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SummaryExcellent! Keep 'em coming!
The GoodI agree with MAT that this game, like the one before it, is utterly addictive. You'll want to keep playing until you solve it .. hours on end .. until each case, and finally the whole game, is finished. It's interesting to note that if you leave the game for a certain length of time in the middle of a case, you'll need to start that case over. Good thing too because after a 2 week break I had forgotten everything about it!
Being able to "work" as a part of the CSI team is great. Even though the drawn version of each character is similar to the real life person, the artists could have done a better job graphically representing them. But that's okay because hearing their voices is enough, even though the lip-sync still needs much improvement. The cases are varied and interesting and you get a different CSI member as your partner with each one.
The video cut-scenes and overall graphic environments are good as well as the music, which adds the proper amount of ambiance to the action. And, like in the television show, you get to see all the gory details in the morgue and at the crime scenes.
In Dark Motives there are a few more tools to use, and you are able to examine evidence more thoroughly after it's in your possession. (I don't remember being able to do that in the first CSI.) So, if you missed a hair or fiber at the place you found the evidence, you'll still be able to find it later. The computer in the lab has more programs for searching and comparing evidence too. You are able to examine things inside the microscope more closely as well.
The company blurbs mention a "difficulty" setting, but that feature is not the same as in most other games. Here, you'll select how much information and/or interaction you want with the evidence (mostly lab analysis). I chose to have the most, and even then the evidence was more difficult to find for me in this game. Maybe it was the cases themselves, but it seemed that the "hot spots" were harder to locate. You must scan every pixel for the action cursor and try using all of the tools to uncover everything.
If you need help, you can ask your current CSI partner. The answers you get are vague .. just enough to lead you to the spot that needs further study. They make you do all the work, so in the end you feel like you are really contributing towards fighting crime. True, it is aggravating when you can't figure out exactly what you haven't done, but I found the hints gave me enough to go on. Frustration aside, I enjoyed every minute of the investigations.
The BadThe game takes a somewhat long time to install from the 3 CD-ROMs, but afterwards you only need Disc 1 in the drive (as verification) when you begin play.
After completing a case you are given randomly generated questions regarding facts, such as the color of a notebook or the room number where a suspect lived. Well, those questions will tax the memory center of your brain, but aren't essential for solving the case. In my opinion, they were a way to lengthen game play and an unnecessary addition.
Also, the "bonuses" after each case (artist sketches and interviews with real people) might be interesting to some, but not to me in the least. I think I actually looked at only one of them.
The Bottom LineI love the TV series and I adore this game series! If you've never watched the television shows, I would suggest you do because you'll gain incite on what CSI is all about. Then when you begin playing you'll have a better idea of what is expected of you. As a rookie member of the team, you'll be helping them find and analyze evidence until you have found enough to send a criminal to trial.
Dark Motives doesn't need to be played after the CSI 1 because it doesn't continue the first story in any way. It stands on its own as an excellent game, and, in my opinion, much better than the first.