CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Review (Xbox)

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December 21st, 2004
The Abbreviation CSI meant nothing to much of the population before CBS made a hit television show out of investigative dirty work. Crime scene investigation may not be the most glamorous job in the world and is probably down-right depressing, but it sure does make for good, suspenseful TV, especially since Murder She Wrote is no longer on. Solving a crime has been a solid form of entertainment since the Sherlock Holmes days and not much has changed since then. Sure, the magnifying glass has been replaced with an electron microscope and the London Fog garb has been replaced with Armani, but people still dig on the solving of murder mysteries. Ubisoft realized that PC gamers would probably get a kick out of solving their own CSI crimes, and they were right. CSI and CSI: Dark Motives were sleeper hits for the PC and now, they are available on one disc for the Xbox. Will owners of the Box get the same thrill out of running with Grissom, Willows, and Big Al as PC gamers do? Do you have a possible career in canvassing crime scenes for clues? Maybe you’ll find out with the help of Ubisoft…


Instead of actually being one of the CSI TV show personalities you get to play as a no-name intern working the crime lab night shift. But, just as they do every week for your entertainment on CSI, you’ll get to analyze the evidence, interview suspects, and collect items both relevant and totally irrelevant to the case. The whole goal here is to close what is known as the “evidence trinity” well illustrated on the show, and in my favorite board game “Clue.” For each mission, you must figure out the relationship between the victim, the suspect, and the crime scene, which is accomplished with the latest forensic tools and equipment and some good ol’ problem solving skills.

There are a total of ten cases to be solved in CSI Crime Scene Investigation but you will only have access to one case when the game begins. Cases will only become unlocked after the current case has been solved and justice has been properly served. Your performance on each case will be evaluated and rated. The rating is based on the percentage of evidence/information collected minus the number of hints used. You will have to figure out pretty much everything on your own if you hope to be reach the Master level, however, gamers always have the option of going back through solved cases in order to shoot for a higher evaluation score.

Don't I look cool in my secret crime lab?

Gamers are first presented with the actual crime scene for each case and must take the necessary steps to solve it through investigation, evidence gathering, and interrogation. A simple PC-based point-and-click system allows full view of the crime scene. Instead of a mouse, gamers use the thumbstick to move a context-sensitive cursor around the current body in order to find possible clues to the crime. The right thumbstick rotates the camera around the crime scene to find more context-sensitive areas that could be integral to the case. Once an area of interest is passed over the cursor will turn green. A green cursor means that a closer look at the area of interest can be taken and the forensic tools can be pulled out.

The tools are probably the most important aspect of the game since they can not only detect certain things such as fingerprints and invisible blood stains, but they can also be used to gather evidence for further review in the lab. Using tools is a point and click affair as well- the appropriate tool is selected from a rotary menu (each has a brief description) then moved with the thumbstick over the area of interest. Tools range from a simple heavy brush for removing dirt to an infrared diagnostic camera which can detect prior heat signatures saved within objects. Gamers can pick up evidence for further analysis in the lab or analyze the evidence on the spot, but in a less sophisticated fashion. If your hunch is right about the gathering of evidence, the item will be saved to an evidence folder which can be accessed via the left trigger.

After the crime scene has been successfully canvassed (your CSI teacher will prompt you when it’s time to move along) you can head to other locations which can be accesses by the right trigger. Crime scenes will of course vary from case to case but the CSI office locations stay the same. Big Al will help you further analyze a victim at the morgue which is an important step in most every case. The high powered computers at the disposal of Greg Sanders at the lab can be helpful in a number of ways. Image enhancement and microscopy allow minute details to show on just about any item, and two items can be compared side-by-side to look for any discrepancies or to try and obtain a match. The computer can also be used for comparisons and searches that involve sets of fingerprints, shoe prints, or even tire treads. Even DNA strands can be matched for those cases where blood samples play huge role. Both comparative analysis and searches for matching evidence can be performed with Sanders’ equipment, but gamers will have to sift through the results carefully in order to try and find usable information.

If your senses are right, your CSI counterpart will give a brief synopsis as to how this clue may figure into the case. You can also ask for hints from your CSI partners for even further information which may be pertinent to the case, but keep in mind, you will be docked a certain percentage for this which is reflected in your ranking. CSI partners also illustrate possible motives and reconstructions of the crime for the gamer which must be taken with a grain of salt- these guys aren’t always right but they can usually put you on the right track.
Xbox Game Facts
Ubisoft Entertainment
Ubisoft Entertainment
Release Date:
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Offline Players: 1
5.5 out of 10
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Average :: 6.5
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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Screenshot Gallery
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Screenshot Gallery
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Screenshot Gallery
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