Being one of the most successful shows for CBS in primetime, it was only a matter of time before it became a game and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation gives players a chance to experience the action seen on the show every week. The nagging question still remains however; will people not familiar with the TV show and the casual gamer enjoy this title?You begin the game as the newest addition to the CSI team in Sin City, otherwise known as Las Vegas. The game itself is organized into five different missions. Each crime must be solved before moving on to the next level. Players will be teamed up with one member of the CSI unit in each mission who acts as an advisor to you. If you have any trouble with evidence or are clueless on what to do next, asking your CSI partner will get you the answer right away. The different crimes, for the most part, aren’t linked together in a storyline. However there is a bizarre twist in the end that attempts to link at least some of the stories.In each mission, there are several locations the player can explore. The crime scene itself is where players typically start off; different locations will become unlocked when more evidence is revealed. There are also a few locales that will usually always be available anytime during a case. These include the morgue, the lab, and the ‘brass’ headquarters. At the morgue you can learn about specific clues found with the body, the lab is where you can analyze evidence and search computer databases and the headquarters is the place players go to get warrants, bring people in for interrogation, and obtain evidence from previous cases if need be.The first thing players will notice is the lack of adventure and exploration. Levels are static and you can only rotate your view to look around. The gameplay itself is relegated to a point and click style. The objects which players can interact with are clearly marked by having the cursor change color when hovering over them. The main problem with this is that only items specific to the case can be interacted with. Players can quickly enter a location, scan the room around with their mouse, pick out the evidence, and move on.Once evidence is found, players have a variety of methods they can use. Gathering evidence is broken up into two main parts: detecting and collecting. Dusting for prints, sniffing out gasses, and using infrared cameras are just some of the detection methods that will be available to you. Once detected, evidence can be collected via tweezers, swabs, lifting tape, etc and brought back to the lab to be analyzed. If you are ever confused about which method of collection to use, your CSI partner will give you subtle hints such as “use something similar.”The problem with this type of gameplay is that it is not very challenging. Whenever I had trouble finding evidence, I simply ran the mouse all over the screen and waited for the cursor to change color. In the five hours it took me to complete the game I can only recall a few times where I had a question. Even so, all I needed to do was to ask my CSI partner and they told me the answer I was looking for. This type of babysitting should not be included in a game that has been slapped with a mature rating. Most of the game’s scenarios and problems can be solved by simple logic. Even worse is the game’s ability to magically plug in all the missing information for you. It would have added some longevity to the game to have players try to find out some of the information given to them by Headquarters.Gameplay issues aside, the graphics in this title are also lacking. While the pre-rendered backgrounds are adequately done, at times they appear blurry and too soft. Objects such as birds which are close to your point of view appear out of focus. The characters themselves are done nicely but animations often seem jerky and sometimes skip and the lips are sometimes grossly out of sync with the audio dialogue of the characters.Speaking of audio, that was one of the high points in CSI. The characters from the television show lent their voices to the characters in the game. All the actors give good performances in the game and are very convincing. The dialogue itself was written by CSI scrip writer Max Alan Collins.Fans of the show will no doubt love CSI. Its environments put players in the same situations as the actors in the television show. Casual gamers will find the single player lacking and not worthy of the $29.99 price tag. This game had a lot of potential but ended up being quite possibly the longest tutorial ever.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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