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Video Game / Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper

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Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper is a 2009 game developed by Frogware, which pits the famous detective against Jack the Ripper. The fifth game in the Frogware series, the story takes place in Victorian London and the major focus is on the district of Whitechapel, where the infamous murders took place. This puzzle/adventure game has a surprisingly large amount of historical accuracy, as real evidence is used to help deduce the identity of the killer, and the player, as either Holmes or Watson, can interrogate real suspects from the period.

Not to be mistaken for the Sue Mary fanfic Sherlock Homes vs. Jack the Ripper.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adventure Game: Within that genre, though the exploration is downplayed to mostly exploring different areas of London.
  • Artistic License – History: In reality, Arthur Conan Doyle only introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world the year before the Jack the Ripper murders took place, and it was not until 3 years afterwards (i.e. in 1891) that the fictional detective was well known to the public, incidentally this was also the year the case was filed away.
  • Baker Street Regular: As usual, Sherlock gets help from his orphaned street urchins.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently, Sherlock Holmes managed to find Jack the Ripper, but kept quiet about it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Holmes solves the Ripper case, but covers up his investigation to avoid the potential anti-Semitic violence that would have erupted if the Ripper's identity was made public. Jacob Levy, the real "Jack the Ripper", is never formally apprehended, but is instead imprisoned by Whitechapel's Jewish community for the remainder of his life.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: The player can choose between first- and third-person perspective at any time during the game.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • References are made to Sir Bromsby from the Case of the Silver Earring. As the game is set in 1888note , it also contains nods to future adventures, such as Watson noting how he and Holmes should visit Switzerland one day, and the French champagne from a "young admirer", signed Raoul d'Andresynote .
    • The apparent contradiction of these events with those of The Hound of the Baskervilles is explained at the end. Holmes suggests that to cover up their involvement in the case, Watson should come up with a ludicrously fictional adventure putting them far outside of London, chasing after a supernatural hound with glowing breath. Watson dismisses him, saying that It Will Never Catch On.
  • Cure Your Gays: Inverted with Tumblety, who shows men his collection with the goal of turning them towards masculine relationships.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Francis Tumblety.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Holmes has this attitude at the start of the game. Watson calls him out on it pointing out that the victims were forced by circumstances to work the streets, and that they are still people who deserve justice.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Not all the time, but it shows up in the setting occasionally during investigations.
  • He-Man Woman Hater/ Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Tumblety, who really despises women.
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Holmes, of all people, goes through this upon uncovering the scene of the final murder. He point-blank refuses to let Watson enter the room, for good reason.
  • Historical Domain Character: All main characters in this game, save Holmes and Watson, really did exist at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Lucy, who is very concerned about her alcoholic uncle and offers him shelter at her place.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Considering the letter about the kidney. In addition, the titular Ripper, a bitter ex-member of the Jewish community, secretly sold some of the organs he stole to his fellows under the guise of kosher meat.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: It's that kind of game, so it's to be expected.
  • In Vino Veritas: Gets quoted by the Great Detective after a drunk reporter reveals information essential to the case.
  • Jerkass: Holmes does go into this mode at times; Watson flatly tells him to knock it off at one point.
  • Lady Drunk: There are lots of these in Whitechapel (a pretty bad neighborhood at the time). Danny is a prime example.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Watson gets this when asking about Tumblety (who's got quite the reputation).
    Walter Sickert: Are you... intimate?
    Watson: Um, no... what do you mean by that?
  • Miss Kitty: A Downplayed Trope example with Bella. She cares for her prostitutes but is a ruthless businesswoman.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Holmes' confrontation with Jack the Ripper is surreal and disorienting, and you don't get to hear a single word of it.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After finding the Ripper's final - and most heavily mutilated - victim, Holmes seems dazed at first, and appears to have come the closest he's ever come to being psychologically traumatized. And after he finishes his subsequent clay reconstruction of what he found, he actually makes a joke!
    • A milder example occurs at the start of the game: Sherlock finds himself needing to do a chain of favors in order to get important information from the police. In a rare moment of frustration, he bitterly jokes that if he needs to do one more favor, the next murder will be that of Watson. Watson can't help but gulp nervously.
  • Organ Grinder: One can be seen and heard around Whitechapel.
  • Organ Theft: A feature of the crimes as matching the real Ripper, removing the organs of his victims.
  • Point-and-Click Map
  • Police Are Useless: Hoo boy. For starters, they tear up two witnesses' written down testimonies, as well as dismiss a third witness, because the times, while consistent with each other, don't agree with the coroner's time of death. Holmes has practically to do all the investigating on his own. Sadly Truth in Television, which is why the Ripper was never caught in real life.
  • Product Placement: Bizarrely, this appears to be the case with there being distinctly modern bottles of both Bushmills and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey in the game. What makes it more striking is that Tullamore Dew was only known by that name after 1890, a full two years after the game is set.
  • Red Herring: The subplot involving Francis Tumblety and his uterus collection turns out to be a dead end.
  • Serial Killer: Holmes is on the trail of one of history's most notorious serial killers.
  • Shout-Out: On the seemingly innocuous piece of paper that mentions a previous conviction of Jacob Levy, a man named Ron Obvious is listed as having caused an incident relating to Chichester Cathedral.
  • Shown Their Work: In spades! The game shows off many real ripper suspects and references many others as one-offs. The district of Whitechapel is accurately modeled, and the walls contain many real advertisements from the period. References are made to historical events other than Jack's crimes as well, such as a warehouse fire the night of the first murder. Furthermore, Holmes' and Watson's rooms at Baker Street contain many, many references to the original stories.
  • Sickening Slaughterhouse: Sherlock comes across a messy slaughterhouse in his search.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Notably averted, compared to some of the game's predecessors—the random quizzes of the past have been replaced by more story-integrated deduction sequences.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: This centers around the Jack the Ripper killings, of course.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: Like in the real case, this is averted after Holmes eventually deduces he wasn't, despite the persistent belief of this by investigators of the time.
  • The Voiceless: Except for some panicked breathing and maniacal laughter, Jacob Levy, a.k.a. Jack the Ripper is never heard saying a word in the ending scene. He's only heard to talk once, during Annie Chapman's murder.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Watson didn't take the description of the final and most grisly murder scene too well. Especially as he had just finished eating breakfast...
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Sherlock's young assistant Wiggins. The voice actor seems to understand that he's a Victorian street urchin but to be uncertain whether he's supposed to be from London or New York.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Title Cards at the end tell us what happened to Jack the Ripper after the case was closed.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Crippling poverty is a day-to-day fact for people in the Whitechapel neighborhood.