CSI: Miami (Windows)

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Written by  :  Jeanne (76520)
Written on  :  May 21, 2005
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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More interaction .. more tools .. more puzzles

The Good

I am a fan of the CSI television shows, so playing as a member of their team made it exciting for me. Staying true to the theme of the CSI: Miami show, the locations and cases themselves have a definite Floridian flair. You'll visit oceanside homes decorated in tropical themes, a palm tree lined golf course, as well as a flashy nightclub (to name a few). And, hey, your first victim is an alligator! Of course, the cut scenes show snippets of the city of Miami, its beaches and boating life.

If you've played either of the previous CSI games, you'll notice some changes and improvements immediately. The "difficulty" level eluded to in the advertising actually takes away some of the guesswork and yet doesn't spoil anything. Checking "easy" on all the options does several things. For one, questions about objects you have in inventory automatically appear during conversations, eliminating the need to drag objects to that person. Also, after analysis, each evidence item will bear a "finished" tag.

Going through the tutorial is good for those unfamiliar with the series (or gameplay), but since I've played them all now, I liked being able to skip it altogether. And, it's always nice to be able to turn subtitles on or off.

They finally gave us the most commonly used tool in CSI - a flashlight! There are a couple of new evidence tools to work with also. But the most obvious change to the interface is the ability to use those tools on evidence after its been picked up. So if you missed something about an item when you found it, it is still possible to discover it.

Finding evidence is somewhat of a pixel hunt, which tests your observation skills. It's nice that the "active" green cursor disappears after you have finished in that spot. Traipsing back and forth between locations can become tedious, although that's all part of the discovery process.

I even liked the "end case" bonuses this time around! In addition to concept art, "Master" investigators get treated with a few interactive jigsaw puzzles and cryptograms. (There are several of those puzzles within the cases too, and the interface used is positively intuitive.)

Lastly, the game has a decent length. As in the last two games, the final case involves people and places from the previous cases. Although not as profound as in the first CSI game, I thought Case 5 in CSI: Miami was really good.

The Bad

I really have very little to complain about here.

Character art needs improvement to make them as attractive as their real-life persona, and I've seen better lip sync in Saturday morning cartoons.

I got tired of hearing the same responses from the lab tech, Valera. And, of course, instant lab results are unrealistic.

I had hoped that the difficulty options would let me play one step above a rookie, but not yet. Maybe in future games.

The Bottom Line

I liked CSI: Miami and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys detective mysteries, especially fans of the television series since it brings the show to life. Its easy point-and-click interface, good graphics, music and sound effects enhance the overall experience.

The five cases are interesting and keep you guessing until you've found that last piece of information, tying everything up in a nice, neat package. The inclusion of interactive cryptographic and jigsaw puzzles makes this one distinctively different than the two games before it.