Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (1999) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Interactive Movie Booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Infinite Ventures
Wild Releasing
Starring Peter Farley
Warren Green
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music Kevin Manthei


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Experimental - that is the word to describe this DVD. It is somewhat of an evolution from the "Choose Your Own Adventure" style novels, but in this case you have to solve the mystery whereas in the novels, you just had to get to the end. In simplest terms, to solve the mystery, you must decipher clues from several sources such as The Regulars and The Times newspaper. After doing this, you can visit people that give you more information on the case at hand. Once you have enough information to put together a case (you need a suspect, motive and some other information depending on which case you choose), you go and see the judge who decides whether you have a case worthy of his courtroom. If so, then you have to answer his questions correctly. If you do this, you pass the case and are given your rating compared to the great Sherlock Holmes. If you answer incorrectly, you are relegated back to the start of the game and you have to start again, rediscovering all the clues and suspects.

    There are three cases to solve on this DVD:

    Although a good concept for a DVD, Sherlock Holmes-Consulting Detective-Volume 1 fails in many areas. The first are of failure is the bad acting. Peter Farley, the actor who portrays Holmes is very pompous and I hated him from the start. At least Warren Green, who plays Watson is a little less annoying. Also, the production budget for the live action sequences of the DVD must have been very low since they are quite cheap looking and have fake backdrops which are very obviously blue screens.

    Besides the acting and production value areas of the DVD, there are problems with the mystery solving system. It is simply too hard to figure out the cases. I had major problems completing the first case which is the easiest out of the three. I had to go as far as consulting the website for hints to solve the crimes and even when I did, I still had trouble! The way the cases are solved is very complicated and constrained - certain things have to be done or accessed so that the judge lets your case be heard. For example, in the first case, you have to obtain a list of people on a ship. Without the play guide I would have never done this and without doing it you cannot pass the case, and I had no idea that I had to do it (though this may just be me).

    Too much is expected of you from this DVD. There are no hints on the DVD or more information on how much of the case you have completed, which would have been very useful.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Well where do I start to list the problems with this transfer?

    It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. It is in the NTSC format, so make sure your display device can handle it.

    The transfer is generally very soft, with minor details such as facial hair being rather blurred. Unfortunately, I cannot give exact times for these faults due to the nature of this DVD. The backgrounds are as artificial as they come, and this poor transfer makes them look even worse. Throughout the DVD there are stills showing information and so forth. These stills are poorly defined and really do show how bad the transfer is. Shadow detail is lacking in all the dark scenes, making it look very much like a cheap home video.

    The colour is rather muted, with pale skin tones and none of the vibrancy that we normally expect from the DVD format.

    Grain is apparent through all of the live-action scenes. This is not just subtle grain though, this is very prominent grain that will be annoyingly apparent to everyone. Several tape tracking errors were noted as well as various marks, spots, and flecks.

    All of these issues combined with the poorer NTSC system makes for the worst video transfer I have ever seen.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This is an audio transfer that rivals the video transfer in its problems.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, that being a Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    Dialogue was decent, though at times it did get muffled, seemingly because of the rather low volume that it was recorded at.

    Audio sync was fine.

    This track sounds more like mono even though it is encoded in 2.0 - it has most likely been up-mixed into quasi-stereo. It has a very loud hiss at all times during live-action scenes which affects the dialogue as well as the music. The audio sounds like it has been taped using the built-in microphone of a very poor quality tape recorder. Obviously no processing attempts have been made to the soundtrack to lessen the distortion.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A fairly hidden trailer and a booklet is about all you'll be getting.

Menu

    The menus are about the only professionally done part of this disc. The main desktop where you work from is completely CGI and looks good.

Trailer - Dracula Unleashed

   A trailer for an upcoming DVD release. Another interactive disc which seems to be more interesting than this one.

Booklet

    An instruction manual basically, though the info in it is rather self-explanatory.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is the same worldwide.

Summary

   Overall, Sherlock Holmes-Consulting Detective-Volume 1 is a very good concept that has been very poorly executed. The teething problems of the interactive system on this disc as well as the shocking technical presentation make this my first entry into the Hall Of Shame.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Andrew Siers (I never did my biography in primary school)
Saturday, November 18, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 34N9UXA. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha CX-600 Pre-Amp, Yamaha MX-600 Stereo Power Amp for Mains, Yamaha DSP-E300 for Center, Teac AS-M50 for Surrounds.
SpeakersMain Left and Right Acoustic Research AR12s, Center Yamaha NS-C70, Surround Left and Right JBL Control 1s

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
CD-ROM origins of this game - Neil
sherlock holmes - loren rox
Re: CD-ROM Origins - Anonymous