The game brought some new features into the series, such as the ability to observe and analyze suspects, or several quick-time-events. Other than its sequels, it features not one criminal case, but several, which have no overarching plot.
Not to be confused with Crime and Punishment Tropes, but definitely a reference to Crime and Punishment; Holmes is seen reading the book at various points in the game, and faces a choice To Be Lawful or Good at the end.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments contains examples of:
- Always Murder: Naturally. There are several times where Holmes investigate things that aren't murders, only for it to lead to dead bodies eventually. At one point, Holmes shows up to a public garden expecting to just be investigating the theft of a few rare plants as a favor to someone. The moment he shows up he finds out the director of the gardens has recently been murdered, which is, of course, related to the missing plants.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Most of the time you play as Sherlock, but a few mini-games lets you play as Watson, with one instance as Toby and another as a random police officer.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Once you beat a case, you can replay it with access to that dashing robe that you were forced to change out of at the beginning of case one.
- Asshole Victim: Two victims abuse their wives and are alcoholics. The rest are not exactly nice people either.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: If you choose the correct solution in one of the cases, the murderer accuses his accomplice of betraying him and draws a revolver. Watson can shoot the gun away to save the accomplice's life.
- Breather Episode: The Abbey Grange Affair comes after Riddle on the Rails, a long case with many crime scenes and clues, and Blood Bath, a very complicated case with many puzzles, several suspects and six possible conclusions. In contrast Abbey Grange is straightforward, has only two suspects and one crime scene, and the game practically gives you the answer partway through investigating it. It can be finished in only a few minutes, and the only thing the player is in danger of is jumping the gun by choosing the technically true conclusion before getting the last few threads that allow the full story.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sherlock, very much.
- Lestrade: Admit that, for once, Scotland Yard is a step ahead of you.Sherlock: (unimpressed) ...Breathtaking.
- Demoted to Extra: Watson, compared to the previous game, in which he stood on equal footing with Sherlock in terms of gameplay and relevance. Here, he only really contributes to a few minigames, and mostly exists as a sounding board for Sherlock's awesomeness.
- Detective Drama: Obviously.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: Basically how all cases start out. Only after finding a few clues you can usually settle on a smaller circle of suspects.
- Eye Scream: The victim in the "Blood Bath" case is killed with a single blow that penetrates his eye socket and goes all the way to the brain.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: What gets the game its M-rating; due to the above trope.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Holmes will take anything from anywhere if he even vaguely thinks it will help him on his current case, including breaking into a suspect's luggage when they're not looking and stealing their private documents.
- Mini-Game: Has several, such as recognizing a tobacco brand by rotating picture fragments until they look like the brand logo.
- The Nose Knows: You take control of Toby, Sherlock's pet Basset Hound, a couple of times and use his sense of smell to follow suspect's trails.
- Sherlock himself identifies several clues (most of them to do with discarded tobacco) via his sense of smell.
- Only Sane Man: The game opens with Sherlock blasting a collection of vases in his sitting room. Blindfolded. When Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and Watson all converge, Lestrade asks for a turn, while Mrs. Hudson bemoans the mess she is going to have to clean up. Only Watson questions the decision to fire a pistol in a populated area.
- The Perfect Crime: Attempted by the killer in the third case - to an extent also in the second. Of course, Sherlock sees right through it (or not, if the player makes the wrong conclusions).
- Scenery Porn: Especially Baker Street, which has crazy amounts of detail. You can spend quite some time looking at all the details scattered lovingly in the three rooms.
- Sherlock Scan: Has to be used to progress in most cases. Done by observing details on the suspect's body.
- Shout-Out: During the Blood Bath Case you can find a letter to a man named Calvin about his pranks done with best friend Hobbes (who apparently likes tuna sandwiches), with a warning that all bad behavior will be reported to Mr. Wormwood.
- Sympathetic Murderer: You can view the fourth case like this. You also have an option to come to this conclusion in 5 of the other cases, but that's more questionable. The only exception to the rule is the second case, where you are given the option to have the police publicly arrest the perps, or have Mycroft and his men do so quietly.
- Title Drop: In one of the carriage-riding loading screens, Holmes is reading Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers spoil several important plot points, from single twists in the cases up to the entire solution of the first case.