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Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring

aka: Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring, Les Aventures de Sherlock Holmes : la Boucle d'Argent, Sherlock Holmes i tajemnica srebrnego kolczyka, Sherlock Holmes: Case of Sherringford Hall, Sherlock Holmes: Das Geheimnis des silbernen Ohrrings, Sherlock Holmes: El Pendiente de Plata, Sherlock Holmes: L’Orecchino d’Argento, Sherlock Holmes: Případ stříbrné naušnice, Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring, Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring
Moby ID: 14655
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Description official descriptions

Sherlock Holmes and his loyal sidekick Dr. Watson have been invited to a reception in Sherringford Hall. The wealthy industrial Sir Bromsby wants to commemorate the return of his daughter to England. As the host climbs the stage and starts to deliver his welcome speech, he is shot. Suspicion is immediately drawn towards his daughter, but Holmes decides to thoroughly investigate the case.

Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring is a third-person point-and-click adventure set in 19th century England. Players control both Holmes and Watson, interrogating witnesses and suspects, and searching for material clues and evidence. Basic inventory equipment are a test tube, a tape measure and a magnifying glass, all of which can be used to examine the environment and other objects found. A few times in the game the player is taken to Holmes' lab desk, to analyze some substances or tissues.

Notes of all findings and conversations are automatically written down in a diary for future reference. At the end of each of the five days the game is divided in, a quiz has to be filled in correctly to progress.


  • Шерлок Холмс: Загадка серебряной сережки - Russian spelling
  • 银耳环疑案 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Windows version)

101 People (80 developers, 21 thanks) · View all

Based on the Novel written by
Based on the characters created by
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Doctor John H. Watson
  • Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard
  • Sir Melvyn Bromsby
  • Lavinia Bromsby
  • Hermann Grimble
Story & Game Design
Project Coordination
Concept Art
Lead Programmer
3D Design
[ full credits ]



Average score: 72% (based on 46 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 32 ratings with 2 reviews)

Another curious incident in the night-time

The Good
May 1897

Pleased with Holmes's work on a previous case, Lord Cavendish-Smith asks the famed consulting detective, along with Dr. Watson, to determine if the Italian diva Gallia, of notable talent, but questionable reputation, is an appropriate choice for an upcoming gala. Cavendish-Smith sends invitations to Holmes and Watson for an event where Gallia will perform: Lord Bromsby's acknowledgment of his daughter's birthday and her return from abroad. This elaborate set-up is a red herring, though, for Lord Bromsby is struck down by an assassin's bullet as he addresses his guests, setting aside the case of the dubious diva for The Secret of the Silver Earring.

It would be easy to dismiss this game, since it comes from the makers of the abysmal Mystery of the Mummy. However, I am happy to report that they have learned from most of their mistakes, making this a solid, if not strong, entry. As one would hope in a Sherlock Holmes game, much time is spent questioning witnesses and examining evidence. Holmes and Watson begin their adventures at Sherringford Hall immediately after the incident, with Holmes covering the inside and Watson investigating the grounds.

Within the first half-hour of investigating, I talked to a dozen people and collected as much evidence (placed in a generic inventory pool). Using Holmes's tape measure, I sized up foot prints, his test tube collected mysterious powder, and his magnifying glass spotted hair in a basin. While some of this needed further examination back at Baker Street, Holmes made some deductions which he added to his journal. The journal also includes transcripts of conversations, important documents, and a map of London.

Taking place over the course of a business week, at the end of each day Holmes and Watson compare notes. Using the journal described above, players must successfully answer a five or six-question quiz, justifying their answer with testimony, evidence, documents, or Holmes's deductions. For instance, if you are asked if a person was a foreigner, you would have to select the testimony of a person who detected an accent and evidence collected of foreign tobacco. While the implementation could be better, this works well to reinforce the story.

With over forty people to question and many locations to explore, it doesn't take long to become buried with evidence. Luckily Holmes and Watson have use of Baker Street Irregular Wiggins, the tenacious Inspector Lestrade, and Mycroft (who sends useful missives). While my investigation time lasted nowhere near the 25-30 hours claimed on the official website, I had plenty to do. Apart from collecting evidence, Holmes makes side trips to Baker Street to analyze the clues under his microscope and conduct chemical tests. I was even surprised to find two stealth missions, where you point-and-click Holmes from shadowy area to shadowy area, and one timed mission. For puzzle/game fans, Silver Earring has significantly less to offer than Mystery of the Mummy, but there are a few logic problems around.

Silver Earring uses a traditional third person, point-and-click interface to move Holmes or Watson around the screen. Footprint hotspots show where they can move, a hand icon shows what can be interacted with, and a face icon shows people who can be interviewed. One of the nicest elements is that you can talk with everyone in the game and open almost every door. This moves away Silver Earring away from some games which offer a lot of color instead of interactivity.

Graphically Silver Earring is a mixed bag, offering nice, static visuals with crude animation. The game's characters walk stiffly, have pathfinding problems, and there is no syncing with dialogue. However, buildings are nicely textured and rooms within are detailed. The character models are well rendered and costumed—with a terrific Christopher Lee influenced Holmes and a good Watson who's quick to draw his notepad while Holmes questions someone.

In terms of audio, Silver Earring is well scored, but the music provides better ambiance than theme. Voice acting is sub par, having a strong Watson, but a weak Holmes. There are too many "characters" with strange voices. Lestrade is alternately "Les-trAY-de" or "Les-trAH-de". Wiggins is cringe-worthy. Ambient noises are very good though, providing texture to scenes which aren't visually dynamic.

The Bad
Aside from weak voice acting, Silver Earring has some problems in terms of conversing. Holmes initiates a conversation and then picks from available conversation topics. To complete the investigation, Holmes will need to hit on all the topics, so it's really just a clicking exercise to continue the conversation. Starting at the top of the conversation list and working your way down loosely emulates a conversation, but almost every person asks Holmes a question which goes unanswered.

Occasionally Holmes will need to confront a person with evidence, which means drawing it from the inventory and clicking on someone with it. These moments are prompted, but it would work better as a standard feature. There was one inventory item I held on to for days before I could ask a person about it, yet I should have had the opportunity all along. Instead, since these instances are rare, there's a lot of hand-holding surrounding them.

Holmes has a map of Sherringford Hall during the beginning of the game, but since it is only used to switch between Holmes's investigation inside the Hall and Watson's outside, it disappears when they rejoin. I would have preferred more maps, especially ones I could annotate. The map of London is also used to select an area to investigate, but there are never multiple paths available, so it becomes a clicking exercise once again. In Baker Street, Holmes says we should go back to Sherringford Hall, so the map pops up and you click on Sherringford Hall. Stuck on a puzzle somewhere? You cannot leave an area until everything has been completed—all evidence collected, all witnesses examined.

The quiz section is well intentioned, but the implementation needs some work. The purpose of the quiz is to ensure the player understands the story up to that point and the importance of the evidence collected. If you get a question wrong, the yes/no answer or the selection of evidence supporting your answer (which is more likely, since several pieces of evidence will seem likely), then you must correct it. Unfortunately, the quiz results don't tell you which question/s you answered incorrectly. Taking a step back, if the designers had let the player fail, then Holmes could have explained to Watson where the error was which would also have ensured the player understood the story and the evidence. Conversely, the same scheme with a more useful journal would have eased the matter.

Which brings us to the end. After interviewing everyone, collecting and examining all the evidence, there is one quiz remaining. Surely this would be the most important quiz? Nope. This is the only quiz you can skip or fail. If you attempt the quiz, you answer questions without supplying evidence. As a result, the journal is no longer available, even though it would be helpful. Regardless of how you approach the final quiz, a twenty-plus minute cinematic awaits that wraps the mystery up.

The Bottom Line
The Secret of the Silver Earring is not a bad game by any means, but it does have short comings. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked best in short-form and, likewise, I think the game's story is too sprawling to ever become engrossing. The end credits note that the game is based on a "novel" by Jalil Amr and its inclusion would have been a distinct touch. The game is still afoot, but while Frogwares' feet are growing, I fear the shoes are still too big.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2004

“Really, Holmes. You go too far!”

