I have just discovered I’m not cut out to work for Catherine, Grissom, Sara and the rest of whatever they have going on in the crime lab on CSI: Las Vegas. For starters, I think I would be arrested for murdering everyone I had to work with out of complete and absolute frustration, let alone the lack of help I received while playing the TV show to gaming crossover for the Nintendo DS, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Dark Motives.
People, I didn’t even get past the first case. I am usually a little more “die hard,” sticking it through a little longer (like to the end of a chapter), but this time, I just couldn’t do it. To borrow from the Mr. Big chocolate bar slogan, when you suck this bad, they call you Mr. And let me tell you, Dark Motives Mr. Sucked.
When I fired up Dark Motives, I was half expecting the ubiquitous Who theme song to start. Instead, the game gives you some intense synth poppy soundtrack. For the most part, though, the game is eerily silent. No talking, no cool tunes. Only a “street” soundtrack like what you would hear in the background on Sesame Street. But, meh, I’ve played these silent-types before; no big deal.
In the game, you are the n00b crime scene investigator, partnered with Catherine and the rest. You are introduced to them all in rapid succession, whereby the game gives you a written transcript of each character’s background on the bottom screen, making you read it quickly as it scrolls by. This is my first complaint. If you have a reading disorder, this game will be a struggle for you, as many scenes give instructions, or recant stories pertinent to the game in a rapid scrolling transcript, which could not be stopped or slowed down. To make things even more interesting, some of the testimonies have combined a scrolling transcript on the bottom screen with live action animation on the top screen, making observing both screens at the same time physically impossible. I felt doomed from the start playing this, not being able to re-read or watch any of it and hoped that sooner or later I’d learn what I missed as I went along.
The game has you go to a crime scene, investigate and take samples, as well as interview “suspects”. In the first case, there was this stunt dude who was performing a motorcycle trick, but failed and crashed his bike. He was laid up in hospital. The CSI Team was called in to investigate. Every piece of evidence I collected seemed circumstantial, and the people I interviewed, including the cyclist, wondered why I was there. They all thought it was a big ass accident. Sooner or later, I was thinking the same thing and quickly ran into roadblocks. The game lets you ask for help, but the only hint I got was to investigate further (yeah, thanks…). At one point in my interviewing, I was to go to a different location to interview some other guy, but this location was never available to me. I eventually consulted a walkthrough, and apparently, at the point I was at in the game, I should have been able to interview this other guy. So, WTH is going on here? Hold that thought.
Another complaint: The game is supposed to allow you to analyse the data collected, but the mechanics on how to do that are hidden in menus. Trying to follow what they want you to do is like trying to pass an exam. I didn’t manage it. Is it just me?
Apparently not. Once I decided to quit CSI: Dark Motives after hours of trying to make it work, I went to see what others thought of it. Several had similar complaints about gameplay. Others said that if you didn’t investigate the crime scene or interview suspects in the right order, you will hit a dead end very quickly and will not be able to go on, forcing you to restart the whole game. Man, I hate games that do that!
Really, what was I expecting from Dark Motives? I mean, I only spent $3 on this game, so I’m not out much at all…I guess the price of a Mr. Big when you factor in taxes. Too bad I’m off chocolate bars…It would seem eating one and then having to work it off on the treadmill would have been time better spent than playing this game.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Dark Motives (DS)
Developer: Powerhead Games, 369 Interactive / Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: November 2007
Credit: 1. Baixegames 2. Valuevalet