Welcome back! I hope you got your score guesses in because it is time to dive into the first case. Just as in the previous game, we have three cases to choose from; while we can play them in any order, I’m going to take them sequentially as I expect the authors intended. While I have nothing to show for it yet, I have reached out to some of the team responsible for this game to answer some lingering questions that I have, and possibly even to get an interview. We’ll be playing for roughly seven more weeks and I’d like to try to see what we can learn before the end. We shall see!
The first case is “The Two Lions”. The original tabletop game featured this as the third case, called “The Lionized Lions”, but beyond the similar title I have not looked to see if there are any differences as I am avoiding spoilers. Unlike many of the previous cases, there is only a cursory introductory movie: just a single still image of a note on our door, telling us that something will interest us in the day’s Times. Who put the note on our door? What might we find to be of interest? How will we get paid for a case of “ding dong dash”? I guess that is what we need to discover.
The blurb on the back of the box tells us, "What they said about Sherlock I, you'll say about Sherlock II." I am fairly certain that there have never been truer words in advertising because that is exactly how I feel opening up Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II. It’s cliche to say that everything old is new again, but it seems especially true in this case as we are introduced to three new cases for Mr. Holmes and his trusty companions to solve, all taken from the original tabletop game.
In the history of video games, this seems fairly rare. Most sequels-- but certainly not all-- adjust something in the follow ups. The Ultima games were famous for never re-using an engine in their main numbered games. In the adventure space, Sierra and LucasArts reused their engines, but rarely had sequels that used exactly the same engine. Even when they did, they made significant changes in the gameplay. (I’m tempted to say that King’s Quest II may be an exception.) The early Wizardry sequels were more like expansion packs than new games and maybe that is the right way to think about this one. It is “Volume II” rather than “II”, after all. Is that such a bad thing? We’ll just have to see.