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Video Game / Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsène Lupin

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In 1905 French author Maurice Leblanc, a contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introduced his audience to Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Thief extraordinaire, a character who would go on to have as much success and renown in the non-English speaking world as Doyle's own creation, detective Sherlock Holmes.

Naturally, when you have the detective's Detective on one side of the channel, and the most gentlemanly of thieves on the other, crossovers are not just considered but inevitable. Leblanc himself wrote Arsene Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes in 1908.

Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsène Lupin, alternatively titled as Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, the fourth game in the Sherlock Holmes (Frogwares) series has a premise that can be described in a single sentence: Arsène Lupin has come to England and has invited Sherlock Holmes to come out and play.

It's also the source of the infamous Creepy Watson video.

Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsène Lupin provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: During a discussion with a resident of Buckingham Palace, Holmes lists off a long list of reasons to fear Lupin, noting his skill and fiendishness, ending with:
    Holmes: And furthermore, he is French!
  • Breather Episode: The middle game of a loose trilogy within the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, all built in the same engine and released within a short span of time. Compared to Holmes's encounters with Cthulhu and Jack the Ripper in the first and third games respectively, however, going toe-to-toe with Arsène Lupin is positively pleasant.
  • Continuity Nod: Both to the original canon, and the previous game, The Awakened. Watson is shown to still be suffering from the nightmares that case brought on.
    • The Cthulhu statuette is still sitting on a filing cabinet in the corner of Baker Street. Watson complains that Mrs. Hudson still hasn't chucked it in the bin.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Game. Lupin leaves numerous clues at each crime scene that hint towards where he's going to strike next. Holmes notes that he must have been preparing his thefts for months, given the amount of preparation that has gone into laying the breadcrumbs. They're actually a distraction and not playing Lupin's game is the key to figuring out the real final heist.
  • Edutainment Game: Not explicitly designed or marketed as one, but it's hard to escape the fact there's a lot of historical facts flying around in this game. 90% of the exhibits in every location, even the irrelevant ones, have at least some flavour text.
  • Gentleman Thief: Lupin, the Ur-Example. He's clearly enjoying every minute of it, but there's no malice in what he's doing.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The bookseller, Barnes, has gone somewhat insane as a consequence of translating the Tome of Eldritch Lore back in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened.
  • Graceful Loser: When finally cornered by Holmes at his last target, Lupin's not the least bit upset at being outmaneuvered. He more or less tips his hat to Sherlock and heads home.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In the end, neither Holmes or Watson choose to document this adventure, as due to Lupin's game and conditioning, he nearly was able to frame Holmes and Watson as his accomplices in the ultimate theft of the Crown Jewels due to manipulating them into sending the police on a wild goose chase and had he succeeded, both would've been held for treason. Also, Watson would've really not wanted to recount selling Holmes' Order of the Legion of Honour.
  • Idiot Ball: Poor Watson does not have his best week. Wanting to avoid letting Holmes know the press is apparently on the scent of the thefts is understandable. When that same reporter's name is an anagram of said thief's name? Ohh, Watson...
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Lupin's last target is not Big Ben, but the Tower of London, a target he'd already "robbed" at the beginning of his crime spree.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the preceding game The Awakenednote  and the sequelnote , this is a pretty light fare.
  • Master of Disguise: Both Lupin and Holmes are shown to have a skilled knack at disguise.
  • Mirror Character: Parallels are drawn between Holmes and Lupin — both are well off, highly skilled gentlemen who do what they do mainly as a way to stave off boredom.
  • Multiple Endings: Two, depending on Holmes' final deduction:
    • Holmes Wins: While Watson and the entire London police force have a sting operation at Big Ben following Lupin's very obvious clue, Holmes realises Lupin's true goal and confronts him at the Tower of London, foiling his theft of the Crown Jewels. Lupin admits defeat and willingly leaves empty-handed.
    • Lupin Wins: Falling for Lupin's obvious final clue, a sting operation is held at Big Ben to catch him, only for nothing to happen. It's later revealed that he was actually breaking into the Tower of London at the time and successfully stole the Crown Jewels with literally no resistance. Holmes and Watson become estranged, the former even retires due to being crushed by defeat, and Lestrade is demoted to traffic duty.
  • Nintendo Hard: The puzzles/hints that Lupin leaves behind can get ridiculously obscure.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Commentary is made on the fact that Lupin embarrassing London is delighting the French to no end. They're probably just glad he's not stealing from them for a week.
  • The Prankster: Lupin's method of thievery involves a good deal of this. For example, when stealing from the National Gallery, he doesn't just make off with his chosen canvas but also stops to take down and replace countless others with the garish paintings of a French artist. "What horrors!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a statuette of Cthulhu sitting on a filing cabinet at 221B Baker Street, and the Necronomicon shows up in the reading room of the British Museum.
    • Holmes uses flash photography to stun a bat; the resulting photograph (which somehow appears instantly, like a Polaroid) shows the bat's shadow on the wall looking just like the Bat-Signal. When Holmes wonders what to do with the photo, someone suggests he give it to the camera's owner, Sergeant Wayne.
    • One of the clues Lupin leaves for Holmes is a musical score for a song called "Return" by a quartet known as the Scarabs.
    "Return! Return! Return from whence you went!"
  • Shown Their Work:
    • For starters, just try looking at every single item in the art gallery.
    • While investigating the art museum Lupin's promised to rob, you meet an artist named Horace Velmont who later turns out to have been Lupin in disguise. Those who've read the Arsène Lupin stories will already know that was one of his aliases.
  • Significant Anagram: Most of the aliases Lupin uses are anagrams of "Arsene Lupin", such as Piers U. Alenn.
  • Terrible Artist: Most of Horace Velmont's work is downright awful, aside from a self-portrait of Lupin who painted over it with a removable watercolour of his Horace alias.