Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II

ICOM Simulations / TTI

The jig was up. By the time Sherlock II came out, no one was falling for the FMV gimmick anymore. Critics had caught on to the fact that a little pointing and clicking and a lot of sitting around watching grainy, goofy, poorly scripted "dramas" did not make for great gaming; and the backlash was severe. Never mind that these dopes essentially propagated such releases by heaping praise on the first Sherlock. No, the fault was with game designers for actually acquiescing and giving the buffoons more of what they'd wanted--and those designers and their products were to be slammed for it. EGM reviewer Martin Alessi was apparently the one rational, reasonable person at the time, as he gave Sherlock II the very same so-so score he'd given its predecessor. This made quite a bit of sense, as both titles are basically the same crap.

Look familiar? Yeah, the interface hasn't changed a bit. Well, windows seem to come up slightly more quickly here... or maybe I'm imagining things.

More FMV drama as Holmes and his trusty sidekick stumble around England and annoy everyone. Sadly, the mysteries here are no more interesting than the first volume's snoozers.

Mega-nerds clash as Watson flees the scene. Highlight of the saga?

Pencil-scratch illustrations return. If anything, they're even uglier this time.

The "judge parts" are presented in FMV now, which only serves to drag the scenes out. So much for the milliseconds saved by those speedier menu pop-ups.

With some old FMV games--the ones that are goofy and damn well know it--you can point and laugh and have quite a fun time whether there's much "true" gaming involved or not. But the Sherlock Holmes games, while at times humorous, really would like you to take their mysteries seriously. So they're not kitsch classics, but they weren't put together well enough to make for fascinating detective stories either. If you actually did enjoy the first episode, then go right ahead and pick this one up, as it's pretty much the same deal but with three new cases swapped in. All other aspiring inspectors should acquire the excellent J.B. Harold Murder Club instead.

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