The Lost Cases of 221B Baker Street PC CD
Published by: Focus Multimedia
Developed by: Legacy Interactive
Hidden object games have really taken off over the last few years and there are absolutely loads of them on the market at the moment. With so many of them out there, a hidden object game needs something special to stand out. Given that in quite a few of these games you play as some kind of detective it was only a matter of time before we had such a game that put you in the shoes of the most famous detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes.
The Lost Cases of 221B Baker Street gives you sixteen main cases to solve and a bonus game that can be played once all of the sixteen cases have been solved. The cases are set in forty-five locations scattered around Victorian London. You can choose to play in either Timed or Relaxed mode and it should be noted that the Timed mode is not quite as generous as the time allowances that you’re given in the Mystery P.I. games so you’ll have to be on your toes to not run out of time. The game also has a fair amount of dialogue. Should you not wish to concentrate on the dialogue and simply get on with the puzzles, you can opt to play with minimal dialogue.
One of the things I really appreciate about The Lost Cases is that quite a lot of the items you have to find tie in to the story line somehow. In hidden object games it usually feels as though you’re simply finding a random bunch of stuff for no apparent reason but that’s not exactly the case here and the game is all the better for it. Some of the items you find will trigger dialogue and some will also trigger a puzzle. Some of these puzzles can be tricky but other than receiving a lower score for solving the case, there is no real penalty for failing to solve the puzzles.
In addition to hunting for hidden objects within a scene, you’ll also be spotting the differences between two similar scenes, sorting suspects into categories and memorising which evidence objects are associated with each suspect. The cases, for the most part, are quite short in length and can comfortably be played through in a short gaming session. If there’s one complaint I have it’s that I would have liked the storyline for each case to have been rather more substantial. However, you are getting more storyline here than you are in most hidden object games.
The presentational qualities of the game are pretty much par for the course with a hidden object game. The screen resolution is a low 800x600 and the 2D visuals are nothing impressive although the game certainly has a Victorian look and charm about it. Virtually all of the information in the game is visual and you’ll always be aware of what needs to be done. The tutorial messages are in text and all of the storyline dialogue is too, with character names and portraits being displayed alongside the text. There are some comments that are not subtitled. Occasionally there’s an “Exemplary” or “Congratulations” when completing a puzzle or solving a case and a “Cheerio!” when exiting the game and these comments aren’t subtitled. None of these omissions are of any importance however.
If hidden object games are your thing and you are a fan of Victorian England and Sherlock Holmes in particular, then The Lost Cases of 221B Baker Street will certainly be to your liking. The storylines certainly aren’t up to Conan Doyle’s standard but they are decent enough to make this hidden object game feel unique and it’s refreshing to have more of a storyline in a game of this type. The game also nicely ties in most of the objects you find with the overall storyline and on the whole it’s definitely a game that fans of the genre should play.