The Good
Frogwares is a young development house which has brought us two worthy additions to the adventure genre – Journey To The Center of the Earth and this game. Their first game, Mystery of the Mummy, got poor reviews and was a learning experience for them. It is nice to see their growth and progress, but they still have much more to learn.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books about the English detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson have been the subject of numerous computer games over the years. While some of those have almost duplicated actual cases from Doyle’s books, this newest entry, Secret of the Silver Earring (Case of the Silver Earring in Europe), uses those characters in a brand new work of fiction.

Holmes and Watson are requested to attend a reception being held at the astute Bromsby Sherringford Hall manor. The detective duo arrive and survey the scene in the huge ballroom. Sherlock shows off his deductive talents as he and Watson look over the guests which include numerous dignitaries and debutantes. Their host, Sir Bromsby, an older and dignified looking man, finally appears and approaches the podium to welcome his guests. Only a few words escape his lips before the deafening sound of a gunshot pierces the quiet room. Sir Bromsby lies on the floor dead. All eyes dart to the direction of the shot where Lavinia, Bromsby’s daughter, stands in shock and dismay amidst a puff of smoke. Sherlock immediately takes control, ordering Dr. Watson outside to secure the area. Meanwhile he will investigate inside the manor. A mystery is afoot!

Installation and start-up ran flawlessly and presented no problems on my Pentium 4, Windows XP system. I happen to have one of the two brands of video cards supported, however. Prospective buyers should read the system requirements carefully before purchase.

Overall, the point and click interface is easy to understand and you’re up and running in no time. Various cursors become active as you explore – a small square portrait for conversing, two footprints for movement and various others. A right click opens the inventory and journal screen, which stays hidden at the bottom of the screen until you do so. Inventory objects have titles, although you are not able to view them larger. Some objects can be manipulated within inventory by using a “pop-up” command menu (read, unpack etc.). It is also possible to combine some objects together.

Pressing your ESCape key brings up the main menu for saving, loading and resuming the game as well as access to the options and credits. The date and time as well as a snapshot of your actual location are the only things to identify each saved game. This may be ideal for multi-lingual releases, but I miss being able to name my saved games.

As the game begins, Sherlock Holmes can be seen in 3rd person perspective as players take charge of his actions. Interrogating the staff and guests as well as searching the rooms of the manor for clues and evidence are the order of the day. As information is learned, logs are kept in a Journal for reference later. The use of Sherlock’s legendary magnifying glass plus a test tube and tape measure are the keys to finding and picking up all pieces of evidence. Alternately, players can switch to Watson outside the house who is questioning everyone waiting in the courtyard. When both men are finished their respective tasks, they rejoin and decide to review their findings back at Baker Street. This sequence happens frequently throughout the rest of the game.

The artists have rendered the scenery and characters very well in Silver Earring. Everything looks natural and lifelike in 2D hand-drawn style. Objects of interest blend in well without becoming lost in the backgrounds and are fairly easy to spot for interaction. Inventory objects are realistic and easy to identify from their pictures.

Overall, there are very few sound effects to hear in this game. You will hear the footsteps while the characters walk, but little else. Many more could have been included (the sound of a key falling from its hiding place, for instance). However, sounds within puzzles (and other instances when hearing something is important to the plot) were done very well.

Music was varied throughout the game – fast and slow tempos. All of the music blended well into the background and added the appropriate “feeling” to the setting and actions being performed.

In the American version, which I played, the actors and actresses who voiced the characters did a brilliant job with their parts. All seemed natural to the person they were portraying, speaking with the appropriate tone of voice, inflection and emotion.

Lip-sync started out good in the beginning but faltered terribly as the game progressed. It is impossible to “read their lips” and some discussions are in hushed tones making it difficult to hear. Luckily there is an option to turn on the subtitles, which helps greatly – especially during one of Sherlock’s long, embellished monologues.

The original story in this “whodunnit” is interesting, but I can’t say that it kept me glued to the computer. The plot does unfold gradually as the “days” (chapters) progress and keeps you guessing until the last chapter. There are dozens of different non-player characters to meet as new places become available. An in-game Quiz at the end of each chapter helps to organize all of the documents, items and conversations. So as to not overwhelm players with the volume of information gathered, the Quiz is an informative way to summarize everything from the preceding chapter.

