In Victorian London, a young painter has been found dead in a rolled up carpet. Scotland Yard calls on Sherlock Holmes to investigate this strange case along with his friend Watson. Can they find enough clues and decipher the interrogations to solve the case?
Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Persian Carpet gives you the opportunity to play as the famous detective and solve a mysterious death. Dear Watson is about to embark upon a summer holiday after Holmes decides the latest call for help from Scotland Yard isn’t a worthwhile case. Plans for the summer vacation are interrupted, however, when the brilliant duo learns that the body in question was actually wrapped in a fine, stolen Persian carpet. They agree to take the case, and thus begins your quest to unravel the mystery.
Before you begin the game you can choose between untimed or timed modes, depending on your level of expertise. You begin in the famous 221b Baker Street, London (Holmes’ residence). It is here that you can do forensic analysis on clues that you uncover at a small desk is laden with small vials, solvent, water, a small burner and a handy microscope.
You can also make notes of clues on the deduction board to keep your investigation flowing, and check how many of the puzzles you have solved, and access them after they are unlocked via the chessboard. A small menu in the top left of the screen which allows you to quickly move to various locations, which include the main level map, Scotland Yard and back to Baker Street. Locations that require your attention will flash on the menu bar.
The game begins when you travel to a deserted room within the cement works plant. You must find a series of objects within the scene as well as solve a relatively simple puzzle involving the lamp. Once you have retrieved all of the objects you must reconstruct a torn note in a jigsaw style puzzle. Once the note is restored you can travel to Scotland Yard and examine the crime report. While there, read through the testimonies to complete the first level. Subsequent levels will require you to travel to different locations and solve a wide variety of puzzles and hidden object levels, while returning periodically to the Baker Street flat to organize your clues on the board.
While exploring the different locations, understanding the game mechanics and cursors that will appear, as well as how to utilize your inventory is essential. At times the cursor will transform into a magnifying glass, indicating that you have access to a magnified view. Also, you will sometimes see small gears at the bottom of your cursor which lets you know that there is an action to be performed. Once the action is complete the silver gear will turn to a golden color.
The small inventory window at the bottom of the screen shows you the silhouettes of any objects that must be recovered from the location. Underneath the object images there is a small picture of a puzzle piece. Many items are actually puzzles themselves that you will need to solve in order to progress. In order to do this, select the item from the inventory and drag it above the puzzle icon. The puzzle piece will turn a golden color when all the puzzles in a location have been solved.
If you are playing in timed mode, you can pause the game by pressing the escape key or by clicking the clock in the menu window with your mouse.
I found the hidden object portions of the game to be about average difficulty, although the silhouetted Images can sometimes be quite tricky to discern. However, if you hover your mouse over the image, a small pop up will appear and give you the name of the item. This saved me a great deal of time in many of the hidden object levels. Most of the objects can be found in logical places, as opposed to other hidden object games where many items can be found in the most unusual of locations. If you get really stuck, you can click the oval numbered button above the inventory window for a hint, but use them sparingly!
Overall, I enjoyed the difficulty of the various puzzles. There is a lot more to Mystery of the Persian Carpet than simply hidden object play. However, the confusing user interface and ambiguous help screens made the game more difficult than it had to be. The graphics were well done and very atmospheric. There were no voice overs for the dialogues between Watson and Holmes but the period background music was charming and not distracting.
The large download is well worth the time for any fans of mystery puzzle games and of course fans of the literary works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.