Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Game Poster Image
Mystery adaptation tests deductive skills but is too brief.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Stopping criminals, bringing them to justice vitally important. Methods, sarcasm limit positive results.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Holmes and Watson make sure justice is done. They can be snide, but constant pursuit of criminals, use of intelligence, deduction key personality traits.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn. Robust hint system, though challenge is in putting clues together correctly to solve mystery.

Violence

Murders, violence described, shown by drawings, but no violence shown.

Sex

Implied affairs, but nothing shown.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Holmes sometimes smokes a pipe; drinks sometimes mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a downloadable set of mysteries involving the famous sleuth and his assistant, Watson. Although each of the three stories involves murder, the murders themselves aren't graphically shown. They may be described by witnesses or by the main characters, and there's usually a drawn image showing what happened to victims. Otherwise, there's no objectionable content.  Gameplay is simple to learn and get into, but figuring out the clues and putting them together in the right order may not be very easy for some younger players. Fortunately, the game has a robust help system, which can help gamers if they get particularly stuck.

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What's it about?

SHERLOCK HOLMES: CONSULTING DETECTIVE is a series of three murder mysteries remastered for current-day PCs. Regardless of whether you purchase an episode or the set of three mysteries, the basics in each case are the same: Holmes and Watson discuss or are hired to find the killer from a story found in the London Times. With story elements told through full-motion video clips (FMV), both detectives will use articles written in the digitally provided newspaper to check for information. You also can choose to visit suspects by yourself or send an irregular to gather information for your adventures. When you've collected enough evidence (according to your decisions and investigations), you can go before a judge and present your case to hopefully put the guilty party behind bars.

Is it any good?

Based on the original 1991 title of the same name, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is an amusing test for player's deductive skills. Players have to weed through red-herring clues and incorrect leads to discover the truth, all of which takes time (and further reduces your final score). Of course, since you're testing your skill against that of Holmes, you want to uncover the mystery as quickly as possible, which means knowing when to send your irregulars to check for information, when to visit a suspect, and when to check the mock newspaper for clues.

Most investigation sections have video segments attached to them, helping develop each mystery's plot. The remastered clips have the feel of a second-rate BBC or PBS adaptation; the acting isn't nearly as good as in those productions, but it does make the gameplay feel a bit more immersive. If anything, Consulting Detective's largest and most harmful flaws lie in its brevity and lack of replayability. Skilled detectives can initially fly through the game within an hour or two, but clues and content don't change from one session to the next, so after one or two playthroughs, it's possible to fly through the course from start to finish in 15 minutes or less. But fans of mysteries may enjoy testing how well their reasoning stacks up next to Holmes'.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. Is the violence, or lack thereof, OK given the investigation of each crime?

  • Discuss investigations by detectives. How do you think they come to their conclusions? How accurate are their methods?

Game details

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