Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is the third game in Frogwares' series of Sherlock Holmes adventure games, following Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring. It was released for the PC in 2006, and was the first game in the series to feature supernatural elements in its storyline, diverging from the source material.
As the game opens, Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson are looking into the disappearance of a Maori manservant; however, the case proves to be much broader in scope when they encounter evidence of bloody rituals and sinister cultists who wish to awaken the primordial god-like being Cthulhu.
Besides the storyline, The Awakened also differed from previous games in its gameplay. While its predecessor was played in a third-person perspective, The Awakened uses a first-person perspective, with players able to freely move, not dissimilar to a first-person shooter. The mouse is used to look around, while mouse clicks activate hotspots and inspect specific items--retaining the point-and-click aspect commonly found in traditional adventure games. In addition, occasional questions are put forward to the player, who must then solve and type the answer before progressing.
Holmes also has an array of tools to help him hunt for clues. For example, he has a magnifying glass that can be used to examine certain areas with greater detail. Doing so when the case requires it uncovers new leads and progresses the storyline. Items can be examined further back at Holmes' apartment, where he has a mini-laboratory that allows players to perform chemical tests and use a microscope, among other things. Given that there is quite a bit of travelling involved in The Awakened (though the story starts in
, Holmes and Watson end up travelling abroad, including Switzerland,
, and Scotland), the game handily features a fast-travel map, too.
On September 6, 1894, Sherlock Holmes stares out of his window, bored that he has no case to solve that is worthy of his talents. No sooner, he learns that a young Maori manservant, who works for Captain Stenwick, has disappeared. Holmes quickly deduces not only that the boy has been
, but also that two men--one significantly larger than the other--were responsible. A few leads point to the docks by the Thames, and there, he and Watson learn that there have been other very similar kidnappings going on. Further investigation leads them to an abandoned
, where inside is a
occupied by a bloody and tortured corpse with serpents slithering out in a gruesome manner. They also find opium with morphine, and this discovery steers them to
, after finding a crate labelled "Black Edelweiss Institute".
The Black Edelweiss Institute turns out to be a Swiss
, and Holmes and Watson hatch a little plan to find out more about the place. Donning a costume and
, Holmes gets himself admitted into the asylum. After escaping from his cell, he finds further proof of drug trafficking as well as the extent of Dr. Gygax's misdeeds. Not only has the
been performing dangerous experiments on powerless victims in the asylum, but also that he is part of a cult awaiting the arrival of the 'One'. To escape from Gygax and the asylum, Holmes uses Moriarty as a distraction (who is a patient in weak condition, having survived the fall of Reichenbach).
Their next stop is
(which was mentioned in a telegram to Gygax), where Holmes and Watson hear about Davy, a lad who has not been seen for five days. They find him, though mute due to psychological trauma. After Watson treats him, Davy writes on a chalkboard a series of numbers, which turn out to be co-ordinates pointing to a lighthouse on a
coastline. There, Holmes and Watson have a final confrontation with the Cthulhu-following cultists and
Lord Rochester, whose fortune finances the sect.
The Awakened received mixed reviews upon release, but did garner favourable reviews from some of the major outlets, with IGN giving the game an 8.1 out of 10, praising it for its "smart
" and "sophisticated story". GameSpot followed suit and awarded it an 8.3, calling The Awakened a "rip-roaring pulp adventure in its own right". However, it also received a few distinctly average scores. Eurogamer, which gave it a 6 out of 10, expressed that it felt that the first-person perspective--though detailed and atmospheric--hindered the game, with an "over-reliance on pixel-hunting for clues".