Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels

Commodore 128 Specs [ all ]
Buy on Amiga
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Buy on Commodore 64
$149.99 new at eBay
Buy on DOS
(prices updated 9/25 5:59 PM )

Description official descriptions

The famous detective Sherlock Holmes reads in a newspaper that the Tower of London has been closed for "reasons of security". Shortly afterwards he finds out that the Crown Jewels belonging to the royal family were stolen. The fact is kept in secret, and Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes best friend and associate, must retrieve them within forty-eight hours to avert a world-wide scandal.

In this text adventure the player controls Dr. Watson, exploring familiar locations in London, questioning suspects and solving puzzles. The interaction with the game world is performed by typing combinations of verbs and objects. Descriptions of locations must be read carefully, as they may contain clues vital to solving the game.

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Credits (DOS version)




Average score: 80% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 1 reviews)

An interesting, lavish experiment that's a little too linear

The Good
Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels is an involved and highly atmospheric journey through Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian London. True to most of the original stories the game places you in Watson's perspective as you must subtly guide Sherlock Holmes through various puzzles and traps. The accompanying materials, a newspaper and detailed map of London, are excellent, and a great deal of the gameplay is based on finding your way around the great city and mastering its geography. Infocom have clearly read up on their Conan Doyle; there are dozens of winks and nods for Holmes maniacs to pick up on. While not a canonical story, the plot is certainly reflective of the classic Baker Street elements - lost jewels, troubled royalty, political ramifications, sudden insight, and yes, even the seven percent solution are all in there.

The Bad
S:TROTCJ is the epitome of "interactive fiction", but in a slightly different sense than usual. The game is essentially a guided tour through a pre-existing story, rather than an environment in which you can make your own way. While this makes for great detail, characters, and atmosphere, it does feel limiting at times, as you are inevitably whisked along to the next set-piece of gameplay. S:TROTCJ makes for interesting comparisons with two other Infocom classics, HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Trinity, both of which have similarly well-planned storylines but manage to give the appearance of considerable freedom.

The Bottom Line
Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels is great fun for anyone who's ever enjoyed the Conan Doyle stories. It doesn't have the same kind of mindbending puzzles or oblique gameplay as some of the other Infocom titles, but for a relaxing wander down to 221B Baker St, it can't be beaten.

DOS · by Colin Rowsell (43) · 2002


Cancelled ports

When the game was initially announced in Infocom's newsletter The Status Line (in Volume VII N. 1 Winter/Spring 1988), it was stated that it would be also released for the Atari ST and Apple GS platforms. These conversions were however not offered for sale in the following issues of the newsletter, thus suggesting they were cancelled. Despite this, many websites list (as of October 2015) an Atari ST release. This is perhaps due to a playable version that circulates, but is likely an unofficial conversion.

First built-in clues

Sherlock was the first game released by Infocom with built-in InvisiClues.

Follow-up projects

In an interview, Bob Bates said this about the last project he worked on for Infocom: "The third was always meant to be a Robin Hood game, but when the opportunity came up to do a game based on James Cameron's The Abyss, Infocom asked me to do that instead. That's the game I was working on at the time the company shut down."


Release 26 (Amiga and Macintosh) supports sound. It's possible to update earlier dat.files (Release 21), and when the appropriate sound files are also available, play them with audio with a suitable interpreter (such as Frotz).


Bob Bates was the only external Infocom writer.

Information also contributed by Belboz, -Chris, Tony Van

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Commodore 128 added by Trypticon. Commodore 64, Amiga added by Martin Smith. Apple II added by Eli Tomlinson. Macintosh added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Belboz, mo , c64fan, Trypticon.

Game added June 27th, 2015. Last modified August 14th, 2023.