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I have to say, that this one seemed to be the most educational Carmen Sandiego so far. I liked it and I hope you will too. It is somewhat true to the series, but there things that set this game apart from the rest of the series.
Again we have a gang of thieves, who are committing crimes and you need to capture them one by one, by searching for clues, trailing them, identifying them and bringing them in for trial. After you capture all the henchmen you go after Carmen herself.
Again you have three bits of info about the next step of the culprit and you need to plan your next step on the information given.
But what is different is the in-game help!
You have a map of the US, divided in 6 sections. This means you basically only have six locations you can visit. But there are different historical eras in which you get to visit each location. A map, where you select both the location and historical era, also includes some notes about a certain territory. So if the clue says the suspect wanted to attend the ceremony, where they proclaimed Arkansas a state, you already know where and when to go (just look at the map, find Arkansas and you’ll see when it became a state).
The clues to the identity are a bit more ambiguous and I admit I had to use the net to search them. OK Mohamed Ali (as a favorite athlete) was easy enough, but when the clue says that a person’s favorite artist is a photographer I had to check them all to see who is a photographer (luckily good old Google never once left me holding the bag).
I also had to use Google for the questions about promotion. Luckily they aren’t silly copyright protection questions (like: which is the middle letter of the 19th word on page 4 if browsing the manual starting at the middle of chapter 3 and reading in a counterclockwise direction while drinking a glass of buttermilk at a bottom of a 3 foot mood hole). Again, I have to say it got the job done!
So the game managed to keep the entertainment values of the Carmen Sandiego series, from the funny animations of V.I.L.E. henchmen, down to lovely names of the crooks, such as Leaf Malone (leave him alone) or Stanley Cupp (not the hockey tournament), but also tried it’s best to get you searching for information. You don’t have to know them by heart, but you have to think logically and search for info (within the game or outside it).
All in all a bit above average for this game, even though it still had some inconsistencies, such as giving you three different clues, but all of them pointing at the same location in the same time period (like an event in Texas in New York in 1978 and in Washington DC in 1982).
Part of the Carmen Sandiego Series