In Condemned: Criminal Origins, players take the role of Ethan Thomas, a SCU agent (Serial Crime Unit investigator that uses forensic tools) framed for a double cop murder who becomes trapped in the condemned sections of a fictional American city named "Metro City" while hunting a serial killer. Thomas' investigation is further complicated by a mysterious phenomenon that is transforming the transient population of these areas into insane, violent psychotics. As Thomas, the player investigates crime scenes using forensic tools and techniques, while fighting off the constant assaults by "the condemned" in the hopes of catching the serial killer and escaping alive, and prove that he is innocent to the police. The game uses a first person perspective. Condemned: Criminal Origins places an added emphasis on melee combat and puzzle solving, including searching for fingerprints and gathering evidence. It is firmly placed within the horror genre, and more specifically survival horror. The game also implements elements of psychological thriller.
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