Undoubtedly one of the most successful edutainment franchises, the Where in [xxx] is Carmen Sandiego? is Broderbund's flagship series that has spawned numerous sequels, TV shows, and even board games. Premiered in 1985 with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, subsequent releases have collectively sold millions of copies worldwide. But until multimedia CD-ROM versions of the game appeared in 1995, the individual Carmen Sandiego titles were not all blockbusters. |
The premise behind every Carmen Sandiego game is identical: starting out as a rookie detective, your job is to track down a gang of thieves who are stealing the world's (or the galaxy's/USA's/Europe's/history's as the case may be) most precious treasures. After the briefing, you are given a deadline to capture the thief. Then it's off to the travel screen, where you always pick the next destination. At each location, you must interpret various clues from a number of sources (informants, etc.) to figure out the thief's next stop, as well as his/her identity. Your mission is a success if you track the thief to the right final hideout (plus time period, if you are playing the Where in Time version) with the arrest warrant issued for the correct suspect before the deadline. Missions are progressively more difficult as you solve cases and win promotions.
Every Carmen Sandiego game contains hundreds of clues, attractive graphics and cartoons, and fun gameplay that will captivate kids and adults alike.
Between the original 1985/86 CGA games and after 1995 (when the CD-ROM era kicked into gear), Carmen Sandiego games can be categorized into two groups, each based on the underlying engine: the first group comprises "VGA enhanced versions" releases between 1989 and 1992. In this group, in the order of release, belong Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Enhanced), and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Enhanced). The second group are games released between 1992 and 1994 that are built on an improved game engine that offers high-res VGA graphics, thousands of clues (as opposed to hundreds), and a more polished interface. These include Where in The world is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition, Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego?, and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition. Of all these games, Where in Europe and Where in the USA Deluxe are the hardest to find.
Whether you have a kid in your house or not, Carmen Sandiego games will glue you to the screen for hours on end if you have even a slight interest in geography, history, or trivia in general. Two thumbs up for all the games – and happy hunting! :)
Reviewed by: Underdogs