The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo

Posted by Joe Antol.
First posted on 20 November 1997. Last updated on 26 February 2015.
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The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo
The Victorian England landscape is familiar to fans of Sherlock Holmes.
The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo
An explosion heralds trouble for the legendary detective.
The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo
A good laboratory is part of the repertoires for solving the case.

The Lost Files Of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo is the sequel to The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes - The Case of the Serrated Scalpel. Although the characters Sherlock Holmes and John H Watson are created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the story depicted in this game is not based on his work. Despite this, such creative adaptation of one of the world's most famous fictional detective should offer plenty of intriguing mysteries to fans who yearn for a trial of deductive reasoning. As Holmes himself says, "The game's afoot."

The Case of the Rose Tattoo is not a case that is easily solved. You assume the role of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock's brother has been injured in an explosion during a social function at the Diogenes Club. What causes the explosion? Who is responsible? Why does it occur? The case at hand is as baffling as it is perilous. You will need all of the master detective's prodigious sleuthing skills to solve it. The spectacular explosion initiates a tortuous investigation into a tangled web of theft, treason, and murder. Immersed in the vivid atmosphere of Victorian England, you will need to unravel several heinous crimes, protect the national security, defend the government from public ridicule, and preserve the honor of the nation's most famous family. It is all in a day's work for the world's most famous detective!

The Case of the Rose Tattoo is actually part of the Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes kept by Dr Watson, according to the game's publisher, "In October of 1889, the formula for a new and extraordinarily powerful explosive disappeared from the Ministry of Defense. Sherlock's brother Mycroft, an eccentric but influential government servant, launched an official though secret inquiry into the theft, but his effort was thwarted. Just before asking Sherlock to undertake an independent investigation of the theft, Mycroft was seriously injured in an explosion that leveled the Diogenes Club. Sherlock, believing his brother had been victimized by a random gas leak, retired disconsolate to 221B Baker St. Dr. Watson, with a little luck and much effort, managed to reanimate his friend by posing one critical question: "What if the explosion that injured Mycroft had not been an accident?" The answer to this query sent Holmes down a long and twisted road of discovery. Sherlock, for the first time in his career, acknowledged that his motivation was something other than a desire for justice. With single-minded ferocity he pursued, cajoled, questioned, and confronted suspects from smug Mayfair to the pitiful and dangerous East End. Gradually, through observation and deduction, he developed a picture of a huge criminal enterprise initiated by a masterful adversary. To penetrate this perilous conspiracy and frustrate its intent he solved several capital crimes. Holmes applied his customary courage, acumen, and intelligence to these daunting tasks. In so doing he quashed a potentially volatile international incident, defended the national security, protected the honor of the royal family, exonerated the innocent and delivered rough and swift punishment to the guilty. The shocking and surprising resolution of the case made it necessary to seal Watson's precious account for 100 years. That is how The Case of the Rose Tattoo became one of the Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes."

In The Lost Files Of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo, over 50 beautiful Victorian England locations are rendered and movie style video sequences are used to capture the dramatic moments of the story. Actors are video captured and digitized to provide character overlays on the pre-rendered backdrops. The game also features detailed external environments as well as professional voice characterizations with hours of digitized speech. The game plays out full screen in a protected mode (32-bit flat model) in SVGA resolution, utilizing see through popup windows for the interface to implement a wide variety of new features. Involving extensive camera work in Mythos Software's onsite studio, the development included the filming of 160 actors against a blue screen and integrating them into computer generated scenes.

The player alternates in controlling Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The interface is based on a simple point and click system. A mini laboratory containing 7 different forensic tools can be used to examine the evidence. As you progress, new icons denoting new locations appear on the map of London where you can continue your investigation. There are also a handful of puzzles along the way. The introduction is excellent and gives a great deal of background information and details for you to work with while solving the mystery. This is a very long game. Unlike other games of this genre, it holds my attention throughout. You will not get bored easily while unraveling a rich and coherent story. This game makes excellent use of both videos and graphics, and offers plenty of characters to interact with and interrogate. It is very entertaining to watch the story unfold as you click along. Whether you want to test your brain power or just watch a fascinating mystery unfold, this is a game you will enjoy.

Unfortunately, the gameplay in The Lost Files Of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo tends to be very linear. This is not to say that you will not be scratching your head attempting to solve the case as it unfolds. Even with the linearity, you need to interrogate many characters over and over in order to uncover new storylines and clues. If you miss something during a critical interrogation you may initially find yourself in what you think to be a dead end. Fortunately, this is not to be the case. By going through the questioning meticulously (as Sherlock would do) you will find that you can always advance. In fact, the game includes a hint book to give you assistance should you get stuck.

There are two areas in the game I find especially annoying. Moreover, the designers choose to include a few arcade exercises in which you absolutely need to complete in order to advance in the game. One of which is a game of darts that you must win from a pool shark. I know of a fellow gamer that has given up the game at this point because he cannot win the game of darts and hence cannot advance. This is a shame because the balance of the game is quite good if you can complete this challenge. I feel there should have been a way to win the dart game by forcing it if needed. Not every adventure gamer appreciates having to develop a twitch factor as is needed in a shooter or action title.

Overall, The Lost Files Of Sherlock Holmes - Case of the Rose Tattoo is a game with a great story and good puzzles. This is a worthy sequel. As Holmes says, "The game's afoot."

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