Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review - "Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles"

The world of computer games is still inhabited by the great detective. In a series of games, Sherlock Holmes has matched wits against Jack the Ripper, Arsene Lupin and even the works of H.P. Lovecraft! One of the never games released from Big Fish is a reworking of "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Reader beware, the following review is filled with spoilers, so if you have nay intention of playing the game turn back now. Otherwise, let us press on.

Sir Henry Baskervilles arrives in London seeking the help of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. he fears that his recently deceased uncle, Sir Charles Baskerville is the victim of the family curse brought about by Sir Hugo Baskerville sometime in the 1700's. Holmes agrees to take the case and he and Watson journey to Baskerville Hall in search of evidence to determine if the hound which is supposed to haunt the Baskerville family is material or not.

In essence, what is written above is the broad overview of Doyle's beloved novel. However, aside from the early stages of the game, very little is in common with the book. Once at Baskerville Hall, things change in the extreme as Holmes and Watson sort though the different members of the Baskerville family uncovering clues which will lead them to the whereabouts of the spectral hound. I understand that the game has to be fleshed out a bit more to make it different and more appealing as a game, but the story line presented herein is so different from Doyle's work, it is a wonder that the name was kept the same at all. I knew at once as soon as the words "time travel" were spoken in the game we were far out of Doyle's territory.

Yes ladies and gentlemen - Holmes, Watson and Sir Henry indulge in a bit of time travel throughout the game as they search for clues. This would without doubt be acceptable in a "Doctor Who" game, but in a game which claims to be a work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I don;t think so. What is perhaps strangest of all is Holmes' complete acceptance of the supernatural from the word "go." While he says that he wishes to find a rational explanation for it all, it would be very difficult considering alchemy, telekinesis and time travel are elements in the game.

An example of the graphics in the game
However, I am being too harsh on this game. Even though the story was so outlandish and really did not follow Doyle's story, it was rather fun to play. I had no idea in what direction the story was heading so I was excited to play more. Furthermore, the graphics in the game were very well-done. I really did get a feeling of mystery and horror from the rooms in Baskerville Hall, which proved to be a decidedly cold and cheerless house. What's more, it is obvious that someone involved in the making of the game was a fan of the 1959 version of "Hound of the Baskervilles" with Peter Cushing. A number of elements from that movie found their way into the game -especially an evil knife-wielding Hugo Baskerville and a ruined ritual site to summon the hound.

Perhaps most exciting of all was after the hound has been vanquished and normalcy is restored to Baskerville Hall, things take a dramatic turn as you unlock an extra game which continues the story featuring the return of Hugo Baskerville. This straight pastiche was a great deal of fun and it was interesting to see some building off of Doyle's original concepts.

In all, though not following Doyle's story, there is some fun to be had in this game. I give "Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles" 3 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I never played this, but I honestly never saw anything to pique my interest about it.


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