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The Game's Afoot

In this original mystery adventure, test your sleuthing skills as you assume the role of Sherlock Holmes, master detective. An explosion sets off a criminal chain of events - theft, treason, and murder. Thrill to the chase as you investigate a highly sensitive case, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Victorian England. During the investigation you are called on to unravel heinous crimes, maintain national security, save the government from public ridicule and impeachment, and protect the honour of the Royal family. It's all in a day's work for the world's most famous detective.
  • Visit over 50 beautifully rendered 3D locations.
  • Experience Victorian England with a full cast of over 90 video-captured characters with fully digitised dialogue.
  • Cinematic sequences progress the events of the game.
  • The musical score sets the mood whether you are on the hunt, or relaxing in the pub.
  • Clever puzzles and games will challenge your wits as you search for clues throughout London and the countryside.
  • Use the point and click lab table to examine evidence with 7 different experiments.

~ from the back of the box

Sherlock Holmes is back with another Lost File. Four years after the first one, Mythos Software and Electronic Arts bring us The Case of the Rose Tattoo, a handsome point-and-click adventure starring everyone's favourite socially inept detective. While featuring a fine mystery, the first game was a rather passive experience so let's see if this sequel fares any better.

Once again, the title of the case comes before us in the morgue. Before it was the jagged wounds of a serrated scalpel, now it's a rose tattoo on a dead guy's arse. We don't learn that piece of information until a few hours into the adventure, but even before that we're presented with an exciting exposition. The exclusive Diogenes Club, or "the queerest spot in London" as Sherlock dubs it, suffered a gas explosion leaving one member dead and the other Holmes, Mycroft, hospitalised and high on painkillers. Along with Dr. Watson, our Baker Street residents investigate and stumble upon the flowery-bottomed body of another murder in the process.

Right-click to access the options menu where you can save and load the game (left).
You can also peek at your inventory too (right).

With handsome background art, digitised sprites and voice acting for all but the narrator it has been vastly improved from a presentation standpoint. The verb list has been removed, replaced with a context-sensitive right-click menu. It is from here where you can access your inventory and the options menu where you can save and load a game. It's all neat and tidy, allowing you to soak in every pixel of the SVGA graphics without any clutter. Other than selecting an action or response from a list, left-clicking will always "look" at a hotspot. At first, I felt this a little annoying as more clicks are needed to open doors or talk to characters, but as I understood the mechanics of the game I began to understand why this is the case; to attain knowledge.

In the first game, most information was gathered through dialogue. It's somewhat true here too, but a look of dialogue options will not appear until you've looked at something. This forces you to logically deduce a line of questioning instead of click in a list of responses. It's not devoid of other puzzles either. A surly nurse blocks the way to a hospital ward while a number of policemen, butlers and bouncers block you from witnesses and crime scenes. Some workarounds are quite inventive, with Sherlock's own brand of intellectually dismissive persuasion techniques doing more harm than good. One copper wants to know the secret of a busker's unwinnable card game; another needs more persuasion than a detective agency's calling card. And that nurse... Well, let's just say you need to test her care for her patients.

The map of London makes a comeback, complete with vintage photography to set the scene (left).
You first encounter the titular Rose Tattoo on a dead guy's bum (right).

You're inventory gets more use here too, though most of the puzzles don't require clever use of your holdings. There's no item combining or manipulating to discover further clues. Instead, each item has their own right-click list of verbs with the one context-sensitive one signposting precisely how it's used. You can "show" a permission document, but you cannot "give" it like you can your business card. Likewise, points of interest on the game screen have a right-click verb you may not have considered otherwise. You can "listen" at one door, but not another, so you know there's some good stuff going on behind it. Some rubble can be "rummaged" in clueing you in to the fact that an item is to found. That other pile doesn't have the verb so you know it has nothing.

In some ways, this makes the game a lot easier tan it's contemporaries. Click on all options available to you and you further the plot. Yet, despite this, the game is no cake walk. Some nicely themed logic puzzles crop up that really test your mental agility. Mycroft's hidden messages are a particular highlight requiring additional knowledge to solve. Dr. Watson is still there if you get really stuck, being a constant presence to offer hints as well as be key is solve some puzzles. His journal also makes a pleasant return, its entries reading like a novel being written as we play. In a nice touch, you can export it as a basic text file to read outside of the game. It makes for a pretty good read.

Lab testing has been greatly improved. They're actually puzzles this time round (left).
Click "Save Journal" to get a copy Watson's notes in .txt format. Find it in the Saves folder (right).

Sherlock's lab desk also makes a comeback, and it's far better implemented here. In the first game, it was automated, but that is not the case here. You have to pour each and every chemical into the beaker. Holmes and Watson do give clues beforehand, but generally it's trial and error - if it's wrong, you cannot do it. Even so, it does feel like you're working on an investigation much more than the first game.

If I were to give one criticism to Sherlock Holmes' most recent Lost File, I'd say it's slow. Whether controlling Watson in the prologue or the famous sleuth himself, your character moves at a snail's pace. While you can skip the opening cinematic and lines of dialogue, you cannot skip walking, door opening or witnessing Holmes take off his outside coat and put on his lounge jacket time and time again. Luckily, the mystery at the heart of the game is more than enough to suffer these moments, even if the occasional Americanism creeps into a quintessentially English character (it was weird to hear him say "pants" instead of "trousers").  All-in-all, The Case of the Rose Tattoo is a high quality old-school adventure that I highly recommend.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses ScummVM to allow the game to run on modern PCs. Manuals, Clue Book and Reference Card included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 504 Mb.  Install Size: 764 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo is © Electronic Arts
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Thank you very much for your efforts in restoring these gems, especially these Sherlock Holmes games. I remember them very fondly from my early teens playing them! Back then it was annoying trying to play this one as it barely ran on my 486 DX2 and the voice fx would suddenly just stop playing because it ran out memory lol... Thank you!

    1. I didn't have these games back then, but I always looked at this one in particular whenever I browsed the game store shelves hoping I would one day. Glad I've played them now, they're pretty decent overall.