Silver Earring is not a puzzle intensive game, but its traditional inventory object based puzzles are good and blend in well with the storyline. Even if they are variations of puzzles found in other games, they felt fresh and new. Some required you to really put on your thinking cap. Clues for some of the normal puzzles are a bit far-fetched at times, in my opinion (i.e. a “Noah’s Ark” puzzle which relied upon hidden pictures within line-drawn art .. or deciphering the “code” for an unusual slide—type safe combination).

Some of the puzzles border on action. Players must find the only “happy spots” while positioning Holmes in at least 3 segments (i.e. avoiding guards between point A and point B and one timed “maze” section.).

The Bad
Players familiar with Frogwares’ previous game, Journey To The Center of the Earth, might recall problems with that game’s interface. Some of those issues plague this game also. The ones I encountered included missing or erratic “movement” cursors, inconsistencies with the use of Sherlock’s magnifying glass, and various problems moving characters around obstacles in a room.

One other irritation shared with JTTCOE .. if a door is locked, why does the character always say that it’s “closed”? We can certainly see that it is not open …

The game has other quirks worth mentioning also. For one, triggers for the end of a chapter are numerous. The player must click on each and every clickable spot before they can move on. This includes everything from looking at wall art to what seems like an insignificant furnishing. Because of this, players get stuck more often than necessary – mostly because they’ve forgotten to look at one object, which may or may not be important.

In their effort to make it impossible for a player to miss something before being able to advance, the programmers made a major mistake. An object only available during the 1st day is essential in the 4th – and it is possible to finish Day 1 without it. So, players who fail to pick it up earlier must restart the game – either from the beginning or from a very early saved game!

While the written dialogues for the majority of the characters were good, Sherlock Holmes comes off as a stuffy, dull Englishman and a pompous know-it-all. He may have been that, but his character, as portrayed in this game, is very unlikeable. His unnecessary rudeness towards his friend and partner, Dr. Watson, irritated me. I remember one time when Watson retorted back, “Really Holmes. You go too far!” Bravo! If I were Watson, I would have quit that job long ago!

The major complaint I have with the graphics concerns camera angles. When Sherlock moves through a door, for instance, his view is changed so that he is facing in a new direction. While this is similar to “real life”, the player can become disoriented and this can tend to get a player lost.

The ending .. well, let’s say it’s confusing at best. Although it was an elaborate scheme, Holmes long (and boring) “summary” left me snoozing.

Finally, the title .. I don’t have a clue why they included a Silver Earring in the title at all. Nothing about an earring of any kind is part of Holmes & Watson’s investigation until the very end.

The Bottom Line
Despite its flaws and idiosyncrasies, Sherlock Holmes: Silver Earring is a fairly decent game.

The fact that the programmers limited their customers to those owning specific video cards and the unwaivering linearity of the gameplay are the major reasons for my mediocre score. They are aware of the problems and have “saved game” files for problematic areas available on the Frogwares’ web site, but releasing a game patch would be the most ideal solution. Between you and me, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

On the good side: decent storyline, good graphics and music, numerous NPCs, original puzzles and varied locations.

Negatives include design flaws, pixel hunting, strict linearity, and a few “timed” or “timing dependent” situations. Players may need to upgrade their video cards to meet the minimum system requirements.

Windows · by Jeanne (75945) · 2005


Subject By Date
Waston and the Books sheena alexander Jan 2, 2010



The end credits note that the game was based on a novel by Jalil Amr. This doesn't refer to a published novel, but to something along the lines of fanfiction. Emailing Frogwares for more information about it, would result in a reply from the company's CEO Waël Amr stating: "The author wishes the novel not to be public and anyway it’s in French!"


Much of the game takes place at Sherringford Hall. Sherringford Hope (or Holmes) and Ormond Sacker were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original name choices for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John (or James) Watson.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Wii added by Nury.

Additional contributors: MAT, -Chris, Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, POMAH, JRK, lobo rojo, Ghost Pirate, Eltahriel, Cantillon, Nury.

Game added September 2, 2004. Last modified March 12, 2024.