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Old 02-26-2007, 11:22 AM   #1
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Default Sherlock Holmes Serrated Scalpel for 3DO

Thought I'd post about this interesting version of a well-loved adventure from about 15 years ago. (So well-loved in fact it was #9 on the old Top 20 list, as I recall.)

The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes was a cool franchise, with heapings of proper Victorian ambience. Unfortunately the PC version of Case of the Serrated Scalpel didn't have voices all the way through, just during a few cutscenes.

Interestingly, though, the 3DO port of Serrated Scalpel not only had full voice throughout the game, it also had digitized video clips of actors (with British accents!) in costume reading the lines, which replaced the characters' stylized mini-portraits found in the PC version. I guess this was sort of a stepping-stone to the use of digitized actors everywhere in Rose Tattoo.

It took me a while to track down this version, but it's definitely a very cool find. Certainly the actors are rather good, and look good in costume. This isn't a repeat of the KQ5 CD.

A curious "feature" is that the journal of conversations recorded by Watson is missing, probably because it got to be hundreds of pages in the PC version and might have been a bit much for the 3DO to process.

A fun fact: The new actors hired for the 3DO port also rerecorded the lines said by other actors for the cutscenes in the PC version.

Perhaps my biggest gripe is that there are only 8 save slots, compared to the original version's 30. Also, the fonts are a little blurry, designed to be read on a TV screen of the mid-1990s. Still, it's a very cool port.

Screenshots below:






If any AGites happen to have a 3DO and want to try it, I think there are a couple of copies available on eBay at the moment.

Last edited by ATMachine; 02-26-2007 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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Does it have voices and videos everywhere? I remember that there was a lot of dialogue in this game (even without including all the descriptions), and I'm somewhat surprised that they could fit all of that on a CD with the compression methods of the time.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:39 AM   #3
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I haven't played through the whole game yet so I can't say for certain, but every dialogue line that Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, and whoever you like has said so far (i.e. in places where there's normally no dialogue in the PC version, like at the crime scene) has been in the form of a video box of the live-action actor, with accompanying audio. So yes, it does appear to have voice and video all the time. But there isn't a narrator voice.

Also the port was done in 1994, two years after the game was first released on PC. So there might be the answer.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:47 PM   #4
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I just finished a playthrough on my 3DO machine and here are some random comments:

-Voices and videos do indeed occur throughout the game. By my count there was only one line out of several thousand which was not voiced and video'd, and that probably due to a bug or to accidental lack of a recording.

-Dr. Watson's voice is much more mesmerizing than in Rose Tattoo.

-The text dialogue is not programmed to sync with the video. This means that, with dialogue that is over four lines long (as only 4 lines can fit on the bottom of the screen at once), just the first four lines show up while the video is playing. When the video clip ends, the rest of the text shows up, and stays on for a long time before removing itself, while the character's sprite comically flaps its mouth. Probably the most serious flaw in the port, and pretty much unsolvable without cutting up the videos mid-sentence.

-Most of the video actors match up quite well to their stylized sprites. The clothes and faces are often uncanny matches, considering the 2-year gap in production. (Inspector Gregson is a notable exception.)

-The actors seem to be a mix of real British talent and Americans putting on British accents. It works quite well though, as there's not really any bad acting. Certainly the dialogue displays a good balance of regional accents, which serves to keep it entertaining.

-You have to press a button on the controller to toggle between moving the cursor around the gameplay area (or "room") and selecting verbs or inventory objects. While this would be highly inconvenient on a PC, it works well with a 3DO gamepad.

-Sherlock Holmes has some long mutton chops. In Rose Tattoo they've disappeared, which is a good thing as there Holmes looks much more like he does in the work of the original illustrator, Sidney Paget, who never showed long sideburns on the great detective.

-As I noted earlier, the Journal is missing entirely, the dialogue font is blurrier than on the PC, and the original PC voices used in certain cutscenes have been rerecorded with the new actors.

-If you really want you can turn the voices off. But why would you want to?

-The Map screen actually uses the 320x240 pixels available on the 3DO, as opposed to the 320x200 resolution carried over from the PC everywhere else in the port.

-In the PC version, text windows scroll up from the bottom of the screen, rather quickly. But in the 3DO version they fold up, as a 3D object, in something similar to how, say, a car's hood opens.

Last edited by ATMachine; 02-27-2007 at 03:47 AM. Reason: added a new factoid
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:35 PM   #5
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Oh wow, this is cool. I never knew this existed. I had a 3DO and I definetely would've gotten this game if I knew about it.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATMachine View Post
If any AGites happen to have a 3DO and want to try it, I think there are a couple of copies available on eBay at the moment.


Do you know if this game works with FreeDO?
http://www.freedo.org/
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takver View Post
Do you know if this game works with FreeDO?
http://www.freedo.org/
I did test the opening bit of the game with FreeDO, and that's where I got the screenshots. The introduction doesn't play correctly; it has to be skipped. But otherwise gameplay seems to be fine (maybe the only problem is a bit of slowdown on the video clips). I haven't played it completely through yet on FreeDO though, because at present I can't figure out how to get the emulator to save my game.
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