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Melbourne House
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Clive Gifford, Gary Smart, Neil Mackintosh, Peter Shaw
Chris Bourne

Sherlock the so-called sequel to The Hobbit is with us at last. I say 'so-called' because in actual content there's little resemblance between Middle Earth fantasy of The Hobbit and the Victorian setting of Sherlock.

Again, Sherlock is an adventure which has yet to be beaten. It's based (of course) around the famous series of books and follows the detail of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories quite accurately.

The Melbourne House team, headed by Hobbit programmer Phillip Mitchell, has made a good use of detail and the overall effect is most realistic. From taking a Hansom cab or train from Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes never walked unless he had to), to paying for everything in pounds, shillings and pence, one's taken realistically back to the Victorian streets and submerged in a really impressive adventure setting.

Presumably sheer size and realism have taken their toll of available memory, so the result is simpler than The Hobbit, though not by much. Sherlock also boasts Animtalk and Inglish. Animtalk is a development that allows the player to converse and instruct the other characters in the adventure - including the amiable Watson, the baffled Inspector Lestrade and a host of 'nasties' (from the humblest housebreaker to... no, that would be telling.)

Inglish is a more significant development. It allows you to talk to the characters and control Holmes in a language that's far closer to plain English than has previously been achieved with Spectrum adventures. A sentence like 'pick up the note and take the lamp out of the house', or 'open the window quietly with the large stick' will be happily accepted and acted upon by the computer.

Is Sherlock as good as The Hobbit? I'd say yes and possibly (though further playing would reinforce this) even a little better.

Not Rated

Screenshot Text

Sherlock - an elementary program from Melbourne House - looks set to top The Hobbit!