Overall: 76%


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