CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Review


CSI is an adventure game that casts you in the role of the newest member of the Las Vegas PD's CSI unit.  If you watch the TV show then you'll recognize the rest of the team as the game uses the likenesses of the show's cast along with the actors' voices.  You'll be faced with five different crime investigations that each play out like an episode of the TV show.  You'll get the same quality writing and quick-witted dialog of the show thanks to the fact that the cases and dialog in the game were penned by one of the show's writers.  You'll even get to watch the show's trademark reconstruction sequences that are shown each time a detail of the crime is discovered.  While being a part of the show will be a dream for its fans, other gamers will discover that the game suffers from some of the same issues that have always plagued adventure games and will find it to be too easy to complete.

Screenshots
A crime's been committed, time for CSI to go to work.

The game is primarily controlled through a toolbar appearing along the bottom of the screen.  This toolbar is divided into three main areas: locations, tools, and evidence.  The locations area lets you move between the scene of the crime, suspects' and witnesses' locations, and any other place where evidence or information may be obtained.  It also gives you access to the CSI unit's forensic medicine and evidence labs and the office of Jim Brass for when you need help from the police for warrants or collars.  Moving between the locations is as simple as clicking their icons in the toolbar.

The tools area gives you access to fourteen different forensic tools that you can use to examine crime scenes and gather evidence.  To use a tool you simply click on it and then move it to the main view to examine the object of interest.  You get the standard rubber gloves and fingerprint duster type of tools, but you also get high-tech tools as well that help you to detect ambient gasses, traces of blood, and other things that elude the naked eye.  There's the potential here for a good deal of problem solving with the size of the tool set, but unfortunately the game idiot-proofs things for you.  The game would be far more challenging if you ran the risk of tainting or missing evidence by using the wrong tool, but it doesn't give you the chance to do that.  If you grab the wrong tool for the job, your partner will say something like "you can't use that here" or "better dust it for prints first."  So instead of needing to be careful with a crime scene as would a real CSI, you'll end up clicking through the list of tools until you select the one the game wants you to use.