SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES

by FROGWARES; BIGFISH

 

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: *****  Player participation (PP) *****  Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****

Frustration Factor (FF)  *    Fair Play (FP) *****

Collector’s Edition 

This is another excellent Game with no playing glitches.  In Options you can choose your Screen Resolution level which is neat, along with the usual Music and Sound FX Volumes.  In Main Menu, there is an Extra Gameplay level which is unlocked on completion of the Normal Game. This Extra Play unlocks on completion another Extra Content level which not only contains the usual History/Diary/Museum, Mini Games, Wallpapers, MultiMedia, but also Hidden Objects Scene play.  On the Desktop, In the Collector’s Edition, there is an SG button – a Strategy Guide to use if needed.

The Game opens with the usual CG movie, then dialogue shots, with Subtitles, which are handy.  As you have to click the dialogue box to continue (you can also fast forward through the text this way), it allows you to gain crucial pieces of info if you are making notes.  I also like the fact that the Game informs you when a Location is Complete – it is a courtesy to the Player, and saves needless researching of scenes that can waste so much time.  At the Start you are asked to choose your level of difficulty – Easy; or Hard which includes hard Hidden Objects, and Puzzles, and limited Help and Hints.  I chose Easy for a stress-free Play, even on my second run-through because I didn’t fancy straining to see obscure hidden Objects.  After all, Puzzles can be skipped if too hard!  Talking about which – on each Puzzle screen, there are buttons top right – Close, Skip, Reset, and Help which gives you the Puzzle Task/How to Play – sometimes necessary to check as some of the Puzzles are quite unusual.

When, after finding it, you open the Book of the Baskervilles (which locates itself onto the bottom left of screen), it opens to a map of the mansion, plus the surrounding garden and swamp, which you can use to move between locations.  By the use of a Wolf-head Icon, with or without an Exclamation Mark, it shows you which rooms are open, and which of them have active tasks.  Of course, as you progress from room to room, there are specific objects that need to be found in order to open locked rooms – fragments of paintings, door panels, lock pieces, puzzle pieces, Coat of Arms pieces needed to release each ancestral Baskerville from their portrait prison, and jewels that are required as eyes for the Wolf’s heads that adorn each room.

This Game gives you the freedom to place these items in their required places as you go along, and not wait till you have all 7/7, 2/2, 9/9 etc., then continue to find the rest.  I like this flexibility, as it gives you more control – it is up to you whether you put them in place as you find them or wait till you have them all.  Most Games make you wait.  But you do have to wait till you have all the Coat of Arms Pieces, then you are asked if you want to go straight to free the relevant Baskerville in the Great Hall, or continue with your search.  I advise you to always say ‘Yes’, because when the Coat of Arms piece/shield is in place, the portrait changes and you receive an item from the character that will help you move forward – in particular you receive the Power Disks for the Medallion.

I suggest that you keep an eye on the Cursor as you move it around the rooms – you may miss it changing to tell you there is a hot spot, and this can be crucial.  The jewels that you find for each Wolf’s Head you can place in the eye-sockets as you find them.  The Head then becomes a portal into the past – for each room.  By going back and forth you can collect items that are missing in the present – items from past and present can be used in either Time-Zones of the rooms.

You play as Sherlock Holmes, although he is a definite character in the GamePlay, so that You think you are just assisting him.  It’s a bit odd.  But Watson tells Holmes/you to use his/your specific Powers that are gained as progress is made, and Reward/Award stages are reached.  These Powers are Perception – the ability to see in dark places; Strength – the ability to apply strength to tasks when needed: eg break locks, or vases etc to gain what is inside, or to turn knobs that are stuck; Telekinesis – the ability to bring items to you from dangerous situations, or that are out of reach; Materialisation – the ability to turn 2D images, like a picture, or engraving, into 3D objects that you can then collect and use; and finally Speed – the ability to accelerate time so that plants grow or termites devour quickly.

This was a Game that I sat up very late to finish.  It is the best Sherlock Holmes Game that I have played thus far PP-wise, despite the bizarre change to the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story – it begins the same, but dives off into the realm of the unreal with the introduction of the Medallion.  Some of the other SHERLOCK HOLMES Games tend to have very tiny Hidden Objects (which is ridiculous and insulting), and interfering atmospherically hazy graphics.

In this version of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, the scenes are a bit gory at times – but not graphically so.  The Graphics are great – authentic, interesting, clever, and mainly well-defined, though the characters are depicted in ‘soft focus’, and the locations are often dark and gloomy, macabre and atmospheric.  The text is clear, and objects, hidden or otherwise, are discernible. FP

I highly recommend this Game – SF!

For Walkthroughs of this Game try UHS Hints at:   www.uhs-hints.com/

(C) Copyright  Jud House  22/08/2011

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