Review by Psycho Penguin
"How does it fare in video game format?"
This game is like the early 90s version of Pokemon. Instead of catching Pokemon, you catch criminals!
I remember a few years back, before I realized there was good shows on television, I used to watch a show called Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? It was a rather interesting game show that used to air on PBS (also known as the free channel no one watches), and so whoever makes this series decided to milk the franchise to death. Big time. I remember owning the board game and all the video games (well all of them besides the Genesis one, anyways)
Recently, in my retro game kick, I decided to sit down and play my copy of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? On my old PC again. This is one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played, and is one of the few educational games that I actually enjoyed playing. Yes, I know it is quite a shock that I enjoyed an educational game, but I have always been a big fan of Geography, so my knowledge of that particular subject has helped me out a lot in this game.
The basic premise of the game is quite simple. You are a detective, and you have to catch a criminal who has committed a rather interesting crime. You start off in a certain city, and you have a certain amount of days to catch up to the criminal. Every time you visit a place or fly to a new city, you lose valuable time, so you will want to be as quick and thorough as possible. Memory and using the crime data computer a lot are good ideas.
Here is what you basically do. You start off in a town, and have one of four options: show, depart, talk, and crime computer. Show lets you take a peek at the upcoming places you have a choice to depart you, depart allows you to fly to a new location, and crime computer lets you add in various data you find about the criminal, ranging from hair color to type of car. This computer will allow you to get a warrant for a criminal’s arrest, which is important because you can not defeat the game properly without getting a warrant first.
In the talk command, you have a choice of three places to go to. Usually, these places are popular locales, ranging from the library to the rich people’s place, the country club. Here, you can find all sorts of information. In each one of the three places, you can talk to one person who will give you a tip about where the criminal fled to. It is important that you remember these facts so you don’t waste precious time having to retrace your steps.
Time matters a lot in this game, because you usually have to apprehend the criminal by a certain time, if you don’t then you automatically lose the case and the criminal escapes, crime committed. There is one huge way to lose time, and that is going to the wrong destination. You can lose upwards of 12 hours by doing so. That’s half a day, crucial time! So, it is best you try not to lose time as much as you possibly can.
Graphics in the game are rather plain yet they are decent enough anyways, most of the graphics in the game consist of a black screen with various white text and logos. I especially like the picture that appears when you enter a town, because the picture represents a very important part of the town. This is about the highlight of the game graphically. The graphics in the game are definitely solid, although maybe I did expect a bit more from them.
There is hardly no music or sound effects for me to discuss in this game, because the game does a really good job of not having anything to listen to. There is absolutely no music featured, and the only sound effects featured are the annoying typewriter sounds (it really pissed me off after a while) and the sounds of the axes and stuff when you are on the trail of the criminal. The latter sounds much better than the former, by the way.
This game does provide the player with some decent replay value, but it is not like this game is the most popular or anything. I think the replay value of this game will come down to whether or not you like geography or not. I happen to like it, but if you did not, that is cool, but chances are you are not going to like it if you do not like geography as a subject.
This is not that challenging of a game, as again the challenge boils down to the geography factor, how well you know capital cities and stuff. I am pretty good at this kind of stuff but for those of you who are not, most of the answers can be found in a World Almanac or something anyways ^_^.
Overall, this is one of the better, more enjoyable games that I have played on my old PC yet, but it is not a perfect game, as it does have some flaws. The graphics could use some work, and the music and sound effects in the game were pure garbage (the ones that existed anyways). Regardless, this is still a classic educational game I advise you check out.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/00, Updated 07/16/01
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