I am a pretty big fan of Adventure games. I am also a pretty big fan of Sherlock Holmes. Which is why this week in Gaming Under $20, we are going to be talking about Frogwares’ (Magrunner: Dark Pulse, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper) sixth game in their Sherlock Holmes franchise: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (TToSH), a grisly Point-and-Click Adventure game from 2012.
In Testament, we don the well-worn Deer Stalker of the famous detective and formaldehyde-drinking Sherlock Holmes and his best friend and cane-toting partner, Dr. John Watson, as they try to uncover the mystery of a tortured, burnt and mutilated Bishop. After searching around the Bishop’s office and bedroom for clues, by clunkily clicking on objects around various environments for something that makes either Holmes or Watson make a comment (a staple of the series), which almost always leads to a much larger puzzle, we uncover there was more to this God-fearing Bishop than what initially appears. Thus opens up the game, to which it is commented on, as being “most certainly afoot.” From one crime scene to the next, we uncover the secrets of government plots, crooked doctors, dimly lit opium dens filled with addicts looking to make a quick buck, psychotic inmates and that Sherlock Holmes is in fact, a cold-blooded killer. Wait, what?
Yep, as a massive fan of most things Sherlock Holmes, I absolutely hated the character they turned Holmes into while playing this game. While interesting, I was angry at Frogwares, and was somewhat disgusted that they would turn Holmes into a man that we as the player, and Dr. Watson, could no longer trust. A man we usually see as being proper and withheld, all the while he is seven steps ahead of the the evil guys at all times. That being said, after playing through it, I declared TToSH to be one of the best pieces of Holmesian fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s not all great, but the highs are really quite high and they keep you second guessing our hero’s intentions for most of the game.
Like most any modern Adventure game, Testament is mostly moving around various environments, searching for clues by highlighting objects with your mouse cursor, or with the support of a gamepad, hoping it will produce the desired effect. You also have an inventory, to which items can be added, used, examined, or even combined to help Holmes and Watson solve puzzles and finally, solve the mystery to which they’ve been thrusted into. You can play it in first-person, third person with a following camera, or third person with a fixed camera, something akin to what you’d see in the old Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series. The game itself is strikingly beautiful and a massive visual improvement from the previous games in the series.
With the seventh game in Frogwares’ Holmes series of Adventure games coming out next week, there is no better time than now to play this rather awesome and weekend-long game. If you’re a fan of great puzzles, great voice acting, a kind of weird section where you play as a dog, and most certainly if you’re a fan of anything Sherlock Holmes, you should definitely consider playing The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. It’s available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC for Under $20.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is Worth It
Written by: Austin Fedo