Do you ever wish you could be an immortal British detective while trying to crack a cold case from 100 years ago? Now, do you wish you could do that with zero help on how to obtain information, items etc.? Well, tough luck for at least half of that… Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, while an interesting plot, has some flaws that even the detective himself would more than likely question.
The game itself (which was ported over from the PC) takes place in the late 1800's. You control both Sherlock Holmes as well as his associate, Dr. John Watson and the plot of the game stays true to the non-fictional story of Jack the Ripper. You start off in the area of Whitechapel and investigate the murders of bargain-basement prostitutes who are disfigured and missing some of their naughty bits. Throughout the game, you are met with multiple people who could possibly be Jack the Ripper. Ultimately, you don't actually meet Jack the Ripper until the end of the game, which also questions the whole "Vs." business since you don't actually fight or match wits with Jack. Might as well have called it "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Jack the Ripper."
I don't believe I've seen this in many games, but the option of toggling between first and third person is rather neat. Also, if you're an Achievement Farmer, then you'll definitely get an easy 1,000 Achievement Points out of this game.
There's not really much in the way of music… mostly ambiance. Parts of the game get repetitive as you try and locate the next area or crime scene that you must get to… for example, Holmes will tell you he must get to the pub. As you click on the map to take you to the pub, Holmes makes a point to remind you that he must get to the pub… the pub which is right in front of him. Don't bother talking to most of the townsfolk either… aside from the occasional stereotypical cockney accents, many of the characters (especially ones who are right next to each other) say the exact same lines… in the exact same voices! There's also no value in doing so either.
It's rare I use a walkthrough guide to beat a game… It's even rarer that I had to use it for 90% of the game, mostly for puzzles I couldn't comprehend at all. Parts of the game go completely dead, and you're left scratching your head to figure out what to do next. Both the best and worst part of the game is the fact that you can't continue on until you obtain items and meet people necessary to solve the case… even worse is the fact that the entire game plays out as something I can only explain by showing this clip from an episode of the show Chowder: -- in order to get items you need, you need to help out someone else by obtaining an item or doing a task for them… but then to get the item for THAT person, you need to get something else for another person… RATS!
The other half of the issue I have with the game… you become very well-acquainted with your Left Trigger. I found myself laying into it after the first day of playing since there are some items, doors, etc. that are near impossible to see because they end up being in pitch-black corners of a room. So add that to the fact that you need items to continue… you slowly realize that the game should have been retitled "Sherlock Holmes vs. How the Fuck Do I Find the Hospital?" FYI: Thankfully I wasn't looking for an actual hospital, just one in the game.
So in summary… if you're looking for an easy 1,000 Achievement Points by wasting your time with a game that gives you little to no incentive by walking around aimlessly to find items and solve impossibly hard puzzles in order to solve a real-life crime that was never solved… then by all means, play this. However I wouldn't expect a sequel; unless of course they decide to release one called "Sherlock Holmes Travels Through Time and Cracks the J.F.K. Assassination." Seriously… no one should mix fiction with non-fiction unless they know for sure it works 100%.
I give Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper 2 out of 5 TOV Stars…
…P.S.: Can someone please bring back Carmen Sandiego?