I have opined on this blog about some of the games released for the Nintendo DS – games that don’t utilise the dual screen properly, mechanical issues with the buttons and navigation, awful graphics, right down to an absolutely shitty plot. Games have continued to disappoint me on the system and yet, being a glutton for punishment, I continue to play them so I can prove myself wrong.
People, I have good news to share! Unsolved Crimes for the DS is a game to add to the good pile. I picked this one up for $5 in a pile of junk at the Hock Shop in Sudbury, a couple of years ago. It sat on the shelf until I was recently looking for something with an interesting crime story.
The year is 1976. You are a rookie detective, newly hired for the NYPD Homicide squad, arriving on the scene as the city is brought to its knees by crime. You are partnered with experienced no-nonsense cop, Marcy, and together you investigate new homicides, build cases and solve them, all under the watchful eye of Captain Abbot. Soon into working your first case, Marcy learns her sister Betsy, a famous model, has just been kidnapped! Inspite of this, Marcy continues to investigate cases as a method of distraction. But, you soon realize too that she and the Captain have little patience for your lack of experience, so you better buck up, keep up with the pace, and get a clue, or you’re out!
Betsy’s kidnapping is interweaved among the 12 cases in total that this game offers. Each case, for that matter, varies in severity of homicide, from a poisoning to an axe murderer. You are briefed on each case by the Captain Abbot before heading out to the crime scene. You are then given a dossier on each suspect and any clues found. From there, you are challenged to figure out and deduce who is responsible for the crime, and report back to Abbot. The game gives you some multiple choice questions to answer in order to get to the bottom of who did the crime. It also challenges you to back up your statements with evidence found or witness statements found in your dossier. I found each murder case to be unique, and situations where you’re backing up your suspicions to be particularly challenging. If you screw up (which happened a few times for me) you can get kicked off the force. But, don’t worry, you can revert to a safe point and start the challenge all over again until you get it right.
The game makes use of the DS in a good way, using both top and bottom screens. The detective dossier was easy to access, and I give the game extra bonus points for providing gamers with a “notepad” component that allows the player to write little notes with their stylus of any clues they need to remember. Layouts of crime scenes could also be annotated.
Where the game suffers is the usual issue of graphics, as some scenes appear blurry… which happens to be my main complaint with the DS in general. In one scene, I was in some slimeball’s messy apartment searching for a random clue, only I could not find the darn thing until I consulted a walkthrough. You were made to zoom into a particular area. Sorry, the DS is just not made to magnify well.
Overall, Unsolved Crimes is a real departure from some of the crappy games I have played on the DS – I highly recommend this one! Add this one to your collection!
Unsolved Crimes (DS)