About This Place

First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Carmen Sandiego, Where in the World is"

Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?Image via Wikipedia

Ah, Carmen Sandiego, a game that has introduced a generation of kids to computer learning. The premise is simple: As the newest detective of ACME Detective Agency, the chief has summoned you to an urgent request... something was stolen in Paris and you need to go find it! Thus started the quest for you... The mobile version is a fine port of the game where you will learn a lot of trivial facts about a lot of countries and their capitals.

You need to arrest the various henchmen (and henchwomen) that are committing these crimes for Carmen, by chasing them all over the world, using clues to both establish the identity of the thief as well as their next destination. Recover the artifacts, and perhaps, figure out why Carmen Sandiego wants those items. But what is the ACME chief hiding?

At each city, you must get clues, which comes in two types: identity clues, and destination clues. You can also get info about the crime, some V.I.L.E. henchmen (wasted 4 hours), some trivia about the city or country, and occasional bonus info or extra battery for your "advanced scanner".

Identity clues tells you specific characteristics of the suspect thief, like "azure eyes" or "ashy color hair". Sometimes you get information that tells you about their hobbies and special abilities. When you get three ID clues, you can use the crime computer to do a search on what you know so far, which will then spit out one or more matching suspects (if none, you did it wrong). If there are multiple suspects, you will have to read the "additional info" to figure out who to issue a warrant on. Destination clues let you chase down the suspect. At first you will get specific clues like a flag, the money used, and so on. Later you'll get vague hints like "it's in North America" or "they celebrate ______________ festival" (which you learn from the city's trivia you can find at each capital).

As the game progresses, and difficulty climbs, some of those you question may in turn ask you to answer some questions, from "pick one out of two" to "get 3 correct answers in 20 seconds", and more. However, not all people you meet may be friendly. Some may be V.I.L.E. agents, who are simply out to delay you! As each case has a hard deadline of 7 days, and you spend HOURS in the air getting somewhere, and each "interview" takes 4 hours, there isn't a lot of time! Later, you get an 'advanced scanner' which scans the city and tells you which clues are good and bad for you. Use it at least once per city!

The plot reads like some of the latest episodes of ALIAS... that some ancient artifact may have other uses, and certain things are hidden in yet other artifacts all over the world. However, this is a game, so don't treat it too seriously. After all, how you can take a game seriously when each interviewee, except V.I.L.E agents, will give you a pun regarding a crime. Like "He dropped off the side of the buildign. How condescending!"

The graphics are cartoony talking heads, but that's what you'd expect in a Carmen Sandiego game. Sound is a little repetitive, and the jokes get a bit corny after repeated exposure.

Even after you finish the main plot, you can keep playing, with even more unprecise clues, and continue advance in rank, if you choose to do so.

All in all, Carmen Sandiego is a fine port of the original. Just don't expect too much out of it.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10
Pros: same charm as always, learn a lot without appearing to
Cons: some clues a bit too obscure, a lot of memorization trivia
Verdict: Good port, cute story, and replay value even AFTER you finish the main "campaign" story

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