Game Review: “Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper”

Fellas, I love Sherlock Holmes and I know that all of you love ‘em too. Unless, of course, you don’t, … in which case, well, shucks, you measly scamps will have to bare with me. I love the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, having almost read anything the guy ever wrote on the character inspired by Joseph Bell. I believe the BBC television show Sherlock could very well be one of the best shows that I have ever seen, and the Robert Downey Jr. movies are jolly good fun. I can’t get enough of the character, .. and so, … it was only natural that I would want to test the waters for Sherlock Holmes in the video-game realm. Frogwares has done that, … once, … twice, … or five times, but this game that I’ll be looking at marks the first time that one of these games has been released on the Xbox 360. 

And not only that, … not only that, this tale features Sherlock Holmes in a unique new story that hasn’t been seen before, where he is trying to figure out the dastardly Jack the Ripper.

Dun … Dun … DUN!

Get outta town, no way, no way would they actually take Sherlock Holmes, my favorite detective, (besides Vulpecula Noel, of course.) and Jack the Ripper, my favorite … killer (that doesn’t feel very good saying out-loud) in a video-game. I mean, whenever it comes to having encounters based on real serial-killers, it’s always a little touchy, and rightfully so. While I absolute adore horror movies, I rant and raved about Dahmer vs. Gacy but I thoroughly enjoyed Zodiac. What’s the difference? Well, for example, one of them is a horrible movie, but a lot of it is because you shouldn’t have real murders framed in a way that makes light of them.

Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper treats the victims with actual respect, it researches and takes note of the actual murders, but doesn’t paint much illustration for their actual demises. If you use common-sense and be respectful, I believe that nothing should ever be off-limits.

There was so much potential for this story, however, it’s the cast involved that really causes for everything to derail. The reason that Sherlock Holmes is so lovable as a character is because of his eccentricities. His worst enemy isn’t murderers or even his brothers, it’s boredom, and it drives him insane. It happens to the point where he has a brewing cocaine addiction, and then, there’s his own personality. He is an absolute narcissist with compulsive tendencies  that just make him terrible to be around. His character has a lot of depth, … and I love him for it.

However, in Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, his character shows absolutely no sign of those characteristics, … he might as well by Fred from Scooby Doo! when it comes to personality.

The dialogue is written atrociously and doesn’t do any justice to the character, and the voice-acting isn’t exactly how I imagined him either. John Watson isn’t done much better, he doesn’t have many traits or mannerisms, nor does he show much in the way of inflection. They felt more like props to advance the story, rather than people.

The game is about solving clues and catching bad guys, but it should also be about doing it as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

… Then, there’s the graphics. How’s the scenery for this oh-so riveting adventure? I mean, a game entirely dedicated to the idea of solving clues, … man, everything must be so much detailed and visually apparent.

Well, to tell you the truth, they look like something that might have meant a decent Original Xbox or PlayStation 2 video-game. And they just don’t measure up to other games that were released at this time. This was 2009, even at that time, there were so many beautifully embroidered video-games being released. It wasn’t even that long ago, but everything looks below-average at best. From Baker Street to London, for the most part, there is no attention to detail, which is saddening considering that what always make Sherlock Holmes special was his attention to detail.

Along with this, … while there may not be a ginormous area to navigate around, I found it to be constructed terribly, with some of the most prominent buildings being discovered by chance because they don’t look anymore intricate than the ones that are added for scenery. I will say that they are good enough for this kind-of game, the kind-of game that I would have never expected to be released onto a console.

So, where as we now… we’re off schedule, so, um, the game-play, that’s important, right?

“Well, yeah, Nikolai, the game-play is a main fundamental piece into every video-game, while a game can be great with great game-play, it can’t be great with simply a great story or graphics.”

Oh, well good, so what you are saying is that there’s a chance that this game will be good from game-play itself?


The game-play featured in Sherlock Holmes versus  Jack the Ripper is the product of what a three-year old child comes up with whenever he’s given an hour and a full-pack of broken crayons. No sheet of paper? No, he has to scribble it down on the fucking table.

That’s a little harsh, … but the game-play just doesn’t have enough redeeming qualities. You didn’t have any mannerisms of Sherlock Holmes, and now, the game-play sucks?

What exactly do you spend your time doing?

You’ll spend your time wandering about London, trying to find clues, however, even though this is supposed to be Sherlock Holmes battling against the dangerous Jack the Ripper, more often than not, you are condemned to doing herons and having meaningless discussions with civilians.And while, it’s safe to suspect this at the beginning, you’ll be saddened to find out that it never actually gets interesting. Then, whenever the time comes that you are forced to identify a body, you’ll find yourself inspecting for hours and hours, only to discover that you missed something completely away from the crime-scene.

I actually remember one instant where I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go,  I kept looking around, only to find out what I was looking for was a footprint in the dark-part of a hospital right after you enter. You have the option to use either first-person or third-person, but third-person is so awkward that it is rendered useless.

I don’t want it to be misconstrued that I believe the game needs to hold your hand in every case, but when I look around everywhere for something only to go and talk to someone I’ve already talked to, to help me in a case that isn’t even slightly linked… it makes me want to rip my hair out!

In conclusion, Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper is riddled with flaws, irritations, and aggravations. For everything that I enjoyed about the game, … there’s like six things that I hated. Bad voice-acting. Bad Dialogue. Bad graphics. Bad story. Bad Game-Play.


Thanks for reading…

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0