Saturday, March 03, 2007

Heck, I'll Review Anything

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened - Not bad at all. First of all: It's a traditional adventure game (albeit with a 3D, GK3-esque interface, rather than 2D point-and-click) featuring Sherlock Holmes investigating a global conspiracy of Cthulhu cultists. How could I not play this game? Better yet: Despite being essentially a Cthulhu by Gaslight adventure, it also remains true to the authentic Holmes stories by not including anything that is unequivocally supernatural. The story ultimately leaves it ambiguous whether the cultists' activities would actually have awakened Cthulhu and destroyed the world, or if they were merely insane. Furthermore, this game is blessedly free of anything like the obnoxious timed stealth puzzle that intruded into the previous game in the series. The graphics are at times breathtaking, with lovely animated reflective water, bump-mapped surfaces, lovingly modeled gory, dismembered victims... Voice acting is consistently above-average for computer game voice work. I didn't encounter any game-crashing glitches. All in all, a solid game for adventure fans, Holmes fans, and Cthulhu fans. And you don't even need to leave the house to play it - it can be purchased by direct download.

However, I will say, "The Awakened" is sort of an uninspired title. I sort of prefer the original French title, La Nuit des Sacrifiés. Also, in a peculiar affectation, many of the characters in the game appear to be named after various personalities from the early history of pen-and-paper RPGs: There's a Dr. Gygax, a man named Arneson, and a couple of books authored by E. Otus and D. Niles, although they seem to have left out the obvious Petersen.

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