Enjoyable but dated edutainment adventure
This is the original in the long-running and hugely popular series of edutainment titles that feature the enduringly villainous character of Carmen Sandiego, a criminal mastermind whose hi-jinx take her into all manner of bizarre places and times. This game lays down a lot of the groundwork for later releases, like Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
and Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego?
and requires players to track down the elusive thief and her cohorts as they steal various valuable treasures from around the world. Gameplay takes the form of a sort of detective adventure, where players are alerted to new cases and then must travel to the location to collect clues which will help them track down the perpetrator. Clues take the form of puns which when deciphered will lead the player to the next location, where the fun continues. Pick the wrong place however, and you will waste valuable time backtracking, and if enough time is wasted, then the case is failed. While the game is certainly noteworthy as one of the original edutainment titles, and is certainly worth playing for younger gamers who are keen to learn about geography and map-reading, it has aged somewhat and no longer holds quite the same appeal as it once did. It is obviously aimed at a younger audience but suffers from a control system and interface that are frustratingly unintuitive and which hinders the enjoyment value somewhat. If you can get past these niggles however, there is still an enjoyable adventure to take part in and the game must be commended for combining games with education in such a largely successful fashion.
The first in a long and beloved edutainment series
Carmen Sandiego and her lost in the world blues began its life in 1989 and even back then it showed the promise and the kind of gameplay that would soon become a staple of the genre. Carmen Sandiego is an adventure game of sorts, with bits of puzzles, portions where you need to use your math skills, other bits where memorization is important, and other bits where you simply have to look very hard to find objects in the background. The story, while not central to the game is used as a means to teach children how to read maps, how to use referencing to ease their way towards a location and other skills of the same nature. Carmen is a villain and a thief and it is you who has to find her, as a member of the ACME detective agency. But Carmen is by no means easy to find and she always seems to escape capture. Well, this is how the franchise got started; it's not the best game in the series but certainly not the worst. However, for 12 year olds and up, it might appear a little too boring, unless they get stuck in the controls and the less than easy to use interface.