Adventure games are video games that are like mysteries. There’s a premise that explains the mission. Players have to explore their environments, find clues, solve puzzles, sometimes fight off attackers, and each successful step leads you further through the storyline. A very successful franchise has been the Sherlock Holmes game series by Frogware.
What’s fun about these is how each takes a different approach and theme. In one, you’re playing as Sherlock and Watson versus master thief Arsene Lupin, in another versus Jack the Ripper. In others, you’re solving the murder of a tycoon or mixing it up with mummies. In a particularly timely one, The Awakened, you’re actually racing to stop a murderous Cthlulu cult before they can awaken a hideous evil. That one will take you all the way from 221B Baker Street to the bayous of Louisiana, and all the coolest screen caps will only spoil your fun. Some titles are frankly fantastic and others are more grounded, but as they’re going along, they just look better and better.
Next year’s release, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, will not only be for PC-based gaming as usual, but also for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3. (Destructoid got a preview of the new game and reports the environments are terrifically rich. ) The storyline’s darkness isn’t provided by preternaturally awful villains in this one, but by Holmes’ own secrets and behavior that gives even Watson pause. They’re taking a chance that console gamers don’t only want shoot-em-ups, and I hope they’re right. Because from way back in text-based Zorkdom, I’ve always loved a good adventure game, and a bigger market for them will mean more to love.