Dostoevsky’s Deerstalker: Crimes & Punishment

By Adam Smith on December 13th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

I can’t have been the only person in the world who found The Testament of Sherlock Holmes thoroughly entertaining, can I? They probably wouldn’t keep making the damned things if that were the case, but I don’t know anybody else who enjoys Frogwares’ Holmes adventures. There have been some rough entries over the years, but between Lovecraftian insertions, uncanny Watson and some clever deductive techniques, there have always been aspects of the series deserving of closer scrutiny. I’m hoping Crimes & Punishment, which introduces CHOICES OF JUSTICE, will be a decent mystery, building on Testament’s investigative systems.

I hope that the addition of a branching storyline doesn’t distract from the actual process of deduction, which Testament laid a decent foundation for. I was hoping I’d be joining Watson and Holmes for a Christmas brandy but that won’t be the case – at least not this year. Crimes & Punishment isn’t due until Q2 2014. Curses.

The possibility of messing up a deduction is exciting. One of the issues with Holmes, in any media, is that he can pull a solution out of his arse, explaining his process by referring to things that nobody else noticed and therefore couldn’t possibly have realised the significance of. In a game, that can be extremely frustrating and some of the worst moments in previous titles involved Holmes making a deductive leap that the player couldn’t have made themselves – even though they were playing as Holmes.

Being able to miss a clue, or misinterpret it, should put the player back in control and ratchet up the tension. Hope they pull it off.

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22 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Is Watson still played by a weeping angel?

    • solidsquid says:

      Apparently the devs have enabled it as an optional feature

  2. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    It does seem to be inspired by both LA Noire and the recent Telltale games which is intriguing but I somewhat worry about it being a multiplatform title.

    • evilsooty999 says:

      I have played all the Frogwares Sherlock games (bloody love them!) and the last one, Testament of Sherlock Holmes, was multiplatform but was great and it didn’t feel like they had made compromises for the consoles so this one should be fine as well.

      For anyone who has missed out on these games the one I enjoyed the most was Sherlock Holmes versus Arsene Lupin. It was fiendishly difficult, but had some really satisfying puzzles that could be solved if you paid attention. I remember one of the early levels where I was struggling for ages and then I noticed faint footprints on the floor that I followed throughout the building until I got to the next clue. Another highlight was solving riddles in an art gallery where you had to look for clues in various Renaissance paintings.

      Criminally underrated games.

  3. rei says:

    No, you’re not the only one who enjoys these games. I particularly liked Nemesis/Arsene Lupin since it was such innocent and polite fun SPOILER? where no one got murdered and you shook hands with the nice bad guy at the end.

  4. whilesleepinghesaid says:

    I picked up Testament recently and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Then…Then! I decided to see what I’d been missing out on and start back where it all began – The Mystery of the Mummy …Woa! After I awoke from the shock and cleaned the blood stains off my monitor where the skin on my fingers wore off as I clung desperately to the walkthrough guide, I decided to continue. I’m now on The Secret of the Silver Earing and feeling much better about my journey. I think Mystery of the Mummy defined “pixel hunting” and other clever terms.

    Looking forward to Crime and Punishments

    • Infinitron says:

      Mystery of the Mummy is shovelware. But each successive Frogwares games is slightly better than the previous one. They’ve been lucky to have a popular license that allows them to slowly learn how to design a good game over a long period of time.

      • brulleks says:

        Ooh dear. I have Mystery of the Mumy and Persian Carpet still to play, but couldn’t bring myself to go beyond the first quiz in Silver Earring, so mind-numbingly tedious was the whole process (that’s exactly what it felt like – a process, not a game).

        Everything from Nemesis onwards, however, is an absolute delight, and I can’t wait for this new one. I’ve even got a friend and his girlfriend into the series recently, so our numbers are growing

        • evilsooty999 says:

          Haha, tried Mystery of the Mummy recently and while it is the weakest I did manage to get to the last level without switching it off in disgust so it isn’t that bad. Just distinctly average.

          I didn’t finish it though as there was a nightmarish puzzle at the end that pickled my brain so I gave up :) Was alright for 1 GBP in a Steam sale though.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    Raskolnikov did it.

  6. Gilead says:

    I enjoyed about 90% of Testament, but I thought towards the end everything pretty much fell apart. I do have Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened in my backlog, too — I might give that a try.

  7. Premium User Badge

    CelticPixel says:

    I’m not familiar with the previous games although the comments here seem to suggest they’re quite good. I love the look of those one though.

    Would love to know what the song in the trailer is if anyone can enlighten me?

  8. pullthewires says:

    I like Holmes but hate Lovecraft. Are these games for me?

    • Orija says:

      “but hate Lovecraft.”
      dahellizwrongwithyou?

    • Smion says:

      Apart from The Awakened the games stay clear from indescribable horror and non-euclidean geometry, so you should be fine.

  9. TomxJ says:

    My best mate who knows NOTHING about gaming, bless him, picked sherlock vs Jack the ripper up for me as a B-day prezzie. It was so much better than i thought it would be!

    I had a crazy notion that i’d do them in chronological order after getting the back-catalogue in a bundle, but the dodgey voice acting and animation put me off the Awakening. I’ve been meaning to give Testament a go though, it looks to be cut from a different cloth than the rest of the titles.

    • evilsooty999 says:

      I have played them all and Awakened is a bit ropey, but still worth a go. The best one so far for pure fun and the quality of the puzzles is Nemsis: Sherlock Holmes versus Arsene Lupin. Testament’s great as well and has better graphics than the rest.

  10. The Random One says:

    RPS, I must confess: I spent the last twenty minutes trying to come up with a Fyodor pun and failed.

  11. DuneTiger says:

    It is a series that is hit-and-miss, but generally speaking, all of them quite fun and unsurprisingly followed up with more. It might be a small audience, but it’s enough to keep Frogwares going and I couldn’t be happier.

    Except the very first game. That’s just pure drek.

  12. Professor Paul1290 says:

    If there’s something I’ve liked about Frogware’s Sherlock Holmes games (at least the ones from The Awakened onward), it’s that despite their questionable quality as games they do succeed surprisingly well as Sherlock Holmes adaptations.

    Generally, except for alterations needed to carry on their plots, they try to stick to the source material so closely it can be rather impressive at times. They really do feel like games made by obsessive fans of the books, even if their game development and writing abilities can be a bit wonky.

    It’s something I hope continues in their new game.