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Tabletop Game / Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective began life in 1981 as a series of gamebooks printed by Sleuth Productions in 1981 which has expanded into various tabletop and video media in the decades since, based upon the exploits of the legendary Sherlock Holmes.

Players are given booklets, maps, replica newspapers, and the role of investigating a series of cases (the tabletop games average ten cases in a set, while the video games each have three); once the player feels they have conducted enough investigation, they move on to a quiz section. Successfully answering every question results in a win, with a better score being achieved for searching fewer locations as well as not failing the quiz.

Modern tabletop editions of the game have been made available by Space Cowboys and Asmodee, while ICOM Simulations' successor company Zojoi released remastered versions of the video games for platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X and mobile devices. The games each star Peter Farley as Holmes and Warren Green as Dr. Watson.

The gamebooks:

  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (1981)
    • The Mansion Murders (1983) — standalone supplement
    • The Queen's Park Affair (1984) — standalone supplement
    • Adventures by Gaslight (1986) — expansion pack, requires original game to play
    • West End Adventures (1990) — standalone supplement

The video games:

  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (1991) — contains "The Mummy's Curse", "The Tin Soldier" and "The Mystified Mistress"
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II (1992) — contains "The Two Lions", "The Pilfered Paintings" and "The Murdered Munitions Magnate"
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III (1993) — contains "The Solicitous Solicitor", "The Banker's Final Debt" and "The Thames Murders"note 

The modern tabletop collections:

  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases (2012) — republishes the original ten cases
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures (2016) — republishes West End Adventures with four new cases
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Carlton House & Queen's Park (2017) — republishes The Mansion Murders and The Queen's Park Affair
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars (2020) — ten wholly original new cases

These games provide examples of:

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Several members of peerage are suspects in The Murdered Munitions Magnate. The culprit eventually turns out to be a Lord.
  • Art Evolution: The judge is just a static voiced drawing in the first video game, but became a live-action actor in the sequels.
  • Baker Street Regular: The Trope Namers can be employed to search out a location and see if anyone worthwhile is there
  • Compilation Re-release: As mentioned above, the Space Cowboys releases compile cases from the original Sleuth line together with some minor edits and updates.
  • Driven to Suicide: In The Tin Soldier, the murderer's elder sister takes her own life after she's abandoned by her lover and loses the child from that union. The knock-on effect her death has on the rest of their family culminates in the murderer challenging the victim to an honor duel when their paths happen to cross years later.
  • Dying Message: One victim flips a Duke of Wellington miniature to face the opposite of its normal direction. This is to signify that their murderer is linked to the one who opposes the Duke - Napoleon.
  • Final Exam Finale: Literally. No matter what version you play, you're quizzed on the specifics of the case in order to win.
  • Honey Trap: The lovely young Countess whom one of the victims has taken up with turns out to be a foreign spy sent to extract his secrets.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The culprit in The Murdered Munitions Magnate, who eventually ends up selling company secrets to foreign powers to earn a quick buck.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: The big draw of the video games was that they were among the first FMV games on the market, with cases and witness interviews being displayed as noninteractive cutscenes.
  • Narrative Board Game: The games revolve around solving mystery stories. The case is finished with players having to take a test about the crime(s) in question.
  • One-Book Author: Farley and Green have no other credits to their names on IMDB.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: An engineer involved in clandestine military affairs who's been visiting the French Embassy rather often eventually turns out to be just going there to meet his sweetheart on the sly, as her father doesn't approve of the match at all.
  • Public Secret Message: The newspaper for A Question of Identity has a newspaper article with a simple substitution cipher. In the next paragraph, there's an advertisement for a cryptographic machine that can automatically decode messages, and if you visit one of the locations, you learn how to decode the message much more easily.
  • Red Herring: Each case has plenty of locations that provide a redundant clue or no clue. These also include the list of informants that are available for each case, usually because they have nothing relevant towards the case in question. In case of Doctor Goldfire, it also include leads given by the person requesting the case.
  • Replay Value: The lack of this is the games' big drawback. Since the cases obviously never change, once you know the solutions to them, that's it; all there is to do is look up fan cases.
  • Scoring Points: You do better by not wasting time investigating red herrings, irrelevant locations or redundant clues. The various versions compare your score to Holmes', which essentially represents the fewest amount of investigations conducted before you can bring the case to the judge. On the other hand, getting the secondary objectives can give additional points that may allow you to surpass Holmes's investigation.
  • Sidequest: The tabletop versions have an extra set of ending questions which ask about leads you might have found while investigating that didn't fit the actual case, but still provided some sort of information on London and its people. You lose points for following extra leads, but you might regain some by answering the extra questions correctly.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: In a lucky coincidence, Consulting Detective just so happens to apply to adaptations of tabletop games that were released on CD-ROM platforms.
  • Twin Switch: A killer impersonates his victim, then asks for help.
  • Updated Re-release: Both the tabletops and video games have been revised and reprinted on various media, cleaning up their presentation and fixing some errors.
  • Wall of Text: Even in the console games, you're going to be doing a lot of reading.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Watson and Holmes will discuss possibly being in the wrong line of work if you rack up too high a score in the console games.

Alternative Title(s): Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective