CSI: 3 DIMENSIONS OF MURDER


Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: ***  Player participation (PP) ****  Satisfaction Factor (SF) ****

Frustration Factor (FF) **

I will not spoil the game for you by giving you a blow by blow description of it.  Rather I will give you general playing details, plus furnish you with a Link to a Hints/Walkthrough site at the end.

  • Let me start by saying that it is advisable to install this game – and download its specific patch from ubisoft+csi+patch – on a PC using Microsoft Windows XP  Pro Service Pack 3, DirectX 9, and most importantly QuickTime 6.  Do not exceed this version of QuickTime as the game will become unplayable.
  • If you look at my previous article – Problems and Solutions – you will see the reasons why this QuickTime level is so important.  If you run the game on a computer of this level then you will experience no problems with the game – it will open and play properly.  However, Windows 7 can reset the settings for this game – go in through Troubleshooting, and follow the prompts under resetting older versions.  For more details of this process, check the above Problems and Solutions blog.  This may work, but if not other solutions are on that blog for you to try.
  • The computer parameters for this game are listed on the Game box as usual.
  • Like the previous Game (CSI: MIAMI), CSI: 3 DIMENSIONS OF MURDER requires the disc in the computer in order to play – despite being fully installed.
  • The Graphics for all 5 Cases of this Game are slightly different from the previous games – the 3D element is really good, the lip-sync is fine, and even the hair is more normal.  The location graphics are excellent, with the attention to details – like knotted-grain timber in the coffee table, and pattern, weave and texture of the carpet and upholstery fabrics – which add to the realism of the game.  There is a positive to the graphic presentation, and that is the clarity that it brings to the game search.
  • Once again the comprehensive Tutorial is clearly instructive for first-timers, with the additional bonus of the player being given the choice to use the tutorial or opt out.  This is great for repeat players.  Also if you choose to play the tutorial, you can opt out whenever you like by clicking on Options.
  • The Options opens to a control panel with Normal, Advanced or Expert settings that enable or disable Active Navigation Hotspots, Active Tools Hotspots, Evidence Tagging, Location Tagging, and Tool Assist, depending on the level of expertise chosen by the player.  Default setting is Normal.
  • This game allows a much greater degree of scanning in locations and with evidence.  You can use the mouse by pointing at the arrows at the perimeter of the scene/evidence window to move Left, Right, Up and Down, and by using the mouse-wheel you can zoom in and out.
  • Right click to back out of close-ups in locations, but not out of equipment – you must use the exits provided on the screens.  You can press the Space bar to fast forward through dialogue that might become tedious to those replaying the Game but WARNING: too much of the Space Bar and the Game will freeze until you have completely exited and re-entered it again.
  • The Locations Icon leads to Crime Scene plus additional scenes/locations to be investigated; Mobile Analysis Unit available in some of the Cases; the Morgue (Al Robbins); Go to Brass’ Office (Captain Brass); and Go to Lab sites.
  • Upon your first visit to the Lab, a notice window pops up with instructions re the Lab use and procedures.  In the Lab there is no Lab Assistant – all player suggestions come from your partner. There are 5 work stations: Assembly Table, Trace Analysis Computer, DNA Analysis Computer, Chemical Analysis Computer, and Comparison Microscope.  So drop and drag evidence over the relevant computer, including evidence that is obviously self-explanatory.  This ensures that all evidence receives a Red Tag of completion.
  • Unlike the previous Games, there is no need to compare ALL the samples before pressing Confirm Match if you locate the correct one early.
  • The Tools work really efficiently – when the curser is moved over evidence it changes into a tool box.  Click on that and a wheel of tools opens up – DETECTION tools: UV Light, Flashlight, USB/Thumb Drive, Ninhydrin, Leuko Crystal Violet spray, Luminol, Print Dust, and Magnetic Print Dust; and then COLLECTION tools: Gloves, Tweezers, Swab, Camera, Adhesive Lifter, Adhesive Specimen Mount, Mikrosil, and Casting Plaster and Frame; for player selection and use.  This process is very interactive which increases the Satisfaction Factor.
  • When lifting prints with either the print powder or the magnetic powder, you not only get to dust the print yourself but also lift it with the adhesive lifter.  But prints on paper products that need Ninhydrin to detect, are automatically collected for you after spraying.
  • You do not collect evidence from the body once it is in the Morgue – they are given to you by Al Robbins and include fingerprints and BLood work.  He also provides Toc (Tocsin) Screens for poisons in the victim’s blood.  Your Chemical Analysis computer only deals with these poisons if found in jars, bottles, miscellaneous objects at crime scenes or suspects’ locations.
  • The fingerprint computer search is well done – you get 5 samples already enlarged for you to check; the Microscope similarly has images already magnified for you to compare; the Chemical Analysis is given to you as data, as are the document comparisons.  The DNA is the hardest to use and a bit of a strain on the eyes.
  • The Game automatically saves as you proceed.
  • While the storylines are interesting, and the characters extremely good, with plenty of player-character interaction, some of them have far too much to say.  It is done of course to add authenticity to the characters – their voices and their dialogue do suit them extremely well.  But nevertheless you find yourself wishing that they’d just get on with it!  Hence the tendency to find yourself resorting to the space bar!
  • The Frustration Factor kicks in at this point.  there are a few things that are frustrating.  In particular the problem of getting stuck.  There are a few spots where this occurs, and I will give you general pointers rather than specifics as you can get them from the Hints site on my Home page and also at the bottom of this blog.
  • FF1 – If you can see trace evidence on an item in its window but you can’t seem to make the right tool pick it up, then rotate the evidence some more – it is just that the trace is impeded by the object.  This releases the trace to full view and it can easily be collected.
  • FF2 – Be really careful when collecting blood from the crime scenes – make sure you go slowly over every part of the area until the green arrow shows itself where you hadn’t seen it before.  You may know you need to photograph and swab an area but are not succeeding – that is when you need to go to the further edges of the blood pool.
  • FF3 – If stuck with noone supplying you with any more dialogue, you have checked all evidence, searched all places available to you, and Brass is being no help at all, then try checking prints against prints, or comparing photos against other photos, or even refixing torn photos or documents.  This should trigger a move forward.

