221B Baker Street
221B Baker Street is basically a board game adapted for the Commodore 64 and, not surprisingly, plays like one. As far as adaptations go, the game stays quite true to the spirit of the original but doesn't offer anything new. Why, then, play the game on your computer when you can just as easily play it with a real board and opponents? How much fun you get from 221B Baker Street depends greatly on how many people you can get to play at the same time.
Despite the electronic format, it still plays exactly like a Clue-style board game. There is, unfortunately, no point in playing solo since there's no AI competition and, given enough rolls of the die, you'll eventually solve the puzzle through a process of elimination. This dampens the game's entertainment value a bit since you must have other human players to make gameplay worthwhile. Furthermore, there are a limited number of cases and no randomization in their solutions -- once you've solved them, the game is basically finished.
The graphics are decent, but you definitely get the sense that graphical flair was subordinated for the sake of maintaining a board game appearance. The board graphics consist of a grid of squares with a squat and unattractive figure that represents you. The buildings, on the other hand, are designed in an interesting manner that enhances the way the game looks and almost gives it a sense of 3D.
Each building has its front sticking straight out of the board at an angle that's not quite perpendicular and, as you move to the back of the building, it shrinks progressively until level with the board. It's a good way of having 3D-looking buildings on your screen without impacting your ability to see yourself when you walk behind them. Despite this nice touch, though, the graphics are just not overly impressive.
The buildings have a good amount of detail on their facing, but are sorely lacking in side details as well as color usage. Your character is also ugly and has no animation. When you get close to the edge of the screen, the game doesn't scroll smoothly; instead, it takes a big jump that forces you to reorient yourself within your surroundings.
Music and sound effects are, without a doubt, 221B Baker Street's high point; the game manages to synthesize some remarkably good speech. And, not just single words but entire sentences that are clear and easily recognizable. They aren't crucial to gameplay but do add a nice touch to the experience of playing. The songs are excellent as well and help establish the game's atmosphere with a moody, Victorian-era flavor perfect for the theme.
221B Baker Street is a worthwhile product for those who don't mind playing board games in electronic format, who enjoy games based on puzzle solving, and who don't have problems getting several friends to gather 'round to play a game. If you don't meet all those requirements, the game will be less satisfying. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Functional graphics with an interesting 3D-look thanks to the building designs. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The game sports some really good music and also generates some impressive clear voice clips. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
With several people playing together, the game can be fairly enjoyable. As a single-player game, though, it should be locked up. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The two case file disks have a lot of cases but, because there's no randomization, once you're done with the cases you're quite literally done with the game. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The documentation is above average and clue sheet is a nice touch. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide