CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Stern, 2008)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Pinside rating

This game received 111 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.227 /10

7.227

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #205 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.


Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 7.505

Artwork: 6.656

Sounds/Music: 6.841

Other Aspects: 7.201



Rating comments

There are 54 rating comments for this game.


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 7 of us have rated this game.

7.775

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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.


Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.


Found 54 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 54 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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5.556/10
85 days ago
This game has an interesting layout and some decently cool toys in the skull lock and centrifuge. The "art" is a cut and paste disaster, as expected for the era, but more importantly I just find the rules boring.
7.948/10
4 months ago
amazing sound! great pinball, and beautiful game lighting
9.032/10
8 months ago
I just bought this game and added it to my collection after reading mostly encouraging reviews here. I was not familiar with the show before buying this machine, but I enjoy true crime books and movies and shows like Forensic Files. So, the theme was fine for me. Mostly, I was curious about games ranked in the 200 to 300's that I may be overlooking. This game was designed by Pat Lawlor and John Borg, software by Lyman Sheats and others, and music and sound by David Thiel. So, there is definitely craftsmanship and talent in this pin. This game is currently ranked #206 on Pinside. Are games ranked that low not well-made, fun or satisfying? I like the all-star team that built this for Stern, I like the crime theme, and I like the look of the playfield. I noticed that many people said this game is underrated, and is quite fun. Most of the low ratings were from people who said the game wasn't deep enough, or was too stop/go. I don't mind stop/go games like POTC or WOZ. I enjoy games with several clear modes, goals and easy to understand rules. So, I lucked out and found a really nice CSI pin that is 100% working and very clean. I would say a 9/10 condition. Just some normal cabinet wear, but overall a fantastic pin. I played it a few times and really liked it. I knew what to do right away. The callouts, sounds and lights on the playfield direct you very well. As everyone on here has said, there are 3 multiball modes, and each is easy to start. However, each is hard to complete. They get increasingly difficult. Also, there are 4 "mini" modes to complete. These are mostly timed modes, including suspect shakedown, fingerprint analysis, DNA and ballistics. IMHO, there is plenty to do here for the average player and collector. If you are into very fast games (like a Steve Richie Spider-Man or Star Wars) you may not enjoy the slower, busier playfield Lawlor has designed. But the toys are interactive and fun, the skull ball lock is great, and I love the centrifuge! The playfield is colorful and attractive. The backglass is boring and by-the-numbers, but it's based on a t.v. show. Overall, I am thrilled to discover this fantastic, fun, well-made game sitting at #206. Because it is ranked so low, I picked one up for less than half the cost of a new Stern. I would much rather add two games of this quality for less $ than one NIB game like Star Wars or Batman 66. I need to discover more like this! Just a really nice surprise and eye-opener. I'm a big fan of this game. Don't dismiss titles simply due to ranking. Pinball is so personal to each player. I have Spider-Man (ranked #14) and now CSI, (ranked #206), and I really like them both equally, for different reasons. This game is elegant. Most importantly, it's super easy to understand and play but difficult to master and beat. Isn't that what pinball is about?
7.746/10
1 year ago
Rare, underrated machine. I could care less for the theme (never watched the show..) but I like the pin.
7.364/10
1 year ago
I enjoy CSI more than most, but it's far from being a perfect game.

