We’ve found Carmen on Facebook, and she’s just as fun as ever
I spent a good chunk of my younger days chasing one single woman. I wanted her bad, but always seemed a step or two behind her. For years I chased her from city to city, jet hopping around the world, and at some point even through time. I thought I finally outgrew the chase, but suddenly, out of nowhere, she showed back up on Facebook, and like that the chase is back on. I’m coming for you, Carmen Sandiego!
The main crux of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego is the same as it has always been: deciphering clues to catch crooks. The clue types fall into two different areas, “who” and “where.” Some clues will give you hints to the bad guy’s location and others will help you whittle down the list of suspects so you know who you’re looking for. Only by finding both will you actually catch the criminal.
You’ll gather clues by talking to people in each city you visit. You’ll start in the city the crook was last seen in and will gather clues about where they went to next, and once you think you’ve got it figured out you’ll open up the map and fly there. If you were correct the people in the new city will give you additional clues, if not the people will have no idea what you’re talking about. The trail will have gone cold and you’ll have to backtrack.
In addition to tracking the criminal from city to city you’ll also be getting clues about who the suspect actually is. This includes things like hair color, personality quirks, or preferred modes of transportation. You’ll need to narrow the suspect list down to a single person so you can issue a warrant, which needs to happen before you find them. Otherwise, they get away and you fail the case.
The great news is that the game’s transition to Facebook doesn’t detract from it in any way. Quite the opposite actually. Jet setting, clue solving, and criminal catching is as fun as ever. And now you not only get to brag about solved cases on your wall, but you can also ask your friends for help deciphering clues or even to join you in the hunt.
The biggest problem isn’t actually with the game itself, but with how the world has changed. Back in the day (pre-internet) the games came with a big desk reference book that both served as mini-encyclopedia and way to solve some of the clues given in the game. Nowadays we have Google and Wikipedia to streamline our research. It’s hard to resist the clarion call of Wikipedia when you know it’s only a browser tab away from giving you the correct answer when you get stuck.
I always know it’s a good sign when I can’t stop playing a game long enough to write the review about it. I was constantly saying “just one more case!” over and over and as soon as I’m done here I’ll probably get right back to it. Carmen Sandiego‘s engaging and educational gameplay is just as good now as it was way back when.