As I said the M RATED storylines are interesting, and the characters extremely good, their audio voices and their indiviual dialogues add authenticity to their characters and do suit them extremely well.  The Pattern has been modified with this Game of the Series – only characters from Cases 1 and 3 are brought forward into the final Case 5.  But it works very well, and the use of less rather than more has given it more credibility.

Case 1:  PICTURES AT AN EXECUTION

The body of a wealthy young woman is found surrounded by blood spatter from a deep head wound, on the floor of an Art Gallery, by the distressed gallery owner.  This is obviously no bungled robbery, as she is wearing an expensive flashy engagement ring.  The Blunt Force Trauma seems to have been caused by a missing eagle sculpture called ‘The Perched Predator’.

Case 2:  FIRST PERSON SHOOTER

The victim, with bullet wounds to the chest and head, and dressed in combat gear with a modified M4 Assault Rifle in his hand, is laid out on the floor of a booth, in the showroom at the Computer Game Trade Show.  On the wall behind him in the same pose is the action figure for Gut Wrench III War Game.  Surrounded by flashing screens depicting the game, and with an open weapons display case on a side wall, he doesn’t seem to have stood a chance.  But is he a victim?!

Case 3:  DADDY’S GIRL

According to Grissom this is the “Case of the Bloody Apartment and Missing Heiress”, and  that says it all really.  It’s the crime scene you have when there is no body.  Gallons of bloody, yet no body!

Case 4:  ROUGH CUT

Out in the desert under the stars at a lonely campsite on a sleeping bag/bedroll, lies the body of a young man.  Found there by CSI after a tip-off from a woman, giving exact GPS co-ordinates, the cause of death appears to be drug related.  But is it?

Case 5:  THE BIG WHITE LIE

A man’s body is found by Al Robbins in an alley near his home, when he checks out an abandoned SUV with its tailgate open.  Curled up and stuffed in a crate, it soon becomes apparent that this is not the Scene Of Crime, but the dump site.  As the story unfolds it draws in the characters from the Art Gallery and the Missing Heiress mysteries, becoming complex and requiring persistence and common sense to sort it out.

For Walkthroughs of this Game go to UHS Hints at: www.uhs-hints.com/

(C) Copyright  Jud House  27/04/2011

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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