If you are a fan of literature, good crime capers, or a nice detective story, then you must definitely play this game. In Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, he gets to face one of the wiliest and craftiest persons to have ever walked the earth -Arsene Lupin. Yes, not Moriarty, but a completely different character from a completely different book. It is a crazy kind of match up, but one that deserves your time. In this game, Lupin outright challenges Holmes into a duel -Holmes must be able to prevent Lupin from successfully staling England's most important treasures. What is Lupin really up to? Can Sherlock manage to track down the elusive art thief? This game will let you find out.
This is not the first time that Lupin and Holmes and crossed paths -Maurice LeBlanc once wrote a story where a young Lupin met an older Holmes. The names Doyle's characters were changed when Doyle himself objected to the inclusion and took legal action. Of course, at that time, Lupin had yet to become as iconic as the Baker Street detective. Now, many decades into the future, the two literary icons meet once again.
The story opens with Watson discovering a letter from Lupin addressed to Holmes. In it, he challenges the detective to stop him from stealing England's treasures; apparently, Lupin's objective is to bring shame to England. And so begins an interesting game of cat and mouse - to catch a thief like Lupin won't be as easy as to Whack the Thief! that's for sure. Throughout the game, players have to find and solve the various puzzles and riddles that Lupin has been leaving behind.
For those of you who have played the previous installments of Frogware's Sherlock Holmes series, this crossover should not be much of a surprise. The developer has made the previous games also crossovers as well. Most notable is Awakened where Sherlock had to deal with some cosmic-level horrors thank to H.P. Lovecraft.
Playing the game is a very familiar experience -with your typical first-person point and click controls implemented smoothly. While you control Holmes for the most part of the game, Watson and Lestrange also get manually controlled too, though for only shorter sequences. As you go about checking the various locales looking for clues and hints as to what Lupin is planning, you are given access to an inventory and note-taking system. This will allow the player to keep track of the various details and hints that are provided by the game. A good amount of focus and attention is needed as you will need to remember key points that are said by the different people you meet throughout the game. It may even pay off to have a pen and paper at the ready.
The game is completely puzzle based and there is no combat involved. As such, you are never in any danger of getting into a game over -except for one notable moment near the end of the game where a very wrong decision would lead to a much less than stellar ending. Fortunately, the game will allow you to continue your progress right before that point.
There are a few slightly off or mildly jarring moments in the game that will easily take you out of the immersion with its sheer gameyness. This is particularly true of those moments that you just know that a piece of interactive background would play a crucial role later in the game but are currently unable to take it as part of your inventory before unlocking a later event. This means that players would need to constantly travel back and forth in the game -especially to previously visited locations, just to pick up random stuff they could have taken earlier on.
There are also other minor technical issues as well. Such as when you use Holmes, Watson follows you around -though there is a strange graphical glitch that makes Watson appear to teleport when you are not looking. This is because Watson's movement animations are not all in order. The end result is that every time you have your back turned to Watson, he will move.
After the Mummy and Awakens, Nemesis makes for a good third story for fans of the Frogware series of Sherlock Holmes games (there is a fourth one set after Nemesis, and it will have you chasing after Jack the Ripper). The overall story is intriguing and fun -especially since most of involves trying to thwart Lupin's clever plans to steal the treasures. Meeting Lupin himself is a thrill too, as the game's depiction of the character is certainly well done. Most of the puzzles provide a good challenge but none will take up too much of your time.
Obviously, the game is pretty old, so the graphics have aged quite a bit by now, but there are still some very visually noteworthy moments in the game -especially with regards to the way that architecture is presented. Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis (also released as Shelock Holmes versus Arsene Lupin in other regions) is a great game to have for fans of either character or anyone who appreciates a well written mystery novel.