Some point-and-click adventures prefer their heroes all comedic and wacky, your guybrush types. Others are more stoic and action-oriented, such as Indy Jones or Graham of Daventry. Who fits better as an adventure game protagonist than Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, though? The Lost Files Of Sherlock Holmes: The Case Of The Serrated Scalpel taught me that when I was about eight years old, trying to figure out its mysteries while sitting at my dad’s Amstrad 286 accompanied by my sister Gem. Okay, I was definitely the Watson of that duo.
Serrated Scalpel was developed by Mythos Software and published by EA in 1992. It lets you delve into a murder investigation surrounded by the familiar cast of Holmes stories. You wind up Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, consult with street urchin Wiggins and his band of Baker Street Irregulars, and partner up with a decidedly un-creepy Watson. The game starts out at a theater in Mayfair, but you get to scoot all over London, even ending up down the pub at one point.
Ah, the pub. Home of Serrated Scalpel’s darts minigame. This played out a little like classic golf sims, making you press space to set the vertical and horizontal coordinates of your target along moving bars, if I recall correctly. It took months, but my entire family ended up being roped into perfecting our form enough so that we could rinse all the patrons. I’d be surprised if the darts in Serrated Scalpel didn’t influence Frogwares when they were creating the arm-wrestling minigame for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes And Punishments years later.
You can’t get hold of Serrated Scalpel officially these days, which is a huge shame. The same developers released an FMV sequel a few years later, called The Case Of The Rose Tattoo. I never played that, but Gem did. She says it’s very good too.