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Video Game / The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

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A 2012 Adventure Game by Frogwares, and the 6th entry in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series.

Unlike the last few games in the series, Testament does not feature any influences from other contemporary sources (those past "crossovers" being with H.P. Lovecraft, Arsène Lupin and Jack the Ripper), instead focusing on the relationship between Holmes and Watson as they find themselves embroiled in an intricate and sordid criminal investigation.

And as Holmes finds his integrity being questioned in the papers, with his methods becoming gradually more questionable and secretive, even Watson has to start considering just how far he's willing to trust his old friend.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes contains examples of:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Queen Victoria was going be forced to abdicate in favor of Prince Woodville if Professor Moriarty's plan had worked.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Watson does not let the rare occasion of him bringing Holmes up to speed for a change to go by unremarked.
    Watson: At last you understand!
    Holmes: You are reversing the roles on us Watson...[Beat]...very amusing!
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Played With when it appears Holmes is getting this treatment. Not really however - he's being quite deliberately set up to look that way by Moriarty and co.
    • Played Straight for Inspector Baynes, a minor police ally from the canon who in this version displaces Lestrade and is a mole for Moriarty.
  • Always on Duty: When Holmes calls Scottland Yard from the fair at night, Lestrade is answering on the other end.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The finale takes place in one.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: While the majority of the game is spent controlling Holmes, you will often switch over to Watson to perform certain errands. But on one occasion you take the part of Toby, Sherlock's old faithful bloodhound.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The closing credits are animated in the style of a Bond movie.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: You can skip any puzzle you're stuck on. There is a Trophy/Achievement to not skip any.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Holmes builds one to traverse the hall at Moriarty's place.
  • Big Bad Friend: The game drops hints that Holmes is this to Watson, which causes tension in their friendship. The end of the penultimate chapter/intro to the final chapter reveals that Holmes is being framed by Moriarty and that he is, of course, innocent.
  • Catchphrase: Holmes is fond of stating "It is simplicity itself!" whenever he/you solves a difficult puzzle.
    • Also "Evidently," whenever he wants to avoid answering a question with a simple "yes" or "no".
  • Constructive Body Disposal: Holmes finds the corpse of a magician walled up in a mill.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: In the vault at the Judge's house the heroes find files of numerous previous cases of theirs.
  • Continuity Nod: References are made to the previous games in the series, particularly Holmes' recent conflicts with Arsène Lupin and Jack the Ripper. Late in the game, Holmes also bemoans leaving the apparently brain-dead Moriarty in the Swiss mental asylum from The Awakened, given that he's up and about now...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Watson, in the politest, most gentlemanly way possible.
    Holmes: [after coming to a deduction] Ahh! I understand now.
    Watson: Lucky you.
  • Dénouement: Before the last act, Holmes delivers a lengthy explanation to Watson about what was going with his strange behavior and faked death.
  • Dirty Communists: The Russian brothers are anarchists.
  • Disposable Vagrant: At the fair, Holmes discovers the Rat Killer's journal in which the latter documented his experiments on hobos.
  • Dying Clue: The man who was killed fighting his dogs in a rage at Whitechapel swallowed a paper with an address on it so it could be found during his autopsy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: It turns out Moriarty has a daughter that he holds dear to. His dying wish to Holmes was that he would take care of her.
  • Evil Plan: Moriarty's plan was to throw London into chaos via a Hate Plague so he could Abdicate the Throne, install a Puppet King and ultimately Take Over the World.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Holmes arrives at the drug den at the right time to overhear the villains talk about their plans.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: Holmes breaks into Moriarty's lair so he could phone Scottland Yard.
  • Faking the Dead: Holmes fakes his own death with some potion.
  • Foreshadowing: Holmes finds a doll in a chest at Moriarty's lair but its owner is revealed shown in the last scene.
  • Framing Device: The game is set around a group of young children who have found and are reading Watson's old journals. These primary-school-aged children apparently find the saga of blood, death, betrayal and murder to be enthralling. Since the children happen to be Holmes and Watson's grandchildren, perhaps they would be interested in this kind of story.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Watson can get stuck in a doorway, leaving you with no way to leave the room. The only solution is to reload a saved game.
  • GPS Evidence: Holmes is able to locate the hospital in Whitechapel by it being the only one close to a cemetery.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: A hairpin is used twice to open a lock. First at the Judge's house and again towards the end at Moriarty's bedroom.
  • Hate Plague: The early stages of the game introduce a nasty poison that causes the victim to go literally insane with rage. The rage poison becomes a reoccurring plot point, but you don't find out how it all fits into the plot until the final chapter.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier / Obfuscating Stupidity: The Russian brothers pretend to not understand English in order to avoid speaking to Watson. Their plan fails when Watson notices the (English) newspaper on the table, which they were reading before he arrived.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Holmes reveals to Watson that Professor Moriarty is once again the mastermind behind the whole sinister plot in this game.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In what turns out to be a wonderful two-for-one-sale, Schielman is infected by his own Hate Plague poison, and in his maddened state attacks and kills Moriarty.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: Used twice.
    • The trained monkey in the opening case used a diamond to cut a hole into the window. His attempt was foiled though by the servants rushing into the room.
    • Later Holmes uses a diamond ring to let himself into Moriarty's bedroom.
  • Inescapable Net: At the fair, Holmes drops a stage curtain on Prince Woodville which incapacitates the latter completely.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: "I need something" and "I need some information" are the game's ways of telling you that you're not yet ready to solve a particular puzzle. The former is to tell you that you still have items you need to collect first, and the latter is you need to further investigate the environment first.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Watson is overjoyed to meet flower girl Lucy in front of the Judge's house. Not much later she gets injured in the explosion. There is also a flower girl in front of the Whitechapel cemetery.
  • Instant Sedation: The guard at the drug den goes out instantly after the injection of a strong sedative.
  • Insufferable Genius: Holmes, natch. Actually a plot point, as while he's more than capable of solving cases single-handedly, his manner in which he goes about it is steadily becoming more and more cold and harsh and has started to ruffle some feathers, Watson's included. You find out in the intro to the final chapter that Holmes is doing it deliberately.
  • Insult Backfire: At the prison, when Watson calls Schielman a monster, the latter takes it as a compliment.
  • Is That a Threat?: Farley asks this when Holmes confronts him at his office and warns him of the consequences of his Malicious Slander.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: The sky is overcast and there is a thunderstrike during Holmes' funeral.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: This game takes Sherlock's sociopathy to new levels. After the above-mentioned reveal that Holmes is doing it deliberately, he tones it down and becomes more likable again.
  • Killed Off for Real: Moriarty at the end.
  • Lies to Children: At Whitechapel's cemetery, Holmes scares two boys into conveying information by lying about the furious butcher being after them.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The opening case where a pearl necklace gets stolen and the culprit was not to be found with doors and windows locked. Turns out it was a trained monkey that hid in the chandeliers and escaped while the servants put out the fire.
  • Malicious Slander: Farley spreads rumors about Sherlock Holmes being involved in recent criminal cases.
  • Master Poisoner: Evil Genius Schielman.
  • Matryoshka Object: At the fair, Watson finds a set of Russian dolls with a key inside.
  • The Mole: Inspector Baynes.
  • Mythology Gag: Does anyone else think the judge that Holmes and Watson track down looks like Robert Downey Jr?
    • In a more traditional sense - there are several items around their Bakerstreet apartment from their earlier adventures.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Holmes breaks Schielman out of prison in order to properly interrogate him about the Hate Plague poison...only for Moriarty's men to pick him up before he gets a chance to. Whoops.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Watson has one when he goes to sleep after the explosion at the Judge's house.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Bishop's nephew falls to his death into a lava pit at a factory thanks to a missing railing.
  • Not Quite Dead: Moriarty survived the bomb explosion and confronts Holmes with a revolver.
  • Old Dog: Toby is said to be old.
  • Opium Den: After finding the body of the man missing a finger, Holmes and Watson look around his home and find eveidence that he was involved in the murder of the bishop. They also find opium paraphernalia. They perform an autopsy and discover that his opium had been laced with the same poison that had been used on the Bishop. They go to the nearby opium den and discover the other men involved in the murder.
