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CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Simulation/ Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

The cast of CSI: Las Vegas make an appearance here, with accurate representations in the 3D world of the game. For the moderate specs required to run this game, it looks pretty decent. The look of the game is overall pretty realistic. Of course, the lab is slick looking, with appropriate "cool" blue lighting and high tech equipment everywhere. During scene transitions and some parts of the investigations, you'll get clips of live video. It's a little jarring to see the contrast between the live video clips and the in-game graphics, but after a while, you get used to it. Still, it seems like a bit of a reach to try to tie the TV show and the game together.

The music here is reminiscent of the TV show: moody, but with a beat. It's the perfect kind of thing to investigate by. The voice acting for CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent is also well done, matching the attitude of the show fairly well. Everyone's cool and calm, and a few silly jokes are thrown around among the team to ease the tension. Actually, it doesn't seem like the action ever heats up, so the function of humor as a tension breaker is something you just have to take on faith. Only the suspects and witnesses put on a slightly more emotional show. So, while it does match the spirit somewhat, you're not going to mistake this rather smooth ride for the more action-packed routine of an actual episode of the show.


CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent flows much like the TV show does. You investigate murder scenes as a member of the CSI team and gather evidence for forensic examination. Find one clue, and the team will be able to deduce some small part of the story instantly. The reconstruction of the story will play in short clips, much like the show does, and eventually form the full story of the crime scene.

You'll find evidence everywhere, but overall, the flow is pretty linear. You can't gather some evidence until you've completed another task, such as move a body. You find some evidence by talking to witnesses, some by searching, and some from the evidence you've already collected. So, while the majority of your time is spent gathering items from the crime scene and other locations and analyzing it, you can only make the deductions that are available to you at that point in the story. It feels authentic, but it also takes away the feeling that you have a whole lot of control over the outcome of the game.

You'll use high tech equipment (you know, the kind that makes cool noises and makes big flashy notices of everything you need to know instantly) to analyze the evidence you've gathered. It's pretty straightforward as to what equipment you need to use and when. You analyze an item with a fingerprint in the fingerprint database, analyze DNA in the DNA analysis machine, and so on. Analyzing evidence is crucial to advancing the game, and if you're interrogating a witness, you may even have to leave the room while you're talking to them in order to gain some information and the upper hand.

The stories you follow contain just about as much mature content as the show. You'll start out with your basic murder case, but the cases branch out into drug use, rape, and other heavy topics. Still, with the always cool and calm demeanor of the CSI team members, it's hard to get too excited about anything. Sure, it's just another day at the office, but that doesn't mean that you have to feel like you're working too.


Even with the hints turned down to the lowest level, you'll still receive a lot of help. Sometimes you'll get an "email" with tips on what you need to do. These seem to come up when you've spent a lot of time in an area without making progress. Your partner Nick will actually tell you something like "Something tells me the happy couple left some more clues in their honeymoon suite" to let you know what you should be doing next or what you still haven't finished.

Tutorials are abundant in CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent, though with the technical jargon, you may still be left wondering what you're doing. There are no worries, as most tasks are simple drag-and-drop or matching activities. If you want to match fingerprints, you may drag a partial print over a larger print to see if it matches. If you want to put together a broken object, you drag the pieces around one at a time until they snap together.

The game is pretty forgiving about discovering evidence. If you have found all the evidence in an area such as a chair, you won't be able to click on that area again. If you've already analyzed a piece of evidence to the fullest extent that it can be analyzed, a check mark will appear over that item. This ensures that you won't be going over the same evidence or areas endlessly to find what you may be missing in order to advance. The only part where it gets tricky is during interrogations. Here, in a manner similar to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, you are allowed to make accusations and throw the evidence around to make connections. Nothing will ever happen to end the game, but you will receive penalties to your score for that chapter. You won't "see" your penalties, but your score will be lowered at the end of the chapter.

Game Mechanics:

CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent does a point-and-click adventure game quite well. The hot-spots in the background seem to be fairly large, and the backgrounds themselves are interesting, but simple, without a whole lot of distracting details. No one is really trying to trick you with optical illusions or to hide things, although there are a few problem areas. For example, there was a patch of supposedly bleached carpet that I could not distinguish from the rest of the carpet, and I have the brightness and contrast on my system turned up pretty high. Still, that was one of the only cases where I had to mouse over the entire screen blindly in order to find something.

CSI: Deadly Intent isn't the kind of game that taxes you mentally, though you will advance through the game more quickly if you make the right connections. Rather, this feels like a relaxed ride where you get to watch an investigation unfold. In that sense, it's a lot like its TV show counterpart. The game also feels rather short, with only 5 chapters, each of which can be finished in a matter of hours. CSI fans may be pleased with this brief offering, but those wanting a true detective experience may be bored with it.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP with SP3 / Windows Vista with SP1 (only), 2GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP (3 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 recommended), 512 MB (Windows XP) / 1GB (Windows Vista) (1 GB / 2 GB recommended), 64 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible (128 MB recommended), DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, 4x DVD-ROM or faster, 6 GB Hard Drive Space

Test System:

Windows XP, 3.20 GigaHertz Intel Pentium 4, 1 GB Ram, RADEON X850, Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Gyromancer Microsoft Xbox 360 CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Deadly Intent

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated