Go back to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Dark Motives

Written by: Rik

Date posted: March 5, 2011

If you own a DS, and you wanted to, you could play CSI: Dark Motives on the move. I’d advise against it though, seeing as the PC version upon which it’s based is rubbish.

More recent handheld efforts, though, have proved more successful. When the development baton was passed to Other Ocean in 2009, they came up with the surprisingly-impressive CSI: Deadly Intent – The Hidden Cases (bottom left pic), a sparky effort developed specifically for the DS, which makes the best use of the system’s resources: the touch-screen is central to much of the investigation, while the game’s graphical style is, sensibly, re-styled from the freakish attempts at realism on offer in the PC and 360 games to a much more palatable (and altogether better-looking) cartoon approximation.

It looks good, the music’s catchy, the storylines are engaging, and the whole thing rolls along with the kind of dynamism and energy you’d want and expect from a game of the TV show. There’s an authentic-looking (and sounding) prologue to each case; you participate in lab-work (via puzzle mini-games); your CSI partner not only talks to you and other colleagues but also does other work of their own on each case; and, most importantly, you find yourself wondering who the murderer is each time. It may not be the most challenging game in the world, and it’s all over rather quickly, but I’d take a fast-moving and interesting story over hours of dull frustration any day.

The 2010 follow-up, CSI: Unsolved (bottom right pic), also developed by Other Ocean, largely follows the same format, and also includes a reasonable attempt at recreating the show’s opening credits (featuring a passable cover version of Who Are You?). Unfortunately, though, the storylines aren’t quite as compelling, the puzzle mini-games seem to have been made considerably easier, and the whole thing represents a minor disappointment when compared with its predecessor. It’s still miles better than either CSI or Dark Motives on the PC, though.