Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (series)

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Sherlock Holmes series
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series logo used since mid-2007
Genres Adventure, open world
Developers Frogwares
Publishers Focus Home Interactive
Platforms Microsoft Windows
Nintendo DS
Nintendo 3DS
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Platform of origin Microsoft Windows
Year of inception 2002
First release Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy
September, 2002
Latest release Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
September 30, 2014
Official website

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a series of award-winning adventure games, developed by Frogwares, and based on Arthur Conan Doyle's famous work The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, featuring the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John H. Watson. While the franchise is based on the The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and is inspired by it, each game has an original plot and storyline.[1]


Each game in the series lets you control Holmes or Dr. Watson in either first-person or third-person perspective. This adventure game series mainly consists of puzzles to solve during the course of the game, both by the use of Holmes' deduction and of Watson's assistance. It also consist of looking for clues and evidence hidden in the environment, where Holmes must take these evidences back to his labs (both in his famous flat at 221 B Baker St. and elsewhere) and examine it under a microscope or cook it up with other solvents in a mechanical contraption to separate the elements. You can also use a scalpel or tweezers just right on a piece of evidence slabbed under the microscope.

The game's main goal is to solve the main mystery in the story, and also to take up some side-investigation not necessary in the plot. The series takes Holmes to other places like New Orleans, Switzerland, Scotland and others.


Sherlock Holmes: Crimes %26 Punishments The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osborne House Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy

The Mystery of the Mummy[edit]

Originally developed for Microsoft Windows, the series first began in September 2002 with Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy, which featured a first-person perspective and followed Sherlock Holmes investigating the mansion of a British archaeologist.[2] The game was resurrected and expanded for the Nintendo DS[3] and for the Wii[4] all using DS's stylus and the Wii-mote in solving puzzles.

The Case of the Silver Earring[edit]

The second game in the series, Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring, followed in October 2004, which featured a third-person perspective. The plotline features Holmes and Watson investigating the murder of a construction tycoon, Sir Melvyn Bromsby, with his daughter, Lavinia, among the suspects.[5]

The Awakened[edit]

The third game in the series, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, was released on November 24, 2006, and features a new, first-person perspective. The game follows an original plotline as Holmes and Dr. Watson investigate a series of strange disappearances related to the Cthulhu Mythos.[6] The first among the series to feature supernatural elements such as the Mythos, the game was critically acclaimed in reviews by numerous sources, including GameSpot, which gave the game a rating of 8.3 out of 10, praising the game for its storyline and stating that it was told "brilliantly" and calling it "Cthulhu-infused Victoriana".[7] A remastered version was released in 2008 that offers a third-person perspective playing mode in addition to the first-person perspective. This game won GameSpot's Best Use Of A License and has been critically acclaimed and a great impact on Frogwares.

Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin[edit]

The fourth game in the series, Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin, was released in the third quarter of 2007.[8] The game's antagonist is Arsène Lupin, a fictional gentleman thief created by French writer Maurice Leblanc. The game begins at Holmes' residence at 221B Baker Street in London, where Holmes is playing his violin while Dr. Watson asks him what is troubling him. Among the mail scattered on the table, they find a letter from Lupin challenging Holmes to save England from shame by stopping him from stealing five things of great value to the country. The game consists of poems, puzzles and tasks that takes Holmes from one clue to another.

The Mystery of the Persian Carpet[edit]

A casual game that was released in 2008.

Sherlock Versus Jack the Ripper[edit]

In late 2008, a fifth installment was announced; Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper was released in March 2009 and had Sherlock Holmes against the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. This is the first game in the series to be released on a console, specifically Xbox 360.

The Mystery of Osborne House[edit]

The game is the first in the series to be made and published for the Nintendo DS. Where Holmes finds a deep robbery and conspiracy in the Buckingham Palace.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes[edit]

In September 2009, there were rumors for the sixth installment. The game, titled The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. The game was explicitly for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but later was released for the PC. The game was released in Europe on September 20, 2012 and in North America on September 25, 2012.[9]

After being delayed from an original 2010 release,[10] the game was released in Europe on 20 September 2012 and in North America on 25 September 2012.[11]

Trailers were shown at E3 2011,[12] with further screenshots being released months later. More screenshots were also posted.[13][14] The game was developed primarily for consoles, and features a new graphic engine and gameplay mechanics.[15]

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is set in the London of 1898, with Holmes presented as the main suspect in a case in which he is unable to prove his innocence.

