Game Review: Crime Lab: Body Of Evidence
Release: November 2, 2010
Developer: City Interactive
Available Platforms: Nintendo DS
MSRP: $19.95 US
ESRB Rating: T for Teen for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference / Mild Language / Violent References
Step into the life of Nichole Bonnet, an FBI agent whose last case was plagued by information leaks to the press. Under suspicion from internal affairs, her boss and her fellow workers, she needs to prove herself and clean up her reputation within the FBI. This proves difficult as she investigates a new string of murders and once again, the press is publishing detailed information about her case. Do you have what it takes to clear her name, save the next victim and catch the killer?
Combing through crime scenes to find evidence is achieved via a series of mini-games and puzzles which sometimes calls for help from Katrin, Agent Bonnet’s friend in the FBI Crime Lab. At the lab Katrin can assist with DNA analysis, Microscopic examination, extract background clues from sound recordings and look up locations and contact info in the FBI’s database. The game is very linear so there is never a time when you are unsure what to do or where to go next. If you find yourself stuck, just a tap on the question mark in the upper right corner will give you a hint as to what needs to be done next.
Examining the crime scenes consists of finding ways through doors, picking locks, opening access panels, finding ways to turn things on and off, etc. It’s pretty standard fare for this type of game and it all fits well within the story line here. Once finding enough evidence, suspects can be presented with the evidence against them to extract new leads.
The shining star in Body of Evidence is the story. I found myself drawn back to my DS to play every chance I had (lives were hanging in the balance). Even though some of the mini-games can be frustrating, after the third failed attempt you can “buy” your way past by using experience points as currency – but the choice is yours – buy your way through or just keep trying. Aside from the lengthy story mode, the mini-games can be played / practiced individually and for those of you who like I-Spy puzzles, the Crime Scenes mode will challenge you to find a list of items hidden at a crime scene. Character bios and cut-scenes can also be accessed outside of the story mode.
The squeamish can rest at ease and enjoy this game as it has no blood and gore common to CSI games. There are no bodies to examine or wounds to inspect. This game concentrates more on investigation rather than the details of CSI biology.
While this game is advertised to have special DSi features such as facial recognition, and touch-less control in the mini-games – I didn’t miss any of these features when playing on my DS Lite and did not have an opportunity to try them on a DSi. So, don’t worry about the notice on the package stating “Additional Nintendo DSi Features” if you have a standard DS or DS Lite. The game plays fine with no apparent gaps or awkward compensation for the lack of a DSi.
While I expect puzzles to be challenging, I found some of the puzzles in the story (not in the mini-games) to be extremely difficult to get past – even when I had the solution. Fortunately the help system aided me through these situations which often came down to issues with the interface – such as tapping exactly the correct spot to pick something up – or not having access to view an item in the inventory when it was needed to solve a problem.
Learning the mini-games is somewhat trial and error as the directions are very vague and lack any real instructions. Once figured out, they become second nature, but the first couple times through will be more of an exploration to figure out what is supposed to be accomplished.
For my family, being a household full of gamers, it’s not uncommon for a couple of us to be playing through a DS title at the same time – each of us using our own game save slot or player profile. Unfortunately Crime Lab: Body of Evidence does not accommodate multiple player save files.
In the end, Crime Lab: Body Of Evidence is a fun game with a compelling and rich story line populated with nicely fleshed out characters and lots of puzzles and mini-games. The additional modes such as Crime Scenes leave much to play even after the storyline has been completed. For an MSRP of only $19.95 US – this is one for all the who-done-it fans to pick up.
- Good story line makes it hard to put down.
- Linear game flow keeps you on task.
- Squeamish friendly gore-less game play.
- Mini-game instructions could be better.
- No save slots for more than one player.
Final Score: 8 / 10