Deftly combining my two current passions, Dinosaur Detective Agency places you in command of a prehistoric Holmesian crimebuster called - side-splittingly - Sherlock Ness. With deerstalker, pipe and herbivorous grin, he must patrol the primeval mire rounding up rascally reptilian ruffians. Alternatively: it is a platform game. There are platforms to walk about on, things to collect and baddies to jump over. And, er, that is it.
But let us stick with the first interpretation, as I will never fill this box otherwise. And Sherlock ness, as it turns out, is no ordinary dinosaur detective. He is actually 'the cleverest dinosaur this side of Jurassic Park' (apparently). He has got this great camera that can be pointed at baddies to temporarily blind them.
And he can also dig tunnels underground where there are bits of soft earth. He will find railway trucks to ride on, drippy things falling from the ceiling to dodge under, and coins to collect for bonus points.
An appraisal of the graphics is always important in this sort of thing. So, er, the graphics, then. They are sort of all right, I suppose. Not terrible, but not great. The sprites are all a bit small, and the choice of colours is drab, but Sherlock looks quite cute.
And the sound, of course. The sound effects are rather quiet and crap, and there is a completely-out-of-time-with-his-feet footstep noise when Sherlock moves his walks about (his feet, in turn, being completely-out-of-time-with-the-speed-the-ground-is-moving-at). The music is quite sweet, though - a sort of jolly, whistling tune - but I was compelled to turn it off after just 23 seconds (A new record for Jonathan nonetheless. - Ed).
But the success or failure of Dinosaur Detective Agency rests or falls, of course, on whether it is any good to play, and how long it will last you. And, although Dinosaur Detective Agency is aimed squarely at our old chum 'the younger player', I actually found it pretty tricky. There are a number of possible reasons for this, the most likely being that when it comes to playing games I am probably the least clever dinosaur this side of One Million Years BC.
In my defence, though, I could point out that the game features a really nasty bit where you have got to climb up the screen on a load of moving railway trucks, and if you fall off you drop all the way back down to the bottom and have to start again in a much worse mood. I hate bits like that.
And some of the puzzles border on the obscure, like having to drop a block into a railway truck to start it moving, when all the other railway trucks seem to manage just fine without. And I have also been brought up (albeit unwillingly) on a diet of platform games where you can kill baddies by jumping on their heads, so it took me a while to work out my early attempts at primordial puzzle-cracking seemed to end so prematurely. And - oh dear - you only get one life.