  • Police Are Useless: An opinion strongly held by Holmes, which is why he goes to great lengths to keep them out of his hair in the early game. However, as the game goes on, Watson starts to wonder if that's the actual reason why Holmes doesn't want the police around...
    • Averted throughout the game. Inspector Baynes is able to keep up with Holmes' investigations, and manages to independently identify the bishop's murderers at the same rate Holmes' does, although this is subverted when you discover that Baynes is one of Moriarty's men and that is most likely how he knew who the murderers were. Near the end of the final chapter, Scotland Yard locates Moriarty's bombs fairly quickly.
  • Puppet King: Prince Woodville if he had become king.
  • Raised by Rival: Professor Moriarty apparently has a daughter whom he cares very much for. So much in fact, that he's willing to give her up to be adopted by his worst enemy only because he knows he'll bring her up right.
  • Ransacked Room: Bakerstreet gets ransacked properly by the police after Holmes becomes a prime suspect.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Grant, Watson's old friend, delivers this to Watson for trying to use the morgue in a manner that suggests he thinks that because he's in a good financial state he can do what he likes in the poorer districts. Watson might have accepted this if Grant hadn't suggested Watson understands the risks they face in Whitechapel. Watson then quickly turns it back around, angrily berating Grant for talking to a veteran and a man who deals with the criminal underworld like he doesn't understand risks. He goes on to note that if Grant did his job properly, Whitechapel might be in a better medical state.
  • Retcon: In the original canon, Inspector Baynes was one of the few Police Officers to prove to be, if not smarter, at least on a similar level of Holmes, even gaining his genuine admiration. In the opening chapters of the game, Holmes is instead less impressed by his efforts. Oh, and he's also a mole for Moriarty.
  • Smoke Bomb: Schielman uses one for his prison break.
  • Superdickery: Essentially the main premise. The game showcases Sherlock's personality growing more and more extreme, from bullying a priest and terrifying hungry, wounded children, to breaking out a known serial poisoner and attempting to murder suspects. Eventually he bombs the house of an honest judge, killing an innocent woman in the process. He later justifies his behavior as being necessary to protect Watson from being targeted by Moriarty's plot, as well as being framed for the bombing, but there are still too many incidents where Sherlock Holmes acted that way simply because he is indeed a bit of an asshole.
  • Tainted Tobacco: After finding the body of the man missing a finger, Holmes and Watson look around his home and find eveidence that he was involved in the murder of the bishop. They also find opium paraphernalia. They perform an autopsy and discover that his opium had been laced with the same poison that had been used on the Bishop.
  • Take Over the World: Holmes earnestly believes that, once he's seized control of Britain, then this will be Moriarty's next step. And he'd probably succeed too because, well, he's Moriarty.
  • Taking You with Me: Moriarty's intention at the end when he is mortally wounded and tries to shoot Holmes.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Holmes notes that Farley left his sandwich untouched when he left his office in haste.
  • Undying Loyalty: Watson to Holmes. Even as Holmes actions become more and more suspect, Watson still sticks by him, albeit not without a grumble or two. After Holmes' return and The Reveal, he's genuinely apologetic about how big a prick he's been to Watson, good reasons notwithstanding.
  • Victorian London: Mainly Whitechapel, in all its seedy glory.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: The Russian brothers.
  • Voiceover Letter: When the narration transitions from the children to Watson.
  • Wham Line: Which also doubles as The Reveal, unsurprisingly.
    Watson: And just who was it you were protecting me from?
    Holmes: It was Professor Moriarty.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Watson berates Holmes for his less-than-honorable actions like aiding to break out the Rat Killer or breaking into the Judge's mansion.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue shows photographs of Katlyn growing up with Holmes.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Moriarty wonders why the bombs are not going off as planned. Little does he know that the heroes defused them in time.
  • Worthy Opponent: At the end of the game a dying Moriarty asks Holmes to raise his daughter, stating that Holmes, the only man who Moriarty considers an equal, is the only person worthy of doing so. However, in The Devil's Daughter it's shown that Moriarty was also hoping that, as Holmes' adopted daughter, she would be in a position to destroy Holmes upon growing up and learning her true heritagenote . Fortunately she ends up fully rejecting Moriarty and his legacy.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: Holmes uses this trick to lift information from a notebook at Farley's office.