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City[edit]

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City was released on 25 October 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS.[16] According to review aggregrator Metacritic, the game received mixed to negative reviews.[17]

Crimes & Punishments[edit]

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments is the seventh game in the series.[18] The game was released on September 30, 2014 for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.[19]

Common elements[edit]


The main theme in the game sees Holmes as a consulting detective, where local police force and Scotland Yard seek Holmes' help in solving their cold case files. Civilians (mostly gentlemen and aristocrats) also plead help from Holmes. The game employs a one goal mystery that makes up the game's plot, with Holmes either assigned to this case or about Holmes getting himself caught in it and tries to put it to rest by himself. There are also many other side quests and investigation scattered around the game. These side quests come with Holmes trying to help out the police force or a person he came about. But many of these quests also show Holmes happily making a rude investigation to show off. Like in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, where after making an all-for-fun investigation in a library, he rudely makes the librarian confess that he does have a crush on a certain woman botanist. Although in the end Holmes' gives the librarian love advice to cheer him up.

Games in the series also pit Holmes against other works, both fictional and of real events. Chthulhu in The Awakened, Arsène Lupin in Nemesis, and Jack the Ripper in the fifth installment. The plot on some of these game has horror elements installed in them, where murders and dark mysteries are prevalent. Gore and bloody mutilations in the story are much seen in the later games.[20]

In the game The Testament of Sherlock Holmes we see Holmes losing London's trust and being framed for something in a case, and implying city-survival skill themes to prove his innocence. Holmes now relies heavily on rumors and must take any clues while evading enemy eyes. He also uses blackmail, interrogation, forgery, and other devious acts never before seen in previous games in the series.

Items and tools[edit]

Throughout the game Holmes uses his magnifying glass. Useful when he inspects crime scenes, mutilated bodies, fingerprints, gashes and scratches, and mostly for finding evidence. It is the only item used and appeared mostly in the series.

He also uses his microscope in checking clues unseen by the naked eye. He has a wide arrange of chemistry set in his flat which he uses to dissolve solute, dissect clues and find evidence. The game also provide exploration to find items that Holmes can use later in the game and to help in solving the case


Much of the game consist of themes and gameplay found in a classic adventure game. Large emphasis are given in exploration of the game's sandbox landscape, where clues are hidden in it. Point-and-click gameplay are also prevalent, and also with the simulation gameplay to solve mysteries and puzzles. The game also let the players to interrogate and question certain people to gather as much evidence to help in the investigation. There are also instances where Holmes takes up a disguise and infiltrate a hostile location to get more evidence.[21]

The series lets the player play both Holmes and Watson in either first-person and third-person perspective. Holmes gameplay consists much of investigations and finding evidence to come to a conclusion. While Watson's consists of him running errands for Holmes and assisting in the investigation. But there are instances where the game shifts to his point-of view, where he sometimes takes up the investigation for himself.

The first game Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy was the first to establish the first-person gameplay. Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring is a point-and-click (mouse-controlled) third person adventure, first one to establish this gameplay in the series. Clicking in the general direction you wish to go will usually cause your character to move in that direction. As Holmes, you spend time searching for important clues, most of which the bumbling police force will miss. Items are at least partly visible, though some don’t become “hot” until an action in the game triggers them. You also analyze various clues using Holmes’s desktop laboratory.

The Awakened was the first Frogwares title to allow gameplay to take place in an entirely real-time 3D landscape and from a first-person perspective, losing the pre-rendered backgrounds of its predecessor.Like other Sherlock Holmes games by Frogwares it gives an open world environment in every location that can hide clues and interact with NPC. The inventory system saves all objects, documents and map locations for later use and can also be used to combine objects. The game can viewed from a first or third person perspective and it provides you with an icon to indicate what actions Holmes can take within his world like pick up or talk.

