By John Walker on October 3rd, 2008 at 11:49 am.
Frogwares are the latest the get on the respectable remastering train. Like a director who realises his film’s special effects were a bit poop, and decides to do a better job for a later DVD release, a number of developers are looking back at their older games and realising how they could improve them. In this case, it’s Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, now released from the first-person perspective, with an optional third-person mode, which should appease many adventure fans. There’s a video detailing the changes below.
So either their engine was far more impressive than it looked, and they made a rather odd decision to enforce first-person in the first place, or they’ve done a lot of work with it since to get it to look so natural in third-person. Of course, it will still be the same dodgy game with an utterly un-Holmes-like story, made worse by the astonishingly poor acting. As you’ll hear in the video above, Watson sounds like he’s reading a bedtime story to a slow child, while Holmes has the voice of a precocious 14 year old.
Adding the third-person mode might undo my most favourite thing about the game though. Both in The Awakened, and the following Nemesis, the engine worked in such a way that when playing Holmes you never saw Watson following you. As if engaged in some city-wide game of What’s The Time Mr Wolf?, whenever you looked at him he stood stock still. This meant you could walk backward from him along a long, straight road until he was barely visible in the distance. Look away, look back, and BAM! He was standing right in front of you, his expressionless eyes staring through you. It was terrifying, every single time.
All praise to Frogware for caring enough about their games to put this much effort into the two year old ones. (Rise above it, people). New actors in the future would be a good thing. And a story in keeping with Holmes at his best. It’s odd that the Frogwares have so far chosen to have their adventures be in keeping with the last few Holmes stories, where Doyle was clearly completely bored of the character, and deeply embroiled in his dalliance with mysticism. How marvellous it would be to have a Holmes adventure written with the ingenuity of Doyle’s singular talent for crafting rationality in the face of the impossible.