C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation

Review

posted 6/13/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
CSI has been one of the hottest shows the past two years with some great acting and great storylines. I’ve always enjoyed the methods that the investigators used to gather clues in order to piece together what happened. As with a lot of hit TV shows, a game usually comes out of the process and thus CSI: Crime Scene Investigator is available for the PC.

As a new member of the team, you are off to solve various murders using tools that are familiar to anyone that watches the show. All of the actors lend their voices to the game giving it a more authentic feel. Instead of relying on shot footage, all the characters are modeled in 3D. Most of the models are pretty good but there’s a few that are off. Grissom, Warrick, Brass, and Catherine are a few that are modeled pretty well. Greg, I think, needs some work and Sarah’s face seems a bit off to me. You’ll be partnered with each of the five main characters with Brass, Al, and Greg offering their assistance when visited.

There are five crime scenes that you will investigate using 14 forensic tools. As you progress through each crime scene you study every little detail of the scene and are provided with flashbacks that look very similar to those from the TV show. Flashbacks such as showing how a bone was broken are recreated in the CSI style that all the fans love. All the scenes are rendered in 3D allowing you to rotate around the room and zoom in on particular areas. When you find certain clues, they can lead to new areas to examine. At the end of each scenario you get graded on your performance by your skill in finding all the clues and if you asked for any help from your partner. Asking help will deduct points from your final score but your partner is there so that you won’t get stuck for too long and need a little help.

Trying to make a game out of solving crimes by viewing a crime scene doesn’t leave one much choice but to make it a point and click game. The arrow turns green over an area that can be zoomed in closer so that leaves you hunting and pecking around the scene sometimes when you get desperate. CSI does do a good job of providing enough visual clues that you can find out most of the hot spots without having to scroll the cursor around furiously. You’ll pretty much know which detection or gathering tool you use by your partner’s words and on some you’ll know to keep searching with that particular tool. For example, if you want to know when you can use the magnifying glass, your partner will usually keep quiet if you click on an area that needs to be zoomed into. Otherwise, your partner will usually tell you you can’t use that tool here. It does eliminate some of the guesswork on what tool to use when and will help alleviate some frustration.

What also helps is that you don’t have to get all the clues to finish to solve the crimes. Each scenario can be finished with a certain percentage of evidence collected but the more thorough you are the more extras you will unlock. The extras consist of artwork and storyboards for the game. If you do finish all scenarios perfectly you get a set of bonus materials to browse through.
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