Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (SMS)

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Box Art

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

System: SMS

Release Date: December 1988

Developer: Venture Technologies

Publisher: Parker Brothers

Genre: Edutainment

Hey, look another edutainment game in the guise of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego! This is a port of a computer game. I remember one of my neighbors having this, but their parents weren’t keen on video games of any kind, so I only played it once or twice. I also remember being a big fan of the TV show on PBS when I was a kid.

You take the role of a junior detective of the Acme Detective Agency. You can set the difficulty from Rookie to Ace Detective. Once you set that, you’re told that a suspect has stolen a treasure from a city around the world. There are ten suspects and thirty cities that you can travel to. You’re given a week to gather clues to figure out whodunnit and where they’re hiding.

Each town has an airport, three buildings, and a pay phone. The airport allows you to travel to a set of different cities. The buildings give you clues that either point out where the crook was heading, or to the identity of the crook. Each building you enter takes time out of the day, which you have to be mindful of, as when the day ends, you have to sleep for nine hours. You’d have to be a real whiz when it comes to geography to know precisely where to go, but most of the time you’re given the colors of the country’s flag where they headed next.

Luckily, you come equipped with both a manual and an almanac. The manual gives you a heads up on how to play the game (hold Button 2 to speed things up). It also has a dossier of the ten different suspects. This can help you narrow down the characteristics each may have. The almanac has information on each of the countries you can visit. This tells you about the city you visit in the country, the language spoken, the currency, government, history, geography, commodities, and landmarks. Any of this information might come up in the clues you collect from citizens.

As you collect clues to their identity, you can enter them at the payphone at the end of the level. Once you have three or four clues, you can call in to get an arrest warrant. You need to do this in order to confront and catch the crook. You know you’re hot on their trail, because thugs of the VILE crime syndicate will try to knock you out of commission. When the townspeople let you know you’re too close, the big bad will attack. They shoot at you and you have to jump over or duck under bullets to give the local police enough time to get on screen and take the thief away.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are fine, but nothing special. I do like seeing landmarks in the background of the cities.

Sound: 0.5

Lousy sound effects don’t show off the ability of the system.

Gameplay: 1.5

There’s not much to do. You collect the clues and hope you do it quick enough to meet up with the crook.

Difficulty: 1.0

The hardest part of the game is dodging throwing knives and bullets on the hardest difficulties.

Fun Factor: 1.5

It’s a fine edutainment game. I wanted to catch Carmen Sandiego herself, but didn’t want to win ten cases on the hardest difficulty to do it.

Overall Grade: 1.2

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego earns a D+. It’s not a bad game, but it could be a lot more entertaining to go with the facts.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Video Review on YouTube