CSI: Deadly Intent: review

It was a cold December day and I was working on my first case, I had to work on my case because I couldn’t afford a desk. I looked around the room for a while and noticed the curtains were drawn, but that was all right ’cause everything else was real. Suddenly there was a tap on the door, so I reached around and turned it off. She walked in with legs that went all the way up to her neck, she looked like a freak, but they were nice legs! I asked her what was wrong and she just rolled her eyes at me, so I picked them up and rolled them back to her. She asked me if I was the guy who could get things fixed, I told her the mechanic was next door…

Got you in the mood for some detective work? Nah, didn’t think so! We do apologise for the slew of bad private eye jokes above, but our in-house comedian was recently found dead on-stage covered in rotten tomatoes. This sounds like a job for a CSI investigator! Enter CSI : Deadly Intent.

Q&A

Now come on Murry, we found the panties in your pocket!

CSI starts you off as a rookie detective on a new case (the original cast from the TV show obviously found to be unworthy of it). A dead woman in a hotel room with a bit of ashtray jammed into her neck, and a shifty looking bell-boy who apparently knows nothing. All the tools you see them use on TV are at your disposal here to find out who dunnit. As the introduction level progresses, you’ll probably find there’s been a little P.I just waiting to burst out of you for a long time. This may be ‘just’ a point-and-click adventure, but it does a fair job of bringing you into its world, and makes you feel like a shrewd detective rather quickly. The toolset you’re given to play with has a few nifty little things to use while solving murders; there’s the expected stuff like swabs for taking blood and DNA samples, tweezers for not getting doughnut juice on evidence, film-tape for taking fingerprints, and a cute little fuzzy brush for finding those fingerprints. There are other (more magical) tools to use such as luminol that makes other, washed fluids appear on surfaces you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

The thing about these tools though, is that you can’t just go around swabbing or spraying the scenery willy-nilly, instead you will be prompted with a little tool icon when you mouse over an item or parts of the environment you can use these tools on. This leads to you feeling a bit like your hand is being held the whole time and makes you feel that you’re basically being told what to do and when to do it. So your sense of involvement comes and goes, as the rather static backgrounds and mannequin like characters continually remind you that this is all just a game of a TV show. Which is a bit of a shame when you consider what little there is in the way of complexity to hold back on detail in this game. The CSI offices (in the TV show) for example are a bustling, busy place. Yet in the game it’s as if everyone’s got the day off, except you! Whoever is working on the same case as you has to come to work, and can be found wherever you go, but that’s it! It’s in the offices you’ll do most of your crime solving too, and the way you go about doing that is by playing mini-games – well, sort of.

They’re more like fit the square peg through the square hole games. Take the chemical matching computer for example. The chemical you put in is displayed as a set of lines on a graph, and to find out what the chemical is all you do is match up the lines from a selection on the right of the screen. The DNA process is pretty much the same thing, except it uses coloured dots in a random pattern that you mix and match, sounds like hard work Sherlock! It’s not, it’s really not.

CSI Labs

It's a busy place, the CSI labs

The voice acting is pretty low-key which is to be expected given the game’s roots, and fits in with the lonesome atmosphere; but we can’t help feeling there could have been a bit more enthusiasm involved. We don’t expect chief Brass to leap around his office excitedly when we solve part of a case, but a bit more feeling wouldn’t have gone amiss. It’s as if Telltale Games have had to push this out the door rather quickly, rather than take a decent amount of time on the feel of the game overall. If you’re a fan of the TV show and not computer games though, the chances are you’re not likely to care too much about how this all comes together technically as a game, and the chance to finally use your own initiative to solve crimes rather than screaming at the TV “She did it, I told you at the beginning! She did it!” will probably be a huge gust of fresh air to you. If this is the case, then you’ll likely love this game for what it is. If you’re a gamer however the five ‘levels’ or mysteries to solve here won’t give you much run for your money. Let’s get this straight; we’re not saying gamers are smarter than those who lard-out in front of a TV (would we even dream of saying such a thing?) but rather, fans of the show are much more likely to extract amusement from this as a one-time dip into the sea of gaming than those of us who rule the waves.

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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He's what we now refer to as "Old Skool" because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he's sure VR can't be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

One comment

  1. I reckon everyones had to write this review at some point, maybe more than once. Its the game produced for a license with a limited budget and where the dev team have little control over content. I think the games have remained unchanged since that splurge of X-files TV imitators that each had to have their own game back in the late ’90s – pixel hunts with talky-people cutscenes.

    Funnily enough, I imagine it works better as a Wii or DS game.

    Nice writeup and thanks for the haircut!

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