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Brøderbund brought us several high quality games (such as Lode Runner, Karateka, Prince of Presia, Stunts), but I guess their most successful series is without a doubt Where in ___ is Carmen Sandiego?
This time let’s take a look at one of the older games of the series (most of them have been remade later on), the one where Carmen’s crime wave hits Europe.
OK, so the graphics are CGA. There might not be all that many colours, but the graphics themselves aren’t really bad (just compare them with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? – also featured on our site, and you’ll see the quality is about the same, just add/remove colors). The sounds are basic, as with the other games of the series, but the real difference is the input device. You can not play with mouse or joystick, just with the keys. It’s still logical enough to play without any problems.
The premise is the same as with other games of the series. You’re sent to a place where a crime has happened and from there on you need to follow the suspect around the map. You’ll know where to go next after examining the crime scene, listening to witnesses and calling your stool pigeon for tips. Even if you are dead certain where to go next, you shouldn’t stop investigating the crime scene, because you need to get a warrant fro the suspect as well (and you need to match the suspect in the crime computer). So every time you get a tip on what the person likes, looks like and stuff, enter it into your notebook. Once you have the warrant, you can rush off (just remember, not all locations will give you information about the suspect’s identity).
So far so good. Overlooking the lack of colours and keeping in mind the year of the game’s release, it’s easy not to count the more or less primitive sounds and controls as a downside of the game, I can not overlook the most obvious! There are some things in the game that really got me mad. Imagine, the very first assignment I got started in Yugoslavia (the country where I was born) and so I started in Belgrade, but the picture was of Mostar (that’s just sloppy). Next I had to go to Munich and got the picture of Neuschwanstein Castle. Come on, is it so difficult to actually match the place the game says you’re going to with an actual picture of that place? Or at least a somewhat anonymous picture that could represent a random town? This is something I really couldn’t overlook. This has got nothing to do with computer limitations, the year of release or anything relevant. It simply shows the lack of efford on the behalf of the producers.
Still, the game is fun and you might get to learn some of European geography, just don’t look at the pictures as reference points, please!
Part of the Carmen Sandiego Series