Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper Review
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Frogwares 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: The Adventure Company / Focus Home Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 26, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Cut and Dry
by Nathan Meunier

Recent past sleuthing exploits in the video game realm have found the famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes facing some downright peculiar characters in his quest for clues and the ultimate solution of the most elusive plots imaginable. After going toe-to-toe with an evil, Chthulhu-worshipping cult in The Awakened and matching wits with the gentleman cat burglar Arséne Lupin in Nemesis, Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson have their work “cut out” for them in their latest mystery-solving jaunt. It’s a grisly one to be sure.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is an unusual entry in the already bizarre game series that riffs off the classic Holmes detective novels. Walking the line between historical facts and “what if” fiction, the game places the crime uncovering heroes at the grim scene of a series of violent and gory murders in London’s East End perpetrated by none other than the infamously savage slayer of painted ladies himself. Though the murderer was never actually identified or caught, the game follows the details and reports of the slayings quite closely, fills in the blanks with some solid Holmes-oriented storytelling, and it affords you an opportunity to catch the twisted culprit.

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With the local constables ineffectively scratching their heads trying to catch the mysterious killer who’s leaving the bodies of prostitutes with their throats slashed and their entrails missing, Holmes and Watson take up the chase on the sly. By scouring murder scenes, examining bodies, following clues, and keeping a low profile, you’ll gradually wind your way through the bloody trail left in the Ripper’s wake. Then there’s the obligatory task of wading through a hodgepodge of miscellaneous errands and bouts of puzzle solving in-between to contend with – dually part of the typical blend of fun and frustration found in adventure game designs. The game ushers in some pleasant improvements over past entries but also falls prey to a few familiar pitfalls.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot

As with past Sherlock Holmes PC games, you alternate between playing as Holmes and Watson at different points in the adventure. The latter tends to get stuck with all the errand boy drudgery, while Holmes basks in the glory of the exciting moments, but that’s all part of the classic interaction between the two. This time around you’re not stuck slowly meandering around in the first-person perspective. In a nod to its adventure puzzle game roots, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper lets you easily switch from first to third-person at any point. Both provide unique views of the gritty London slums, brothels, back alleys, and other charming locales you’ll scour through, and the option is one many long-time followers will appreciate. Each perspective offers a very different way to experience the game. However, the newly added point-and-click setup leaves much to be desired due to its awkwardly jarring camera angle transition and movement response that could be a lot smoother overall.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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