The two games in the series made extensive use of a location map, which allowed players quick, direct access to all game locations. While not the first computer detective game, The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes nonetheless advanced the genre through its use of the Sherlock Holmes investigative methods, from interviewing witnesses to lab analysis. The games introduced detailed environments and ambience sounds. The series features a relatively high degree of historic accuracy as it conjures up London of the late Victorian era.
The crime novel genre of which Sherlock Holmes is part stresses the importance of details in the surroundings, analysed by the protagonist, may play a decisive part in solving the mystery. In this regard, the gameplay can be said to marry the point-and-click style of 1990s adventure games with the style of Sherlock Holmes novels. Virtually every couch and fireplace in the game has a detailed description when clicked upon. The game is often laid out so that Holmes, when entering a house, will be studying the foyer and its items in detail, deducing much about the inhabitants before being presented to them. The descriptions of everyday items also often encompass a description of Victorian Britain.
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