The layout is very very unique, and has lots of great shops including the microscope, centerfuge and skull ramp. The placement of the bumpers also allows for obit shots and shots from the upper flipper which is great, but then again Pat Lawlor did this one so not surprising. The ruleset is what lets this game down because, much like 24 and Big Buck Hunter, it's all about multiball. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - Bram Stoker's Dracula is the same, but the emphasis on multiball doesn't leave the game with a huge amount of lastability as there isn't much else to see. Fingerprint Frenzy and other small aspects of the rulsets are nice additions but don't offer much in terms of points and fun. The art isn't terrible but it's all just photoshop so nothing great to look at. Sound is notably very good. All in all, a fun game to play on location to see those toys in action, but not one you'd want to own unless you had a large number of games.
4.575/10
1 year ago
I liked this game, but some things do not work so good, like the microscope. The centrifuge is awesome though.
6.495/10
1 year ago
An interesting toy or two but the centrifuge just dominates the game. Flow feels interrupted and too much is happening on the far sides of the game. Upper flipper is of limited involvement. Side shots are very difficult. The game is just very hard. A good looking game that is fun at the outset but usually ready to move on after playing a few games. Look and artwork are good despite a so-so-theme.
7.260/10
1 year ago
CSI is a little underrated, it is pretty shallow what with only 3 main multiball modes, but the layout and shot geometry is pretty unique and its a fun game providing you like the CSI theme. Definitely benefits from being part of a larger collection but shouldn't be over looked.
5.552/10
2 years ago
Some good ideas, interesting ruleset, and well-used toys. This pinball won't put a smile on your face, but it's worth a coin, or more if you enjoy its gameplay.

And the most clever thing about this pinball is how its theme relates to the way it plays: you'll have to be slow, attentive, and meticulous. Well done.
7.329/10
3 years ago
Skull lock is the best physical ball lock in pinball.
The theme comes through so strongly, its one of the best integrations of theme and playfield.
The voice call outs are pretty cool.
The skull ramp is really tough, surprising when you look at it.
Lots of fun to play, but it does tire after a while.
7.218/10
3 years ago
I like this pinball but it is not something special..
5.837/10
3 years ago
[FWIW I self-rate my skill level as medium] Well I'm glad I got to play this, but something about it just left me cold. I've never been a fan of blase' media licenses and the way the art was implemented on this one is particularly unimaginative. The play wasn't much better - having to shoot the centrifuge over and over (at the risk of a SDTM every time!) was boring. Playfield was wide open without much apparent to do. Watching others (of likely better skill) play during the Expo, never seemed to be much variety either. Lines were long due to its rarity, so I'd play it again given the chance... but I'd wait to play other titles far more happily. (Played at Louisville Arcade Expo 2015)
6.419/10
3 years ago
CSI came from that period of Stern's history that's best not talked about much.
this game is ok i suppose, the Skull ball locks look nice, and the spinning centrifuge toy is quite fun, but there's not much else that's memorable or recommendable about it. oh, and i quite liked the microscope feature that lit up either red, blue or green lights, that was a nice touch.

ordinary game, nothing to write home about.
8.756/10
3 years ago
Playfield is stunning when upgraded to LED lighting. Great layout. The skull lock is neat but the "toys" on this game are average. Not a lot of wow factor to them.

The skill shot is hard so thus is satisfying when completed. Missing on this game is the Lawlor shot through the pops!

I am convinced that combined with its scarcity, uniqueness of layout and Lawlor reputation, if this game had better code it would be a keeper for me.

As it sits, the code is bland and of what is there about 50% will only be seen once every 500 games!
6.648/10
3 years ago
I liked playing this one a lot, liked the cool ball lock, like the center post between the flippers. The centrifuge is pretty neat. It did an OK job lighting up the different sections to walk you through where to shoot.
5.317/10
4 years ago
Really boring game and not very fun. No sort of target shots or anything, just a cluttered playfield with ramps. It felt like the back of the playfield was just all crammed together for the sake of it. The small flipper on the left side is pointless aswell, all it does it hits the ball off the right wall (which you can do anyway) but it can sometimes cause ball drops if not hit properly.

It does have some alright modes that go with the tv show I guess but other than that... :(
6.221/10
4 years ago
Never worked so hard for so little points on any pin. Multiball paradise with a mix of CSI thrown in.
7.836/10
4 years ago
I owned it and I loved it. I love the skull lock toy and the microscope magnet. Lots of toys in a game is always a pleasure for me.
I sold it and not even a month later I really missed it. I will definitely purchase one again if I can find a decent one.
7.347/10
4 years ago
CSI? More like Bram Stoker's Dracula 2.0.

