Everyone loves Sherlock Holmes adventures. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's timeless adventures sit alongside Agatha Christie as doyens of the murder mystery. The character has been played by everyone from Basil Rathbone and Robert Downey Jr on the big screen to Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller on tv and the stories are as brilliant as anything seen on CSI or SVU. Now Holmes takes on a brand new adventure inside this beautiful, next generation interactive book application for iOS. As the byline says, it will make you look at interactive books in a whole new light.
SHERLOCK: Interactive Adventure is a brand new project that offers a unique interpretation of Conan Doyle’s 1891 novel, "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League." However, rather than it being just another iDevice version of the original book, this app is the first of its kind to combine a book and an audiobook while neatly incorporating historical research, an illustrated encyclopedia and film clips as well as gorgeous video game elements. The adventure is set in its true location in the latter part of the 19th Century and features all the protagonists and supporting cast from the original story. Unlike a simple e-book re-reading, the app features dozens of items of evidence for you to discover and is beautifully recreated with the creaks and thuds of everyday life including the rustle of the wind and an omnibus going past - all embellished with entrancing music chosen specifically for every scene. You will find notes with curious and interesting facts and weighty issues relating to the life of the capital on the banks of the Thames, as well as a detailed map of London. The streets and the interiors of the houses have been lovingly recreated on the basis of authentic sketches, paintings and photos from the time. The app takes you through the twists and turns of the plot across 30 scenes different scenes and using unique 3D animation and video clips to draw you even deeper into the story. It takes you on a journey to Victorian England and, without distorting any of the facts of the case as laid down by Conan Doyle, you even get to have your say on how the narrative unfolds.
Is it a book or is it a game - that's the question we are asking here. It matters little because Sherlock is, quite simply, a wonderfully entertaining entry into the interactive genre. It's 3D images are up there with the best video games and it is fabulous to scroll around each of the scenes to try and find clues and follow the detail of, what is, a great story. It's also a relief to find out that the developers went for historical accuracy on the project and every word of Conan Doyle's story is delivered and illustrated with beautifully drawn scenes that come to life. While the story itself is quite short, the interactive elements turn it into a fulfilling experience. I really want to see more interactive stories being made - maybe Patrick Susskind's wonderful "Parfume" next time... complete with Smell-o-Vision. But, for the meantime, I'm more than happy with Sherlock.