Review by King Broccoli
"Gotta catch 'em all! Criminals that is...."
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego puts you in the shoes of a detectove that works for a government agency that goes by the name of Acme. Your job is to chase criminals all over the world to many exotic locations solving clues as you go, it's a race against time to capture these cunning crooks and one can often find themselves up the proverbial creek as the crim gives you the slip. This is nearly the only game in the world that has the unlikely combination of being educational but still fun, never thought I'd see the day.
The game plays something like this. You're presented with a crime. In most cases a ridiculous one, like the theft of a whole ocean-ful of anchovies, or a 5 storey tower. You start off in the country of the theft and question the inhabitants on the appearance of the criminal and his next destination, some clues will be simple whilst some are downright cryptic. From the clues you must make an arrest warrant and then go country hopping repeating the same procedure until you finally track the bad person down to his final location. it's then a simple matter of arresting the naughty little thing.
There are 40 crims that have to be tracked down, including the infamous Carmen Sandiego. As the arrests add up the clues become more and more difficult plus you'll be given a much sterner time limit. By the last case you'll just be randomly guessing countries and hoping for the best, although it's an educational game there's a lot here to challenge elder players as well.
As written above, some of the information given to you by the locals tends to be pure garbage that only a geographer would understand, but luckily you've been given a world almanac and a comprehensive database to narrow the search down, this comes in handy during a lot of situations and by the end you'll be consulting them nearly every clue.
If for some reason, you need to research a certain country, then this is the place to turn to. Just simply switch to a different mode and you'll be taken for a quick tour of the place by a tour guide. This is fantastic if you hate the thought of encyclopedias.
Overall, the gameplay is pretty cool. It mixes the difficult elements of teaching and having fun and definitrly comes away with a big win. There are very few games that have managed to do this so far.
The graphics of WITWICS are made up of bright, crisp and very clear graphics. They're not exactly a visual feast but they could have been a lot worse off. All of the cities that you travel to are usually famous, and all the major landmarks are always represented. The eiffel tower can be found in France, Big Ben makes an appearance in England, looking at the surroundings one can usually tell the country The people that you question have been drawn nicely, and there's always a wide range of people to interview. Small or tall, fat or skinny, male or female, there's always a wide cross-section of the population to be found residing in each country. Their animations are a bit dodgy though, a lot of the people walk like they've got something stuck where it shouldn't be, and the rest of them walk like they're that their in.
trying to pull out said objects with their teeth.
Overall, whilst the graphics of this game wouldn't win any awards, they're nice and gentle on the eyes and don't look too bad at all.
The sound is also above average. As you change countries so does the music, the tune is always native to the country you're in and they don't assault the ear-drums in any way. The only bad part ofe the music is during the plane fights, there's some sort of repetitive, whiny rock music going all the time and that is something that you tire of in a BIG hurry.
The voice acting is done adequately. There are up to 10 different voices and although some of what they say is a bit corny there's never any trouble understanding the rubbish that they spout. Whilst there are few sound effects, the ones that do make an appearance are never out of place and sound very nice.
The sound, as a total package, has been done very well. Having the different ethnic music for each country is a very nice feature indeed.
The lifespan is decent, but not overly high. Arresting the 40 crooks is a fair effort, but the repetitiveness of the cases means that you may bail out before the final nabbing. Once you've actually finished the game then it's highly doubtful you'll return to it in a hurry. The research factor may be the only one that brings you back to this game in the long run.
The fun factor is as good as can be expected. There are times when a lot of hard thinking has to be done, and that isn't exactly the most enjoyable thing that a person can do. But when you advance in the game, go uo a rank, or finally pull in that hard to catch criminal then theres a high amount of satisfaction to be found in this game. The games just too educational to be overly fun, but there is a reasonable amount of enjoyment to be squeezed from this game.
There is a great amount of challenge to be found. Whilst some of the cases tend to be on the tough side, there are none that are impossible, and a bit of hard work will usually set you on your way towards the end. The database sure makes things a lot easier but there's definitely a good challenge to be found by anyone, regardless of age or IQ.
Overall, this is a fantastic game for parents to buy their children. They can learn stuff without even realising it. As a game however, whilst it does provide a few enjoyable moments for the player there just isn't enough to keep anyone interested for a lengthy period of time. It's best for the majority of gamers just to look right past this one.
- Educational but still enjoyable. How on Earth did they manage that?
- Live out your dreams of being a top class detective!
- Live out your other dreams of world-wide travel!
NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- The learning thing might scare some people off
- Some of the clues are mind-boggling
- The game gets repetitive
- The game gets repetitive
GRAPHICS - 8/10
SOUND - 9/10
GAMEPLAY - 8/10
LIFESPAN - 7/10
FUN FACTOR - 6/10
CHALLENGE - 10/10
OVERALL - 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/20/00, Updated 09/10/01
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