Development and inspiration[edit]


The characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the game series are modeled upon the ITV series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the portrayals by Jeremy Brett and David Burke, respectively.[22][23]

Graphics and technology[edit]

Previous games in the series used pre-rendered graphics

Early games in the series uses pre-rendered backgrounds, using it to hide clues in the scene and provide accessible open world landscape. It features a combination of 2D and 3D style of view in the background.[24]

The Awakened was the first Frogwares title to allow gameplay to take place in an entirely real-time 3D landscape and from a first-person perspective. Giving a more bloody crime scene and harder to find evidences. Frogwares made a big deal in making the 3D graphics spawn greatly without the normal excessive pixilation that haunted many adventure game.[25] It is also the first game to feature a crime scene as a gory carnage in every murder scene. And for that it was rated M for mature.

All this is mixed with a lush presentation of the 19th century London with a darker lighting effects and graphics depicting the lonely alleyways and mysteries of every crime scene. The graphics quality has improved sharply since every last game. Animation in particular is becoming more smoother and much more natural-looking. The third-person camera can also be moved around the character independently, which helps both to find an angle you're comfortable with and to take in your surroundings while standing still.[26]

Holmes' face showing a leap in the series' graphics and the use of motion capture

These upgrades are part of a broader move to attract more console players. After the last game, Frogwares and French publisher Focus Home Interactive got feedback from Xbox players in particular that they wanted more adventure games with 3D graphics and production values to match what other genres are offering. And Frogwares are eager to deliver, though the developers still insists this does not mean forgetting about PC players, as some already speculate.[27]

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper used drawings to depict its murder victims, hiding the full horror of the scenes out of respect for the real historical victims. The new games in the series now isn't like that (specifically The Testament of Sherlock Holmes). As the characters here are purely fictional, there is no restraint in showing this gory scene in its full glory.[26]

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is the first in the series to have a great leap to graphics. Where the designers use motion capture to get realism in characterization.[28] The game also benefits from a new light and shadow system, various post-treatment image effects, a high quality voice over and cinematographic direction.[28]


The games were a commercial success, being one of the most successful and best-selling adventure games of all time. The series has sold 4 million copies in PC alone as of 2012.[29]


  1. ^ "Frogwares Game Development Studio". Archived from the original on 26 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  2. ^ Frogwares Developer
  3. ^ "Gamespot: Sherlock Holmes Review". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Gamespot: Sherlock Holmes". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  5. ^ Sherlock Holmes series
  6. ^ frogwares
  7. ^ Brett Todd (2007-03-27). "Sherlock Holmes: TheAwakenedforPCReview". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  8. ^ Focus Home Interactive
  9. ^ Elementary! New Images of The Testament Sherlock Holmes
  10. ^ "The Testament of Sherlock Holmes delayed to late 2011". 17 November 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "E3 2011: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Media – Voodoo Extreme". 10 June 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Testament of Sherlock Screenshots, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Testament of Sherlock Pictures -". Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "IGN: The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Testament of Sherlock Screenshots, Wallpapers and Pics". Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Sherlock Holmes". Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Frogwares (18 September 2012). "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City for 3DS". WordPress. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City for 3DS Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (2 February 2013). "Crimes & Punishments, the New Adventure of Sherlock Holmes announced". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (19 September 2013). "Sherlock Holmes adventure Crimes & Punishments announced for PlayStation 4". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Destructoid: First Look
  21. ^ The Awakened: Asylum mission
  22. ^ gamespot
  23. ^ "Game Credits For Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis". Moby Games. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  24. ^ "Adventure game: Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silver earring Review". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  25. ^ "Adventure game: Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Review". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  26. ^ a b "Adventure game: Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Review". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  27. ^ "Adventure game: Testament Of Sherlock Holmes". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  28. ^ a b Production
  29. ^ "IGN". Retrieved 2007-06-21. 

External links[edit]