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  Review by
Nik Wild
(The Harlequin)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!

Sherlock --
The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
1987 Infocom
By Bob Bates

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the thirty seventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: April 14th, 1988).
 


This month ol' Harley babes dons a deerstalker and busies himself with some super-sleuthing in olde London towne courtesy of Infocom. Bitten by the werewolf bug last month, our diamond infested hero once again tackles lycanthropy and takes a look at Rod Pike's latest horror, Wolfman. The Demon From The Darkside also does his best to end the Harlequin's reign -- but fails. And if all that isn't enough, he begins another serialised solution: Dracula. Fangs a lot Harlequin . . .
.

 

 

SHERLOCK - THE RIDDLE OF THE CROWN JEWELS
Infocom, 19.95 disk

 

he crown jewels have been stolen -- and the Queen is to lead a procession through the streets of olde London towne in two days time! Without her glittering finery the news of the theft would spead, and the British Government fall into international disgrace. Scotland Yard have tried everything to track down the criminal and failed, so it's time to instigate the aid of the world's finest detective -- Sherlock Holmes.


This is a tried and tested scenario which has been covered by many facets of the media, and adventurers have had at least three games to play based on the super sleuth. However, Infocom are giving the player a slightly different slant on the story by allowing him to take the role of Watson. Holmes is to be present for most of the game, but it is the good doctor who eventually cracks the case.

As the early Saturday morning pea souper drifts, eerily around the gas lit cobbled streets of London, the story of the jewel theft opens . . .

Elementary adventuring: discovering what's on

Watson arrives at 221b Baker street to see his good friend Holmes. As Mrs Hudson the housekeeper opens the door, she reveals that Mr Holmes, has been in his room for the last three days, suffering from one of his deep depressions. He hasn't eaten or ventured out in that time, and she's very worried.

The first problem is how do you get Holmes out of his dark mood. This shouldn't present too much of a problem, and the meeting with the PM -- complete with clue sheet and threat to Holmes's life -- should swiftly follow.

Once outside Holmes's home, the great detective informs you that Moriarty is at the bottom of the theft, and it is because the arch-criminal knows how Holmes thinks that he delegates the sleuthing to you. This tactic should also hinder the criminal's attempt to kill our pipe-smoking hero.

Movement around London is achieved by either walking or taking a cab. The former takes up a lot of time -- you have only until 9 o'clock Monday morning to bring Moriarty to justice -- and the cabs can be unreliable if you don't know what you're doing.

Exploring the many famous and the not so well known places in the town is interesting and some research has obviously gone into the game background. Unfortunately it's not as thorough as it might have been. The Tower of London is closed -- as are most of this places of interest -- and it bears a sign to this effect . . . a sign which concludes, with 'HAVE A NICE DAY.' Was this Americanism in existence in this time period? Also, make sure you're not sitting in a Growler cab when trying to converse with anyone, or you may find yourself misunderstood by the cabbie who will proceed to take you to a random location, miles from your desired position. This small bug can prove very annoying when in the middle of a deep and meaningful conversation with a local.

The page layout is standard Infocom style with a status bar at the top of the screen and the more than adequate text descriptions smoothly scrolling beneath. The disk supplied include both 64 and 128 versions, although an 80-column monitor is required to play the latter.

The overall feel of Sherlock -- The Riddle of the Crown Jewels is one of interest. The locations, most of the conversing and the puzzle solving are straightforward and suitably periodic. Unfortunately, once in a while there is a slip and you find yourself back in the present day sitting in front of your computer. The pigeon puzzle, the notices placed on certain buildings and the slightly feeble reason why you may not go in some directions -- 'A CROWD OF TOURISTS PUSHES YOU BACK' -- all help to kill the atmosphere that the previous few pages of text had so lovingly created. However, the initial ease with which the game allows you to play and the overall inclination it builds up to make you want to crack the case helps to compensate for these minor glitches. Infocom have once again produced an above average adventure . . . even if it's not as high as some of their previous offerings.

 
Atmosphere 78%
Interaction 79%
Challenge 84%

Overall

81%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (6 Aug 2006)
There were no screenshots in the original review (or rather, the screenshot that appeared in the original review was from the game Demons from the Darkside).

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