Pros:

- The return of stackable multi balls! That's right, 3 different multi balls that you can mix and match, each with separate lock traps. While I am disappointed there is no multiplied playfield scoring or "true" stack of all 3 multi balls (microscope + skull cannot stack) there are still the Fingerprint Frenzy and Suspect Shakedown modes you can stack.
- Very good layout that deviates from Lawlor tradition. Only one ramp and interesting upper flipper placement
- The Morgue is an excellent case of theme integration.

Cons:

- Not much to do besides the frenzies and multiballs. If they had put in modes or some kind of progressive reward system (a la the ones in Family Guy) it would've been more enjoyable.
- Callouts are just that bit corny. Not saying that I don't enjoy them, though, it does bring attention towards the game.
- Gimmicks aren't well-used. My major pet peeve is the microscope, it can't even be considered a gimmick... just a magnet that holds the ball.
- Pat Lawlor's final Stern machine. :(
7.420/10
4 years ago
Local arcade has one Will play it if I am there Good Borg and Lawlor pin
8.248/10
4 years ago
Really enjoyed this one. There were some easy shots but it played very fun. The spinning thing in the middle is unique, you can get some wicked releases out of it though, a good bump helps. Mini flipper shot was actually good, not impossible. Skull multiball/locking mech is really cool. Would play again.
8.531/10
4 years ago
Very cool game. Neat lighting effects in the era before rgb lighting. The game is shallow and should be set up to be brutal with open outlanes and a short ball save and hard to start multiballs. Shot layout is great. Music is cool. Sounds are cool. Play field toys are cool. Well made game before stern seemingly started skimping on material costs.

Game needed some more rules but this game was filled with good ideas.
5.371/10
5 years ago
I am surprised this game is so high on the list. It's not horrible, but I don't think the theme is fun. It is too easy and repetitive. Last time I played this I put in two bucks for 5 credits and played for almost an hour, until I got bored and walked away. I almost never leave credits in the machine.
5.357/10
5 years ago
It's so so... It seems like it COULD have been really good, but just isn't. I don't like the game flow, and it just seems like you're doing things to do things.... I do like the toys in the game though, if there was a deeper ruleset/wizard mode etc. then I would want to own one. Oh and the backglass/artwork suck. Another game that's going to be selling for 1500 in a few years...
5.250/10
5 years ago
Look. Really. Stern machines are contracts.
Usually living off one or two gimmicks. God forbid we would really do something.

(Probobly they are always working on several machines and want to spread themselves out a little. Which is really, really, stupid.)
There are always some figures standing around in there but that's it.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Really boring once you get used to their style and you go to a machine and you say...ok, Stern.

CSI has a cool feel about it, good to play, quick rewards. Not hard to keep the ball in play. Pretty forgiving.
But it doesn't make any sense. At all. In the structure or anything. But....(see below).
Why the hell does the skull hold the balls. RED,BLUE,GREEN Multiball? That's low.
This isnt Halloween or Friday the 13th or Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat.

It's CSI. A show of 99% bullshit(ing). Blablabla and then some guns and or body parts. Great.
So even though it might be hard to establish a connection in that chaos, but they didn't really give too much of an effort(something I can see quickly in much of their work, including, esp, transformers. Iron man is somewhat better in this. More actionpacked)
There are some neet Dotmatrix animations but is doesn't live of this. They take too long and are annoying in 2 games. Bla DNA Bla.

And HEY! If I am going to make a morgue skill shot I don't expect to be insulted. Really.
Just really unlucky stupid one liners there.

As soon as the ball gets into play, anyway, where back to the old routine.

The cetrifuge is a great gimmick though. Really. Wonderfull. Why not more of these passionate things?

So overall, it's a chewingum Stern game. Some value, interesting play, but once I've seen the modes, I'll be hard pressed to go back.

The artwork is pretty bullshit and boring(straight of the DVD Jacket or what?), pretty dark. The references to the themes are goof though.
But it's what they get paid for right?

Oh well.
There are 54 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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